One of the best parts of going to college is moving into the dorms or student apartments. You meet new people, learn to live on your own, and have a little fun. Unfortunately, residence life also leads many college students to face allegations of college code of conduct violations and potentially serious consequences.
Common Housing Policies
Many colleges and universities build their residence policies and rules around respecting one another and maintaining a safe environment for everyone in the housing facility. However, some rules can be unexpected—and unknown—for most students. Campus dormitory rules can be intricate and college students are often more interested in building a life for themselves than reading and remembering every detail of a residential rulebook. Students may violate a rule without even realizing it and suddenly, they are facing extreme consequences, which can include losing scholarships, suspensions, or other disciplinary actions that can affect their education and future in general.
The following are only some examples of the many rules that can apply to student housing and that can lead to serious college code violation accusations.
Fire Safety Violations
In any type of large housing development, fire safety is definitely a concern and policies should be in place. Fire safety policies often involve many types of prohibited items, many of which can be surprising and may include:
- Extension cords
- Furniture not provided by the school
- Electric heaters
- Firearms or fireworks
- Air mattresses
- Halogen lights
- Evergreens – artificial or natural
- Hot plates
While not having electric heaters or fireworks may seem obvious, many students may not realize that they are violating fire safety rules by blowing up an air mattress for a visiting friend, adding a table they brought from home to the dorm room, or having a small Christmas tree as a festive decoration. In some instances, a student may light a single candle in their room and when they blow it out, the smoke alarm may be set off. Suddenly, that student is facing disciplinary proceedings before the college board and may lose their funding, be suspended, or worse. All because of a single candle. While colleges should always take the safety of their students seriously, they sometimes can blow certain violations out of proportion and a student can face lasting consequences. It’s important to speak with an experienced attorney if you’ve been accused of violating any residence policy at your school.
Alcohol in Student Housing
Colleges and universities have the difficult task of trying to enforce underage drinking rules. In an attempt to do so, some campus housing policies can be unrealistic and can lead to wrongful accusations of underage alcohol possession. For example, some schools state that no student under 21 can be in the presence of alcohol or even alcoholic beverage containers.
Imagine that you stop by a friend’s dorm room and he is drinking a beer. If you are having a conversation and a security guard knocks on the door, you may be accused of underage alcohol possession even though you never held the beer or drank the beer. Because you said “hi” to a neighbor, you may then face serious penalties for violating your school’s underage drinking policies.
In addition, many colleges and universities are now banning drinking games from being played in student rooms or apartments—specifically, residence policies prohibit any activity that promotes the rapid consumption of alcohol. However, students may be accused of playing drinking games when they, in fact, are not. Someone may walk by a room where students are playing a rousing game while drinking—even though the two are unrelated. Assumptions may be made and suddenly, all students in that room may face college conduct violations. These are only some examples of how alcohol-related housing policies can be ambiguous and wrongful allegations can arise.
Colleges and universities expect students to adhere to state and federal laws, so it is no surprise that illegal drugs are banned from student housing complexes. Like any type of drug possession case, however, college code drug policies can lead to wrongful accusations and penalties that can affect the rest of your life.
Drug possession accusations can be based on actual possession or constructive possession. Actual possession means that drugs were found on your person, in your backpack, or otherwise under your control. However, constructive possession means that you had the ability to control the drugs if you wanted, which can include drugs simply being in your dorm room. If your roommate has marijuana and security discovers it, you may also be accused of possessing marijuana even if you actually had no idea that it was in the room.
Drug possession allegations may not only lead to severe disciplinary action by a school,but also to state criminal charges. A drug possession conviction on your record can have many consequences, including disqualification for federal student loans, difficulty finding a job or getting into grad school, and more. If you’ve been accused of drug possession on campus, it’s critical to be represented by a defense attorney who can handle both your college disciplinary proceedings and any charges in criminal court.
At Duffy Law, we know that the 4th Amendment applies to students who live in dormitories and we aggressively defend against drug charges for clients of all ages. We are also extremely familiar with the college disciplinary process and can protect your rights against any housing policy or other college code violations.
Find Out How Our College Code Defense Lawyers Can Help You
The above are only a few examples of college code violations that can arise from student housing policies. The experienced attorneys at Duffy Law are committed to defending the rights of students facing college code accusations and helping to limit the consequences they face. Lighting a candle or playing a game while drinking a beer in a campus room should not affect the rest of your life. These matters can be more serious than you think so it is important to discuss any allegations with a college code defense law firm as soon as possible. Call Duffy Law at 203.946.2000 today.