West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Visual inspection of student rooms or apartments for cleanliness, health, safety, and compliance with all University-owned and/or affiliated student housing regulations is permitted by members of the administration and residence life staff. Residents shall be present (when possible) and any information discovered by coincidental means may be used as evidence against residents in University disciplinary proceedings. Such inspections shall be announced and publicized 48 hours before the inspection except for routine inspections, which will be conducted at vacations, at regular intervals during the academic year, and at the close of each term. These inspections may be conducted in the absence of the residents.
Visual inspections may also periodically occur when adhering to emergency evacuation procedures (e.g., fire alarms). Because the administration is responsible for discipline, a member of the residence life staff may enter a student's room for visual inspections when there is reasonable suspicion of rule violation. If a resident refuses to grant entry, the master key may be used. In the event of an emergency, or where there is reasonable suspicion, a member of the residence life staff may enter a room for a visual inspection in the absence of the residents. If this occurs, the residents shall receive written notification of such entry.
A student's room may be searched by a University official if there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a University rule has been violated. Permission for such searches may be given by the Vice President for Student Affairs or, in his absence, the designated senior student affairs officer. Two copies of a permit signed by one of these shall contain:
Every effort shall be made to inform the student(s) of the intent to search; however, in emergency situations the search may be conducted in the absence of the student(s). If this is done, they shall be informed after the fact and given a copy of the permit. If the students are present, they shall be advised that any information or property seized may be used as evidence against them in any University disciplinary proceeding, and they have the right to counsel and the right to remain silent. Any property seized in the search shall be itemized and acknowledged by signature on both copies of the permit by one of the authorized University searchers and the residents. A copy of the signed permit will be filed in the Office of Student Conduct.
Search and seizure for purposes related to suspected violation of civil or criminal law of the Commonwealth may be accused to the civil authorities. Such authorities have the right to search the premises and possessions of any student by following the ordinary procedures and requirements for lawful search. Any information discovered through such a search may be used as evidence in any civil or criminal proceedings and by University authorities when violations of the Student Code of Conduct occur.