Wesleyan student Bryan Stascavage has an opinion piece in the Wesleyan Argus that provides food for thought about student privacy. Comparing his experiences in the military to resident life on campus he writes, in part:
Yet, after spending three semesters here, I was shocked at how little privacy I had at a University that prides itself on personal freedoms, treating its students like adults, and encouraging experimentation and independence. There were weeks where it seemed like RAs, maintenance workers, administrators, and others were parading through my house with little to no regard for privacy. One worker came crashing through my door with no notice.
The blatant disregard for privacy seems to be a University policy rather than a series of isolated events. I was surprised to learn that my Wesleyan email can be read by the University if there is reasonable cause (a policy which is described on pages 31-35 of the Student Handbook). I was shocked to discover that in the past, administrators have given the police permission to search a student’s room without a warrant. The simple fact is, as students at Wesleyan, we have very little privacy. The only area in which the University seems concerned about our privacy is our grades: professors are not allowed to talk with anyone, including parents, about how we are doing in class.
Is the lack of privacy legal? Probably. Private entities do not fall under the Constitution. But it being legal is not an excuse nor an unspoken permission to act like a jackass. If the University is going to have a hands-off policy when it comes to academics, if the University is going to have a hands-off policy when it comes to student affairs, then naturally it should follow that the University should have a hands-off policy when it comes to our living areas.
Read more on The Wesleyan Argus.