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The rights of college students when dealing with campus police

Heading to college and moving away from home is an exciting time in the life of any Wisconsin young adult. This is a time where many are able to experience freedom and independence, but it can also be a time where certain decisions can lead to complications. If you have a college-age student, it is in his or her interests to know how to protect personal rights in the event of a problem with campus police.

On college and university campuses, security is a big issue. What these security forces can do largely depends on whether they are truly police or a security team with no true legal authority. College students also need to be aware of their rights regarding room searches, questioning by campus police and much more. As a parent, you understand this could be an important issue if your child is in trouble at some point.

Campus cops and security teams

The scope of authority held by campus police or security depends on the individual college or university. Depending on the size and location of the school, the police may only hire security enforcement, or they could be local police contracted by the school to keep the campus safe. It may be helpful to consider the following:

  • If a campus security team members are real police officers, they do have the authority to arrest and question a college student. They can also conduct searches and use force against a person suspected of a crime.
  • Regardless of if it’s a police office or security personnel, a college student has the right to remain silent if questioned. A college student has the right to ask for an attorney before answering more questions.
  • Terms of a housing agreement likely mean that security or police can search a dorm room if they have cause to do so. Police cannot conduct searches of a person unless it is justifiable.
  • Refusal to cooperate with questioning or the efforts of campus security or police can result in disciplinary action by the university. Students may have to fight for their legal rights and educational opportunities as well.

If your college student is facing legal trouble, he or she will benefit greatly from the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. There is a lot at stake, but it is possible to effectively defend personal freedoms, future interests and the ability to continue on-campus education.

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