cannabisnews.com: College Students Upset by Random Searches





College Students Upset by Random Searches
Posted by FoM on November 16, 2001 at 08:34:10 PT
By Wendy Walsh, The New Mexican
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican 
Crystal Boswell, a freshman at The College of Santa Fe, said she woke up Tuesday morning to a bang on her dorm room door. "Someone said, 'This is Resident Life, open up,' " Boswell said.When Boswell opened the door, a security guard and two college administrators stood before her. They said they were there to conduct a random room inspection because of cocaine and ecstasy abuse on campus. "I didn't do anything but start laughing because it's totally out of bounds and ridiculous," Boswell said.
Boswell said several College of Santa Fe students smoke pot, but they aren't into heavier drugs, Boswell said.College officials said they searched six rooms that morning, and, as a result, many students who live on campus now want more privacy rights.Colin Lieberman, a student who circulated a petition asking the college for more search and seizure rights, said he had collected 176 signatures by Wednesday. About 350 students live on campus, according to college officials."My concern is that students were searched using secret evidence, and administrators won't say why they were searched," Lieberman said.Lieberman said college officials did not search his room, but he is concerned about privacy rights on campus. The college handbook states that to enter a college residence, administrators need a "reasonable belief" that a student is breaking college policy, Lieberman said.College administrators told students they had a reasonable belief to search the rooms, but students want to know who their accusers are and have the chance to confront them, Lieberman said."The whole situation, we think, is indicative of a situation at the school where there is no trust between the students and the administration," Lieberman said.College of Santa Fe President Linda Hanson said college officials received credible information that students were dealing drugs, and the college has a responsibility to find out if those allegations are true."It's a safety issue. We have a strong policy against drug and alcohol use on campus," Hanson said."Drug and alcohol use is one of the biggest issues on any college campus, and we've put our policies to use. Some colleges may chose not to put their policies to use, but putting your head in the sand doesn't help the problem," Hanson said.The college is a private institution, and students who attend the college agree to give up certain rights to receive certain privileges, Hanson said.In this case, students have given up some search-and-seizure rights for the privilege of having their cases stay within the college judicial system, Hanson said.College officials do not have to follow the search and seizure prohibitions of the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment because they are not government actors, Hanson said. Officials found evidence of drug or alcohol use in five of the six rooms searched but did not call police in any of the cases, Hanson said.Hanson said the college has refused to identify where they received the information because of student privacy and safety concerns.One of the rights students lose when they submit to the college judicial system is the right to confront their accuser, Hanson said.College officials did not find any evidence that students were dealing drugs, Hanson said.Hanson said she will meet with students Monday at 6 p.m. in the Southwest Annex on campus to address any concerns they might have about the searches.Students who violate campus drug and alcohol policies can face punishments varying from the loss of work-study jobs to expulsion, according to the student handbook.Anthony Fernandez, a freshman, said he was down the hall when administrators searched his room, but he faces disciplinary measures because they found a 1-ounce bottle of Josť Cuervo tequila in his room."I wouldn't have been too angry or upset if it hadn't been a meaningful memento to me," Fernandez said. "It was given to me at the funeral of a friend of mine who died."Boswell said she and her roommate face disciplinary measures because administrators found an empty Jack Daniels whiskey bottle in their room. Boswell said she is concerned about her reputation and who she can trust because someone she doesn't know has accused her of being a drug dealer."So all of a sudden I'm this ecstasy dealer," Boswell said. "It's all very sketchy.""I'm just here to get a college education. I'm not trying to deal cocaine and ecstasy. I don't even know how to get those things," Boswell said.Jubal Kohn, a junior, said he has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union and hopes representatives will help him find the best way to get college administrators to change their policies.Administrators ordered Kohn to move out of his campus-owned apartment and back into the dorms after administrators found a half a gram of marijuana in his apartment Tuesday morning.Kohn said he made the search easy for them. "I said, 'It's right there on the counter,' " Kohn said.Kohn said the administrators who searched his apartment told him they were searching because they heard he was a drug dealer."It's very, very frightening that someone can spread a rumor about you and they can act on it in this way. I'm very alarmed to find out that they can just do this. I thought I had more protections at this school," Kohn said."I'm not a drug dealer. I'm very offended about this," Kohn said. "I have a 3.7 GPA. I do a million things. I don't even have time to do those things, never mind deal drugs.""This damages my reputation and character a lot. I don't like being called a drug dealer," Kohn said. Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)Author: Wendy Walsh, The New MexicanPublished: November 16, 2001 Copyright: 2001 The Santa Fe New MexicanContact: letters sfnewmexican.comWebsite: http://www.sfnewmexican.com/CannabisNews Articles - SSDPhttp://cannabisnews.com/thcgi/search.pl?K=SSDP
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Comment #3 posted by john wayne on November 16, 2001 at 23:34:58 PT
Terror State
> When Boswell opened the door, a security guard and two college administrators stood before her. They said
   they were there to conduct a random room inspection because of cocaine and ecstasy abuse on campus. "I didn't do anything but
   start laughing because it's totally out of bounds and ridiculous," Boswell said. What!!! This person is standing in the way of absolute state authority?!  Why this person is, quite simply, a TERRORIST!
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Comment #2 posted by Rainbow on November 16, 2001 at 15:29:52 PT
Leave
I suggest the students hold a good ole 60's rally and all walk off the campus. This is a private school so let them get there money from some moral repubicrat.The 176 should find another school. This one isn't all that much better than anyother. The administration might then find that they need to treat their customers much better.Dunderheads they are.
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Comment #1 posted by Elfman_420 on November 16, 2001 at 12:04:28 PT
C'mon.. they are at college!
"Drug and alcohol use is one of the biggest issues on any college campus, and we've put our policies to use. Some colleges may chose not to put their policies to use, but putting your head in the sand doesn't help the problem," Hanson said.All colleges have this as an issue. I'm not saying there shouldn't be a certain amount of control, but drinking is certainly part of the college experience for most people. Punishing somebody so severely for drinking is not solving anything because most kids don't think they are doing anything wrong by JUST drinking or smoking. Yet sometimes the punishments result in being kicked out of school which devistates your entire future. Some people get into fights when they get drunk, and some do even worse. That is why I hang around with people who smoke as well as occasionally drink.. they are much less aggressive when they drink. Some people have the time of their life and don't do anything to hurt anybody.Another thing, I love how D.A.R.E. demonized drug dealers (read following quotes). Though I don't consider somebody who just sells marijuana a drug dealer, most people do."I'm not a drug dealer. I'm very offended about this," Kohn said. "I have a 3.7 GPA. I do a million things. I don't even have time to do those things, never mind deal drugs.""This damages my reputation and character a lot. I don't like being called a drug dealer," Kohn said. 
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