Residence Hall Right to Privacy and Room Entry Policy
The following policy is intended to delineate a procedure for the necessity to preserve as much as possible the integrity of individual’s rights to privacy. Occasionally, in order to maintain the general security and enforce regulations, room entry and room search become necessary in residence halls.
This policy applies to all Day Campus students residing in residence halls at Columbia College.
Columbia College respects the residents’ privacy and control over their environments. The College is also responsible for providing quality facilities at reasonable costs to present and future residents.
The College reserves the right to enter a resident’s room or apartment at any time including but not limited to the following reasons:
- The inspection of a student’s room to ascertain damages, needed maintenance or to ensure safety and sanitation standards will be conducted by the Area Coordinator and/or the Head Resident, accompanied by a Resident Assistant, at least twice each semester. The day and approximate time period of inspection will be posted or announced at least 24 hours in advance. Students will be held accountable for the condition of their rooms. Guidelines for room inspection violations can be found in the Residence Hall Health and Safety Inspection Policy.
- Columbia College or its representatives may inspect the student’s accommodations when there is reason to believe that established policies are being violated, when emergency conditions exist, or when it is necessary to check on maintenance concerns or the closing or locking of doors or windows prior to the closing of a building for an extended period.
- During any authorized room entry by a staff member, any item in plain sight which is against college policy may be confiscated. Everyone in the room at the time the item is found is subject to disciplinary action. The residents of the room face possible disciplinary action as well.
- Staff members of Residential Life desiring to enter a room for any of the above stated reasons are, in the absence of an emergency, to knock and announce their identities. If no response is received or if an occupant fails to open the door immediately, the staff person may open the door and enter the room.
- Staff members of Residential Life are not permitted to show a student’s room to a visitor without permission from an occupant of that room.
- If there is reason to believe that a student has violated Columbia College regulations, the director of Residential Life or a designated Student Affairs representative, after reviewing the circumstances, may authorize an inspection of the student’s room. Entry of a student’s room for the purpose of searching his or her possessions shall occur only with the authorization of the director of Residential Life or a designated Student Affairs representative. Any inspection of a student’s possessions shall be made in the student’s presence except in cases in which circumstances make it impossible or impractical for the student to be present.
- Police officers desiring to conduct a search of a student’s room in the residence halls must be able to present the responsible residence hall staff member with a bona fide search warrant authorizing their search before they proceed.
- All room entries made in a student’s absence, other than routine inspection or maintenance work, are to be recorded in the office of the Area Coordinator, indicating the room number, time, purpose and persons entering the room.