Question

  03/28/12, 1:01 pm
As an attorney do you see a distinction between "Room Search" and "Room Entry"? Do all "Room Entries" need to follow the "Room Search" policy? Room Entry Housing and Residence Life staffs reserve the right to enter a student’s room/living unit to ensure, among other things, health, safety, and maintenance in residence halls/living units. This includes quarterly inspections for health, safety and cleanliness. Room searches will be conducted in accordance with the guidelines listed in the Room Search section of this guide and the terms and conditions of the residence hall contract. The Department of Housing and Residence will not facilitate entry of a non-resident, including family members, into a student’s room without the explicit (verbal or written) consent of that student. Room Search Saint Louis University and the Department of Housing and Residence Life reserves the right to conduct a “room/living unit search’’ for the reasons set forth in the residence hall contract and when it has been determined, in the discretion of appropriate University officials, that sufficient cause exists. 1. The Director or Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life, Vice President of Student Development, or the Vice President’s designee will make this determination. After proper authority has been granted, the search will be conducted in the following manner: 2. The search process: a. Two university staff members will conduct the search. b. In most cases, the persons conducting the search will knock on the residence hall/living unit door and announce themselves before entering. c. Students who are present will be informed of the purpose of the search. Students are not required to be present, unless requested by staff. If so requested, students must remain in the room/living unit or under supervision of staff. Searches may be conducted in the students’ absence. d. All areas and spaces of the room/living unit, and all objects and containers within the room/living unit, may be searched. Illegal or unauthorized items will be confiscated and residents will be provided with a list of these items taken. Items violating local, state or federal laws may be turned over to law enforcement authorities. 3. Public Safety and Security Services or police officers with proper authority may initiate a search within normal legal guidelines. These procedures may supersede the above guidelines. The information gathered during this process may be processed through the conduct system. This policy can be found at: http://www.slu.edu/Documents/student_development/residence_life/2011_2012_HRL_Handbook_revised_Oct.pdf Pages 23 and 24
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United States   |   Missouri  |  Landlord & Tenants
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Answer

Nicholas Lindley Says:

Mar 28,2012 4:20 PM

They appear to be two separate, but similar processes. SLU has the right to "enter" to make sure that there are no "health or safety" concerns (which to them, would include underage drinking, but could also include the smell of a strange odor like gas or smoke from a burned pizza), and then, once they've entered, they have a separate right (and protocol) for "searching" the place. This, of course, is assuming that their reason for entering would necessitate a search (in the case of a smell of natural gas, they would simply check in the usual place and not under your bed or in your shoebox) For your purposes, I'd be more concerned with whether they followed the search aspect correctly, in that they received proper authority (unlikely at a late hour) and that two staff members conducted the search. If this is indeed the person who posed the earlier question, I feel that you and your friends did not suffer too much - I don't recall reading about any arrests or citations and the only loss you suffered was from the alcohol being discarded. And I'm sure, somewhere in your residence contract, is a clause buried in there saying something to the effect of if there is one underage person in the room, SLU would have the authority to confiscate any alcohol. Just be glad you didn't get a citation for providing for a minor and that they didn't find anything more serious. Disclaimer: This opinion is based on Missouri law and does not create any attorney-client privilege.


Nicholas Lindley
The Law Office of Nicholas Lindley
111 Westport Plaza,Maryland Heights, MO 63146
314-542-3118
http://lindleylegal.com

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