SSU Housing should conduct room checks at reasonable hours and not after midnight
There was an email sent by the Housing Coordinator Michael Sharpe to all students on March 30 that said room checks would be conducted in all residence halls on April 3. April 3 came and went without incident. Then, between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. on April 4, residents of the University Commons were woken up by knocks on their doors.
The university invaded the privacy and violated the rights of the students and broke their own conduct rules when they decided to continue these room checks through early morning hours the day after the set date.
Room checks are usually performed by Community Assistants (CA) or Residential Directors (RD) to ensure students’ rooms are in good condition and that students are following the the rules in the Residential Living Handbook.
However, police officers assisted residential directors, along with the housing coordinator Michael Sharpe, as they conducted room searches between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. on April 4, causing more alarm among students in the Commons.
The handbook states, “The University reserves the right to inspect rooms for possible violations of University Regulations. The University reserves the right to enter rooms or other facilities at reasonable hours.”
Midnight to 2 a.m. is not reasonable. The room checks conducted in the Commons woke students up on a school night, and some students were even instructed to stand outside while the check was conducted.
Some students were extremely upset to learn campus police walked into their rooms without their permission.
One resident of the Commons took to social media to inform other students that they have the right to deny entry to law officials if the situation is not an emergency.
According to the the Residential Living Handbook, “In non-emergency situations, if consent to search a room is not granted by the student, the Campus Police will have to request a search warrant. If a warrant is granted by judicial order, the Campus Police will search the room. A report will be filed with the Office of Student Ethics. If the search produces evidence that constitutes a felony, the student will be arrested.”
The SSU residential housing staff should comply with the rules and regulations they set for themselves.
It is completely unacceptable for housing staff members to send emails to students with room check dates they do not plan on honoring. It creates a culture of mistrust between staff and students. If students are expected to comply with residential housing rules, then housing assistants and law enforcement should not be coming into their rooms at inappropriate hours.
SSU students, it is imperative to know your rights and privileges as residents on campus, as students at this school, and as adults in the United States. It is important to know that when situations like this arise, you are able to safeguard your space and refuse entry to anyone trying to gain entry at inappropriate hours in non-emergency situations.