Rights in the dorms

Students speak about privacy rights in residence halls

With incoming students moving into the residential halls, many may be curious as to what their rights to privacy on campus are. According to the Code of Community Standards, Ferris State University upholds “All the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Michigan.” This would include the 4th Amendment which states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

The Code of Community Standards states that, “The University reserves the right to inspect any room, suite or apartment, at any time, for reasons of health, safety, and welfare.” Housing staff is also allowed to enter a room/suite/dorm if they have reasonable suspicion that occupants are violating a University rule or regulation. The Code of Community Standards also states that, “The University is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe environment, as well as respecting and preserving students’ rights to privacy.”

“I think there should be full privacy for those living on campus,” says Tim Burke, a junior in Hospitality Management, “nothing should have to be disclosed without consent.” “I feel the university hasn’t done a good job at informing students as to what their privacy rights are,” says Valoree Burns, a junior in Computer Information Systems. “I don’t really know what my privacy rights are on campus,” Burke continues.

In regards to Residential advisors, students seem to have a positive opinion. “I’ve never had a problem with any of mine,” says Valoree Burns, “I’ve never had a problem with a Residential Advisor abusing their authority to search dorms or anything along those lines. If they wanted to, they probably could abuse their authority but I’ve never known one to.” “My RAs have been good people,” explains Tim Burke, “I feel they’ve made the college experience more enjoyable.”

It seems that students feel they should have a certain right to privacy while living in the dorms, though there doesn’t seem to be a feeling that this right is being violated. When it comes to defining this right to privacy, however, it seems most students are unclear as to what the University’s policy is regarding their rights to privacy are.