G. Entry into Residential Rooms

 

1. Emergency Entry

The Department of Public Safety is authorized to enter a student's room in the event of emergency circumstances, such as fire, fire alarm, fire drill, an immediate threat to life, a call for help, or what reasonably seems to be a dangerous situation. If time permits the Department of Public Safety should first seek authorization from the dean of the College or the Commons dean before entering a student room to deal with an emergency. (See Special Room Inspection, 5. below.)

2. Community Service

The Department of Public Safety may enter a student dormitory room to perform a community service, for example, to turn off an unattended alarm clock or radio, or to allow family or friends to pick up various belongings. The Department of Public Safety is authorized to perform these community services, but should be accompanied when possible by a residential life staff member. (See Notification of Entry, 6. below.)

3. Routine Inspections and Repairs

The College conducts routine inspections of student rooms in the dormitories to check on violations of health and safety regulations and to recover misappropriated property. Inspections are held at reasonable times, in a manner that will least inconvenience residents. Students are notified by voice-mail and written notice at least 24 hours before, and not more than two weeks prior to the inspection. Students discovered in violation of health and safety regulations, or in possession of stolen property or illegal goods, are subject to normal College disciplinary action as appropriate. During vacation periods, student rooms in College housing are inspected to check heat settings, to ensure that lights and appliances are turned off, and that windows are closed. Following such inspections, or at other times, facilities services personnel may enter student rooms to make repairs. (See Notification of Entry,6. below.) Occasionally, College officials may need to enter a room for reasons other than those listed in this section, such as to evaluate a room for planning purposes and space needs.  In these circumstances, 24-hour notice will be given and the requester will attempt to coordinate a mutually agreeable time with the student.

4. Communications Infrastructure Maintenance

Improperly configured or malfunctioning computer or communication equipment can seriously degrade the operation of the College's communication networks. It may be necessary for personnel to enter a student room to confirm the location of such a device, and, if necessary, disconnect it from the network until the situation can be resolved. LIS will attempt to contact the student before entering the room, but time-critical situations, where significant network services are impacted, may require entry without prior approval. Students' computers will not be touched without their prior consent; room entry will be only for the purpose of confirming that the misbehaving computer has been properly identified. For the protection of the student, the Department of Public Safety and/or the Commons office will be notified if entry is made without prior approval. Any temporary disconnection will be made in the network equipment closet, without directly handling students' property.

If students request assistance from LIS to repair a problem with their network connection, they may give LIS permission to enter the room and disconnect equipment for testing and troubleshooting in their absence. Similarly, Telephone Services personnel may enter student rooms in the residents' absence to effect repairs to voice telephone equipment or infrastructure. (See Notification of Entry,6. below.)

5. Special Room Inspection

While it may be necessary for the Department of Public Safety or other College officials to enter student rooms to conduct routine inspections, to perform a community service, to make repairs, or to deal with an emergency situation as described above, student rooms will not otherwise be entered or searched by College officials without specific prior written authorization from the dean of the College. Authorization by the dean of the College to search an individual student's room must have the concurrence of the student co-chair of the Community Judicial Board whenever possible. The Commons deans may initiate entry of a room and/or a room search in order to meet a medical crisis, to avert danger to human life, or when there is reason to believe that a very serious violation of College regulations has been committed and that the evidence may be found in a student's room. Possession of firearms would be an example of a very serious violation. When possible, the student or students concerned and a witness shall be present when a room search is conducted. (See Notification of Entry, 6. below.)

Students living in College housing have the right to be free from unlawful room searches conducted by law enforcement officials. In most instances, a lawful search must be conducted pursuant to a warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause. College officials must arrange with law enforcement authorities to obtain a search warrant before searching a student's room if they intend to turn over for purposes of criminal prosecution evidence found in the student's room. If a police officer sees a student commit what reasonably appears to be a criminal offense or violation of local ordinances, the College will not interfere with the officer's legal pursuit of the student into a dormitory and into a student room. Similarly, a Department of Public Safety officer who sees a student commit what reasonably appears to be a crime or a violation of College regulations has the right to pursue the student into a dormitory and into a student room.

6. Notification of Entry

Whenever a student's dormitory room is entered by a College official to meet an emergency, to make a repair, to carry out a community service, to conduct a routine inspection, or to conduct an authorized search, a note will be left indicating the time, date, reason, and name of the College person or office responsible, unless the occupant of the room is present at the time of entry.

7. Entry into Student Residence Halls, Houses and Suites

The Department of Public Safety is responsible for patrolling residential areas on campus and may enter student residence halls and houses in order to perform their duties (examples: locking the building, respond to complaints and calls for service, party checks, etc.). Since many residential houses need to be patrolled and may require checks or locking (examples: Homestead, KDR, Jewett, Weybridge, The Mill), officers may enter the communal areas as appropriate. Public Safety officers respect a student's right to privacy and would not enter more private areas such as suites or very small houses (Modulars) without knocking and gaining permission to enter unless conducting a party check, addressing significant College policy violations or in accordance with the other entry policies listed above.

8. Entry at request of College Official

The Department of Public Safety may be called to a student's residence to handle evidence of a crime or College policy violation at the request of a College official. The officer may enter to meet with the other College official but should be accompanied when possible by a residential life staff member.

If the College official has left the area prior to the officer arriving, the officer has the authority to enter into communal areas of the residential space but can only enter a student's room in accordance with the policies listed above.