Everyone who lives on campus signs a pile of papers that restrict everything from candles to pets to “fire-like conditions” (does that include opening the window in August?). But how much of these restrictions serve to foster the community, as ResLife claims, and how many of them are manipulated to violate the basic rights of students, such as rights to property and rights to due process?
In solid reporting by the Wildcat, we get yet another glimpse into the sinister process by which dorm residents are cited for alleged conduct violations:
Each semester some students are put on deferred eviction for violating the Residence Life code of conduct, yet some say they were wrongly accused of any misconduct.
Chris Fauntleroy, an undeclared freshman, said he was placed on deferred eviction because his dorm room in Hopi Lodge smelled like marijuana. He said one day last semester he heard a knock on his dorm room door, and opened it to find University of Arizona Police Department officers waiting outside. The officers came in because they said the room smelled marijuana. After they searched his room and found nothing, Fauntleroy said he was still punished and placed on deferred eviction. (Emphasis added)
This site has long been interested in how ResLife and UAPD handle marijuana possession allegations, especially with regards to personal property. In this incident, the student’s room was searched and nothing was found — and the student was still cited. Deferred eviction is something like a probationary warning resulting in an eviction if the student is found in violation of community standards again — but it still undue punishment for an incident with absolutely no evidence to support the officer’s allegation that marijuana was present. These incidents are apparently not uncommon:
Another student claimed a similar thing happened to her. Angelica Luczak, a nutritional sciences freshman, said she wasn’t even in her dorm when officers said they smelled marijuana. She said one day while she was in class, UAPD officers came and knocked on her door, and her roommate opened it for them. When she got back, she was informed by her hall’s resident assistant that she had been written up, and soon after she was placed on deferred eviction.
“Just because it allegedly smelled like weed I got put on deferred eviction,” Luczak said.
Unless the UAPD has some new innovation that can prove presence of marijuana based on a funky smell, this is an overreach of the already fairly harsh standard set by Residence Life. If you are on deferred eviction, whether for a legitimate reason or because the UAPD officer your RA called thinks you and your Biggie poster are shifty-eyed, you can be evicted from your hall for everything from graffiti to “harmful speech” to having a “large amount” of alcohol in your room, even if you are over 21. Neither “harmful” nor “large amount” is clearly defined by ResLife.
If you’re looking to get rid of your loud suite mate, ResLife offers a much easier way than the long, tedious reassignment process: plant a bottle of Boone’s Farm in her closet. According to ResLife, “If alcohol, drugs, paraphernalia or weapons are in your room, your pocket or anywhere else under your control, they are considered to be yours.”
Perhaps even more curious here is the relationship between ResLife and UAPD. Theoretically, these students could only be punished for marijuana possession if an officer had found marijuana, which would result in a criminal citation and not just a ResLife sanction. In this article, UAPD claims they have no influence on ResLife sanctions:
“We don’t have anything to do with Residence Life punishments,” said Juan Alvarez, UAPD’s public information officer. Alvarez said that if they find sufficient evidence of a student smoking marijuana, then that student will be punished in congruence with Arizona law.