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Inspections and Searches
In order to assure an orderly educational environment guided by Christian values and accepted principles of individual rights and responsibilities, Concordia College deems it necessary to establish these guidelines governing College inspections and searches.
As this document will outline, an important distinction is to be made between College actions involving inspection versus search. Either action is only to be taken by authorized College staff, including authorized student staff.
An inspection may be routine, an emergency, or based upon reasonable cause that there is a violation of College policy or civil law. The College reserves the right to inspect without prior notice (1) any of its property, including property occupied by students; (2) vehicles, motorized or not, parked on College-owned property; and (3) any suspected contraband which may be carried or possessed by any individual on the campus.
A room inspection may be defined as entering a room to (a) inspect for safety hazards, maintenance problems, or misuse of College property (routine inspection); (b) per-form emergency maintenance, quell a disturbance, or to protect the health and well being of any individual (emergency inspection); (c) or to investigate, based upon reasonable cause, a possible violation of College policy or civil law, but not search for the same (reasonable cause inspection).
"Reasonable cause" is defined as facts and/or circumstances sufficiently convincing for a reasonable person to conclude that a violation of College policy or civil law is occurring. Therefore, anything plainly seen, heard, or smelled that may be a violation of College policy or civil law constitutes reasonable cause for an inspection. During a reasonable cause inspection, anything plainly seen can be examined more closely to determine if it constitutes a violation in so far as the examination does not constitute a search. If, upon examination, a violation is confirmed, the contraband may be confiscated as evidence and charges may be filed against the occupant(s) of the room. (Contraband is defined as anything which may violate civil law or college policy.) If the occupants) is (are) not present during an inspection, a receipt listing items confiscated is to be left in the room by the staff member(s) doing the inspection.
In instances where there is reasonable cause to inspect for a possible violation of college policy/civil law but no evidence is plainly seen, a campus search warrant must be obtained before any search can be conducted; unless the occupants) freely gives) consent to a search without a warrant. Consent cannot be given for the search of an absent roommate's belongings. The occupants) may be detained until an application for a search is acted upon and the room searched. During any room inspection, anything plainly seen, heard, or smelled which may endanger persons or property may be examined more closely. For example, if an electrical cord is seen running under a covered object or into a closet, a staff member may examine more closely by uncovering the object or opening a closet to verify a safety hazard. If, upon examination, a violation is confirmed, the contraband may be confiscated as evidence and charges may be filed against the occupants) of the room.
Any vehicle, motorized or not, parked on college-owned property which appears to be carrying something which may be a violation of College policy/civil law can be inspected. If, upon examination, the item(s) are confirmed to be in violation, the contraband may be confiscated as evidence and charges filed against the owner and/or operator of the vehicle. If the contraband is plainly seen but locked inside, the vehicle may be impounded or the owner and/or operator of the vehicle may be detained until an application for a search is acted upon and the vehicle searched.
Inspections of Individuals
Any individual who by reasonable cause is suspected of carrying or possessing something on College property or at a College sponsored event which appears to be a violation of College policy or dl law can be stopped for the purpose of examining the suspected violation. If the inspection confirms a violation, the item may be confiscated as evidence and charges filed as evidence and charges filed against the individual.
The internal search warrant, as described in this policy, is not to be used as a substitute for a civil law warrant. It is to be used only for the purpose of gathering information regarding alleged violations of College polities/civil law which are to be handled through the College' judicial system. This does not, however, preclude the possibility of the case being turned over to the dl authorities after the search is completed. The policy governing room and vehicle searches is designed to maintain an orderly educational environment while affording the student the protection of procedural fairness. The following guidelines apply to college searches:approved
- All room/vehicle searches, except those conducted by law enforcement officers, must be by the Dean of Student Life or his/her designee.
- A room/vehicle may be searched only if there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of College policies, federal, state or local laws exists in that room/vehicle.
- If a staff member determines reasonable cause exists, he/she should complete an Application and Supporting Statement for an Institutional Search Warrant specifying the applicant(s), date, room/vehicle to be searched, occupant(s)/owner or operator, facts and circumstances constituting reasonable cause, material to be seized, and names of the staff members who will conduct the search. This Application and Supporting Statement will then be presented to the Dean of Students or his/her designee.
- If the Dean of Students or his/her designee confirms that reasonable cause exists, he/she will issue an Institutional Search Warrant, specifying the room/vehicle to be searched and the staff members authorized to conduct the search. One staff member shall be designated as an observer of the search procedures and recorder of the items located and confiscated during the search.
- In conducting the search, the staff members will attempt to have the occupants)/owner or operator of the room/vehicle present. If possible and practical, the person(s) responsible for a room search should determine a time when the occupants) most likely will be present and conduct the search at that time.
- If present, the occupants)/owner or operator should be presented a copy of the Institutional Search Warrant which stipulates (1) the reason for the search and material to be seized; and (2) that any contraband found may be used in a College judicial hearing,or in a court of law, or both.
- If the occupant(s) is (are) not present, the search may nevertheless be conducted. The Institutional Search Warrant and signed inventory of items confiscated or observed should be left on the premises.
- When the search is completed, the staff members shall complete a Search Inventory Report, specifying the place/vehicle searched, name of the occupants)/owner or operator, material seized, and its ownership. This report should be given to the Dean of Students or his/her designee. The material confiscated should be tagged and held by the Security Office unless otherwise specified.
The following is a statement of policy for searching persons or objects carried by persons into a college sponsored event.
If the Dean of Student Life or his/her designee deems it necessary to conduct limited searches as people are entering a college sponsored event:
- Signs should be placed at the entrances used by the public. The signs should be large in size and clearly visible to the public. A suggested wording is as follows:
- "You will not be admitted to the (Stadium, Auditorium, etc.,) with a package, purse or similar item or article of bulky clothing unless it is searched for prohibited items. If you do not want to be searched, you may refuse, but you will not be admitted until the items are searched or not brought onto the premises. No refunds will be granted."
- Another sign should be posted specifying what the prohibited items are, e.g., alcohol, beer, wine, other distilled spirits, other drugs, weapons and hazardous material.
- If there are tickets for the event, these should contain a statement similar to the following: "Limited searches may be conducted and those refusing to submit to a search may be denied admission without a refund."
- Searches of the public will only be conducted by authorized College staff.
- Authorized staff shall visually observe all persons who enter the event and determine if they suspect that the person or persons may have some form of contraband on their person or in a package or container that they carry. If that decision is made, the staff member should request that the suspected person step to one side and then make a statement to the person similar to the following:
- "I would like your consent to search your (purse, coat, container, etc.) pursuant to our limited search policy. You have the right to refuse, but you will be denied entry and no refund will be granted."
- If the patron wishes to leave the premises without giving consent, he/she may do so and no search will be made.
In the case that alcohol, drugs, a weapon, or hazardous material has been found on a patron, through our "limited search" or through the "plain sight doctrine," the Director of Campus Security or his/her designee shall be notified immediately to make a decision as to the disposition of the matter. Students at Concordia College possessing alcohol, drugs, weapons, or hazardous material may be charged through the campus judicial system, and the items will be confiscated. Others will also have items confiscated and they may be charged through the civil authorities.