Room Entry Procedures

Room Entry Procedures

The right of individuals to be secure in their persons, living quarters, papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizure is constitutionally guaranteed and extends to students in the academic community. No provision in the housing contract gives residence hall officials the authority to consent to a search of a resident's room or apartment by police or other government officials.

Who can enter

There are circumstances in which authorized persons using the approved procedures outlined below may enter a residential room or apartment. These special cases include law enforcement, custodial services, health and safety inspections, room repair and maintenance, emergency situations, and probable cause searches:

  • Any law enforcement agency having jurisdiction may, in performing its statutory duties, conduct a search by legally defined procedures governing search and seizure.
  • Authorized University custodial personnel may enter residents' rooms or apartments to perform the routine custodial services provided as a part of a housing contract.
  • Authorized University personnel performing health and safety inspections may enter a room or apartment to ensure all fire, health, and safety regulations are being followed. Whenever possible, residents will be given at least 24-hour notice of these inspections.
  • Authorized University maintenance personnel may enter a room to make improvements or repairs, to provide routine maintenance services, and to recover university-owned property. Whenever possible, residents will be given at least 24-hour notice of these inspections.
  • Authorized University personnel responding to an emergency may enter a room or apartment to protect a resident's health and welfare or to make emergency repairs to prevent property damage.
  • Authorized University officials may enter a room or apartment when there is probable cause to believe violations of university or civil regulations are being committed, and a delay in procuring a search warrant would endanger the health and safety of the residents, or result in the probable destruction of evidence. Probable cause means having reasonable grounds for suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a cautious person's belief that a party is committing an illegal act.
  • Other members of the university staff may enter student rooms under the conditions described in the Indiana University Residence Hall Housing Contract.

The process for entering

  • No student room or apartment shall be entered without knocking, whether the door is locked, unlocked, or ajar.
  • The university official will identify himself or herself and state why the entry is desired. If the door is closed, the official will then request the door be opened.
  • If the door is not opened or the official is refused entry:
  • The official will knock again and restate personal identification and the reason the entry is desired.
  • State the intention to use a key, card, or code to enter if the door is not opened.
  • Wait at least two minutes to allow the occupant(s) sufficient time to awaken, dress, or to make a rational decision whether to allow entrance to the room or apartment and then, if necessary, use a key, card, or code to enter.
  • State again, upon entering the room or apartment, the purpose of the entry or search, the fact that it is being conducted by probable cause, and the identity of the specific objects being sought.
  • When authorized university personnel or their agents must enter a student's room or apartment when no occupants are present, if possible, two staff members should be present, Students will be notified of such entries and the reasons for them upon their return. In all instances, such entries shall be made only for the purposes listed above and in the contract.

Probable Cause Searches and Removal of Items

  • Residence hall staff will notify IUPD where there is probable cause to believe violations of university or civil rights regulations are being committed.
  • The process outlined above for entering will be followed.

The items below apply whether the room or apartment to be searched is occupied or unoccupied at the time of the search.

  • Only items specifically prohibited or that pose an immediate danger to the health and safety of the residents will be removed from a student's room without the express permission of the owner.
  • The university official conducting the search is free to seize illegal materials in "plain view." However, the extent of the search must be in keeping with the factual information upon which the probable cause for the search is founded. If an extensive search is required (i.e., opening all drawers, luggage, and locked boxes) and the student has not given permission, a search warrant may be obtained.
    All evidence seized during searches complying with the above regulations may be used in university disciplinary hearings for violations of the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. Evidence seized in violation of the search standards may not be used.
    A student who believes this policy has been violated should report the incident to the Office of Student Life.