University of Kansas proposes warrantless dorm searches

According to policy proposed at the University of Kansas, housing supervisors who suspect alcohol or drug use in a student's dormitory room can get a key and enter a student's room. Without permission. Without a warrant from a judge.

Dude! It's a breach of privacy, you say.

"Students need a voice in this . . . What if someone is in the shower and they don't hear you? That is a huge violation of privacy," said KU Student Body President Mason Heilman, a senior from Lawrence. "There are so many issues that need to be discussed before this is implemented."

The policy will go into effect this fall if the Student Senate votes for it — a big "if."

KU administrators see it as a way to strengthen its already stiffer rules aimed at combating alcohol and drug use, following two alcohol-related deaths earlier this year. The policy would set KU apart from schools such as the University of Missouri and Kansas State University.

"We have already seen the consequences of irresponsible alcohol consumption and what can happen," said university spokesman Jack Martin. "It's caused injuries and it's caused deaths. The university wants to create a safe environment for all its students."

In April, freshman Dalton Eli Hawkins, 18, of Shawnee, fell to his death from the roof of a university scholarship hall after drinking. Jason Wren, 19, of Littleton, Colo., died in his bed after a night of copious drinking at a Lawrence restaurant and, later, back at his Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house.

About 5,000 of KU's 27,000 students occupy on-campus residence halls. Others live in fraternities, sororities or in off-campus houses or apartments that would not be affected by the new policy.