The Proposed Campus Safety Policy Change is Disturbing

It has recently come to TSL’s attention that a Campus Safety policy change is in the works at Pomona—a change that could gravely affect residential life on this campus.

The details of the proposal are murky at best, but if our understanding of what one senior administrator told us is correct, it would give Campus Safety officers the ability to search Pomona students’ dorm rooms without consent—as long as they leave a note on the door once they have completed the search.

It should hardly be surprising that we find this possibility disturbing—it suggests that students have tacitly signed their rights to privacy away by choosing to live on campus.

But our primary concern is not the specific policy itself—it can’t be, yet, since we have been unable to verify whether this is the actual language of the proposal.

Despite continued efforts to glean information from members of Pomona administration and the Campus Security office, we have been unable to piece together a more complete picture of the details of this potential policy change. Because the proposal is “in the discussion phases with the Student Deans Committee,” according to Campus Security Directory Shahram Ariane, its details are not being released.

We understand that administrators have the right to privacy in many cases, but this particular policy is one that could have a major impact on student life at the college, and every indication we have suggests that there is no intention to inform the student body until after the change takes effect—until it is too late.

Now, we may very well be wrong about the details of this policy. It may not at all be the privacy-crushing, Orwellian nightmare that we’re currently envisioning. But that’s a problem in and of itself. By this time next week, the discussion could be over and the policy already in place, and at that point our job as journalists would only be as bearers of bad news.

As long-time newspaper writers, it makes us cringe to publish a piece based merely on conjecture, but this is one of the rare cases where the alternative may be worse. This is not the kind of decision that should be made unilaterally. We will continue to attempt to gather information about this policy change, but we also want to call on the student body as a whole to ask questions—and not just about this particular issue, but about any and all of the policy changes on campus that fundamentally impact our lives.

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