Opinion: Dorm rooms raided for CTA signs
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) signs are popular for many reasons. Not only do they help navigate the city, but some think they make great décor, and apparently, DePaul officials view them as a convenient excuse to raid dorm rooms.
Monday, May 7th, DePaul’s Residential Education and Housing Services staff performed a surprise inspection of countless rooms on campus in search of reported stolen CTA signs. The inspection was done at the request of number of university offices and the CTA. Following the bombardment, an email was issued to students that cited the nature of the inspection under the Housing Agreement in the DePaul student handbook.
Regardless of fine print, the actions that the university staff took in an attempt to recover stolen CTA signs appeared to be all but justified. A variety of different measures should have been proposed before the staff was allowed to barge into rooms without warning. According to the email sent out by Housing Services and Residential Education, “Per the Guide to Student Housing, we reserve the right to enter into and search any on campus living space at any time if it is believed that a policy violation or illegal activity has taken place.”
But did they have concrete evidence that DePaul students were the ones taking these signs? Chicago is a huge city, and CTA signs are regularly taken by a variety of people. Until these sudden searches were performed, it’s doubtful that DePaul had sufficient evidence to go barging into dorm rooms.
“It seems to me that DePaul officials are using the CTA incident as a fast track towards catching residents with other housing violations such as alcohol,” argued Charles Wynne, a freshman of DePaul who was unaffected by the raids.
If only students were given the opportunity to return the signs, this entire situation could have likely been resolved by dealing with specific individuals responsible for theft. Instead, the entire campus was inconvenienced by an unjust search that left the majority of DePaul students with a bitter taste in their mouths.