Recently, the University of Washington has considered expanding its student conduct code to include off-campus behavior. The idea of disciplining students through the university seems preposterous to me.
At Eastern, the conduct code says that when certain laws are broken, and a student faces criminal prosecution, he or she may face university disciplinary action. Fortunately, the code does not reference off campus incidents, and last I checked, the “Police Beat” didn’t include OSRR referrals when EWU Police assisted the Cheney Police, or when they are arresting drunken pre-law students by Starbucks.
This is fair practice. When students are off campus they are no longer representing the university, and therefore are accountable only to the laws of the city, state or federal levels. Students live off campus in order to free themselves from the restraints and rules of residential hall life. Between night desk and CA rounds, students are constantly under surveillance and accountable to the university as their landlord.
However, students who live off campus should not be subject to the discipline of the university. Once someone accepts the responsibility of living on their own, they are citizens of the city.
I can see how UW may want to expand their conduct code if they are receiving complaints from the surrounding neighborhoods. I am not clear about neighborhood codes in Seattle, but I know that in Cheney, every neighborhood falls under a certain classification, some of which restrict houses from having more than three unrelated people from living there.
These classifications probably help curtail legal incidents involving Eastern students.
The dent in my argument is when a student who lives in a dorm is caught doing naughty things off campus. If an underage dorm student is attending an off-campus party and the student receives an MIP, the citation should stay between the city and the student. By going off-campus, the student chose not to violate university rules by drinking in their dorm room, but they did choose to violate federal law by drinking before they turned that magical age of 21.
When universities begin to discipline students for off-campus activities, the university becomes more than a place of learning, it becomes Big Brother. And I think we all know how that book ended.