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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Locked-out students could face conduct referral

Published: November 17, 2006
Section: News

The Hoot has obtained a copy of a letter that several students received in their university mailboxes from the Department of Residence Life (Res. Life) last week, stating that the student had two documented lockouts and that Res. Life encourage[s] you to review your habits regarding keys and make any changes that will prevent repeated lockouts.

The letter then goes on to state that further lockouts from your residence hall room will result in a meeting with a Residence Life staff member, which may result in educational sanctioning as part of the conversation.

This is a change in policy implemented this semester by Res. Life that is designed to cut down on students locking themselves out of their rooms and to educate students on the importance of safety and responsibility. As reported in The Hoot on October 20, the Office of Public Safety also instituted a new lockout policy, in which public safety officers no longer go to dorm rooms to unlock doors. Instead, students must go to either the Res. Life office or the Department of Public Safety to obtain spare keys to their room.

Part of this was a meeting with Public Safety to change the lockout policy, said Director of Residence Life Richard DeCapua. Public Safety gave us the number of [yearly] lockouts and it was in the thousands. This made me back up and say whats going on here?

As a response, Res. Life has designed a tiered system to handle lockouts. A second lockout results in a letter informing students that further lockouts will have ramifications including potential referral to the student conduct system, as outlined in Rights and Responsibilities. To date, no referrals have been made.

We [understand] that people lock themselves out, said DeCapua, and most students get it, but we felt it would behoove us to have a system for students who dont get it, adding that most Brandeis students lock themselves out once, are given their spare keys, and never have a problem again.

However, he said that there is the 1% of the population who need to change their attitude with keys and safety. This is for the people locking themselves out seven or eight times. He also explained that in many instances students lose their keys and do not want to pay the fee for a replacement set, so they repeatedly come to Res. Life to obtain the spare set.

DeCapua went on to state that the reference in the letter to educational sanctions was meant to imply Res. Lifes intent to teach students to be more responsible and the educational moment we hope to have.

However, a student who received one of Res. Lifes letters, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Res. Life told him he would be meeting with the Quad Director for the third [lockout], and the time after that they told me Id be going into the judiciary system. He felt that they made it sound much more punitive, that what they really wanted was to stop being bothered by lockouts by taking punitive action.

He added that after the third lockout, should they probably fine me? Yeah. But to judicially refer me is ridiculous. I would argue its huge overkill. DeCapua noted that Res. Life does not fine students for losing their keys.

I cant imagine any student who wants to continue coming to our office to get their keys, said DeCapua. Were improving [the process] as we go, but it would be irresponsible for my office to not do something like this.