Police State U
October 18, 2005
About 150 students rallied Monday in protest of university policy changes that will allow students who live off-campus—as a majority do—to be referred to the university judicial system for things that happen outside campus borders.
Gary Pavela, director of Judicial Programs at the University of Maryland at College Park and an expert on campus judicial systems, said institutions should tread lightly when extending policies off campus. He said that “treating students like children eventually induces them to behave like children,” and added that universities sometimes find themselves taking on an enforcement role they aren’t prepared for as communities demand more and more involvement. “Administrators have to keep in mind that they’re first priority is to manage educational institutions, not police departments,” he said.
And Rhode Island students might not be the only ones hiding their candles. George Washington University hired an outside company, HRH Risk Mitigation, Inc., to conduct five unannounced searches of every room on-campus per calendar year. Officials said the main goal is to rid rooms of fire hazards by confiscating halogen lamps, candles, and incense and donating them to local charities. A fire last March caused by a George Foreman grill helped propel the new system which Nancy Haaga, director for auxiliary and institutional services, said is “an issue of manpower. We didn’t have enough trained staff to cover every room.”