UCSD administration enforces unfair alcohol regulations on campus

    My name is Darby, and I have a problem … or so one might think, knowing that I had to take a mandatory alcohol awareness class. That’s right, the same guy who wrote an article telling freshmen how to discretely party on campus got caught. Not that it’s a big deal; at the very least, I thought, I could come away with some more drinking buddies.

    The class really wasn’t that bad, either. I especially enjoyed watching the documentary on Tijuana nightlife, and the instructors gave us some really tasty lollipops.

    What I found absolutely intriguing, however, was the resident security officer who described his job and fielded questions, largely pertaining to the rights we have as on-campus residents, or more accurately, what rights we don’t have.

    I was shocked to discover the impunity that RSOs have in entering and searching residents’ dorms and apartments. First of all, there are apparently no rules or requirements governing the circumstances for which RSOs knock on someone’s door; it’s totally at their own discretion, or if you prefer, whim.

    Second, once the resident opens the door, the RSO doesn’t even have to see any indication of alcohol; he can ask to enter the room or apartment, again, at his own discretion.

    As provocative as this sounds, it’s not too different from the rules, if not practice, of real police officers. What is different and very disturbing, however, are the consequences the resident faces, should he or she decide not to open the door or allow the RSO to enter. The RSO cannot enter an apartment or dorm without the resident’s permission, but he will promptly write a report to be handed in to the local resident dean for review.

    The housing contract clearly states that residents must completely cooperate with RSOs; therefore, even if there is no evidence whatsoever that the resident or guests have been drinking, to deny an RSO permission to enter is an offense punishable by eviction.

    That’s right! Screw the Fourth Amendment; UCSD’s attorneys have found a way to side-step it by having the option to evict students should they not “”voluntarily”” allow RSOs to enter their rooms and search their possessions. Regardless of legality, this is as close to an illegal search and seizure as it gets, and the students here should not tolerate it anymore.

    Another RSO right that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is that they can enter a room or apartment without permission if they feel a resident may be in danger. I’m disturbed because this is such an ambiguous rule that an RSO can, if he chooses, enter even if no one is in any kind of danger, because he “”thought”” he heard an indication of danger.

    I also think it’s ridiculous that the alcohol contract states that the guests of residents, even if they are 21 years old, cannot drink. What is the big deal? As long as no one under 21 is drinking, no laws are being broken.

    This is technically a wet campus, but it’s policed like a dry campus. Once, Round Table carded me when I tried to buy a nonalcoholic beer. So why does the school care? Just so it has one more tool to use in its holy crusade against college drinking.

    This crusade doesn’t stop at alcohol and whatever other controlled substances a resident chooses to use, either. The libertarian part of me is really angry that I am literally forced to allow a couple of rubber billy clubs to search my property without just cause; if a policeman wants to search your property, he can’t do so unless he acquires a search warrant signed by a judge. If an RSO wants to search my backpack, why should I get in trouble for saying, “”No, the contents of my backpack are none of your business.”” What makes RSOs so special that they’re protected with such privileges?

    The administration goes so far out of its way to prevent students from partying on campus for the same reason it doesn’t care about advancing athletics: It really doesn’t care about the undegraduates here.

    All Chancellor Robert Dynes and company care about is UCSD as a research school. A respectable undergraduate program is merely a plus, and in reality a consequence of the high-profile research that takes place here.

    They don’t care if RSOs march around campus like Nazi storm troopers, pestering students about noise and alcohol while our cars are being vandalized in the parking lots they should be patrolling instead.

    The only way the administration will ever care about student life on campus is if we the students finally stand up for ourselves and let them know loud and clear that we will not be pushed around any more. A couple of years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union sued UCSD for violating residents’ First Amendment rights, and it won. It is only because of that that we’re allowed to post whatever we choose in our windows, even if the administration doesn’t like it.

    I’m no legal expert, but I sure bet the ACLU and other watchdog organizations would like to know that UCSD is disregarding our Fourth Amendment rights.

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