Editorial: Raids understandable, but methods alienate student

In light of last week’s raids on 23 University Avenue and Kappa Sigma Fraternity last week, students have begun to question the University’s concern for students.

While searching student residences due to ongoing illegal activity is authorized by the
Student Handbook, many of the residents displaced by the searches felt victimized as a result of others’ actions.

Although the searches were prompted by “the frequency of prior incidents by students affiliated with the two residences” (according to Andy Hirsch, Director of Media Communications), the residents had given no reason for the University to suspect them of illegal activity other than relationships as hallmates or fraternity brothers.

While the assumption that you are the company you keep often proves true, it’s not one that should be made on such a small campus.  If one student is an engineer, does that mean each of his friends is as well?  While many students on campus are engineers, and many engineers associate with each other, they still associate with as many students who aren’t in the same college.  Although this comparison is related to major, not illegal activity, it should be noted that the basis is the same.

If these raids are being used as a way to prepare students for the consequences of law-breaking in the “real world,” then they’ve done a poor job.  In the real world, clear evidence would be necessary to obtain a warrant for these searches.  Again, affiliation does not unequivocally point to guilt.

Beyond this assumption that proved false for many of those suspected, students were not only also left feeling targeted by the University, but also left physically inconvenienced.  In addition to being banished from their homes during normal study hours, many of the residents were left without shoes, wallets and other necessities.

These students then begged the officers to allow them the courtesy of retrieving shoes while waiting to find out why they were even removed in the first place.  Officers then fetched the residents’ necessary items.

As a result of Public Safety’s actions last Thursday, the affected students have been left feeling distrustful of the University’s administration.  With the fire alarms being pulled as a way to clear the house as quickly as possible, students were rightfully left with a lack of faith in the University’s ability to calmly and clearly communicate with students.

Students from Greek organizations other than Kappa Sigma have also been left with the same feelings.  With the realization of the ability for the University and Public Safety to enter and search any building they suspect of any wrongdoing, students are growing skeptical of Public Safety’s mission to keep students safe rather than to catch students participating in frowned upon or illegal activity.

With this animosity rising on campus between students and the governing bodies, it seems that the administration’s efforts might be split more evenly across the board, focusing not only on these necessary drug raids, but also on communicating with students regarding their rights as well as understanding students’ perspectives on policies and enforcement.

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