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Room Entry, Inspection or Search
As stated in your housing contract, the college, at its discretion, may enter and search any room and its contents, including personal possessions, to:
1. verify occupancy
2. perform housekeeping and maintenance functions
3. investigate and/or seize evidence of potential illegal activity or violations of college regulations
4. conduct health and fire safety inspections
5. or, for any other reason and in any other situation in which the college, in its discretion, deems it necessary to do so in order to protect the interests of the college or the general welfare of one or more of its students.
Administrative Entry and Search
College staff members may also be authorized to enter and/or conduct an administrative search of a student’s room and its contents. Administrative entries and searches are authorized based upon a reasonable suspicion that evidence of a violation of college policy or law or a threat to health or safety may be present. For example, credible information that there may be weapons, stolen property, illicit drugs/paraphernalia or other items posing a threat of harm to a student (including the individual him/herself) would warrant an administrative entry and search.
Authorization for an administrative entry and/or search is normally given by the Associate Provost for Student Affairs, or his/her designee, to the staff member requesting the search. Public Safety officers who determine that there may be a danger to an individual's well-being, such as a medical emergency, may enter a student's room and/or conduct administrative searches without prior approval, but must notify supervisors and appropriate Student Affairs staff as soon as is reasonably possible.
An administrative search will seek materials related to the justification for the administrative search, though other items discovered during the conduct of the search that also violate college policy or law or present a threat to health or safety may be noted and/or seized for future disciplinary action.
Administrative searches will not be conducted under the direction of police or on their behalf. This in no way limits the jurisdiction or authority of police acting within their legally defined powers. RISD Public Safety officers may accompany law enforcement agents but do not hold police powers. However, they will often participate in administrative searches as defined above.
Room Inspection and Plain Sight Searches
When an authorized staff member enters a student room for any of the reasons noted above, the staff member may conduct a visual inspection of the room. If evidence in plain sight suggests a violation of college policy or law or a threat to health or safety, full-time professional Residence Life staff may conduct or authorize more extensive searches. “Plain sight” is meant to include evidence that is readily apparent through sight, sound, smell, touch or similar means. Items discovered during such a search that violate college policies or law or present a threat to health or safety, such as controlled substances without an appropriate medical prescription, weapons, open flame sources, etc., may be disposed of or confiscated.