Wondering how do college room checks work? Room checks aren’t as scary as you might think. It’s a piece of cake to pass them. We’ve discussed how you can do this below. We’ve also looked at why your room may be checked and RA checks in general.
When Do Campus Housing Check Rooms?
Mandatory room checks take place at least once a semester. Some colleges inform you before the inspections are done. How long before you are informed depends though.
Apart from the mandatory checks, your RA may go through your belongings if they know you have something that is banned, or if they suspect you of having something illegal.
The residential assistant along with a minimum of 2 housing staff would be present during the sweep. They will knock on the door and enter. However, they could barge in if the university has allowed them to do so.
When they’re inside, they will look for items that are not allowed. This could be anything that is a health or safety hazard. If you’re under the age of 21, your refrigerator would be inspected. This is to see if there is alcohol inside.
If they find anything illegal or against the rules, disciplinary action would be taken. Not only could your housing contract be terminated, but you might be reported to the authorities too.
How Do Dorm Room Checks Work?
The RA has to do the inspection in the least invasive way possible. They would only open any drawers or closets if they don’t have a good reason to. As mentioned, refrigerators can’t be checked unless you’re below the legal drinking age.
You might be asked to move items that are blocking parts of the room. Housing staff may suspect that there is something hidden behind it.
If you’ve passed the check, you would be given a certifying paper. If you’ve failed, a paper stating why would be given. One of the most common reasons students get reported is because they have appliances that are not permitted. Although you might not think so, your mini-fridge may be a fire hazard. Other items that could be fire hazards are:
- Hair irons
Depending on where you’re studying, you might not get into trouble if you’ve failed your first room inspection. Disciplinary action will only be taken if you’ve failed the second or third checks.
The residential assistant would fill a form during the sweep. This would be a checklist made by the university. It would tell campus housing everything they want to know about you.
How Do You Pass a Dorm Room Check?
Considering how housing staff can’t check closed spaces, it’s easy to pass a room check. Everything that we have discussed below would help you pass with flying colors.
If you have a panic attack when they come in, the RA would think you’re nervous because you’re hiding something. RA checks are normal.
Do Some Cleaning
Make sure your dorm is clean and tidy. You can reduce the amount of time the staff would spend in your room.
Read Your Handbook
You may have been provided with a handbook when you moved in. Go through it when cleaning. There may be a couple of items that you didn’t realize were against the rules. Hide or toss them out.
Speak to Your Room Mate
You probably have a roommate. Two minds are better than one, so if there is anything against the rules, you’ll be able to plan what to do.
Although you may have obeyed the rules, your roommate may have not. If they have something illegal, you could get in trouble as well. Sit with them and hatch a plan.
Remove Anything That’s Not Yours
Did you recently have friends over? They might have left something behind that could get you in trouble. Return the items to them. Hopefully, their dorm has already been checked, so they won’t mind taking the goods back.
Find a Closed Location
The residential assistant won’t look inside drawers or closets without a reason. If you have something that could get you in trouble, chuck it in a drawer.
Make sure that the items you’ve hidden won’t be noticeable. If you have hidden a vape pen, it could give off an odor which would alert the housing staff to look inside drawers.
Befriend Your RA
Does your RA have a vendetta against you? You may not be on the best terms. They could spend more time checking your room as a result.
As soon as you move in, try and get on their good side. Don’t give them a reason to suspect you. If they know you like to smoke, they would do more thorough sweeps to find a vaporizer.
Hide Any Odors
Although the RA may not know that you are in possession of marijuana, they may smell it during their inspection.
There are many ways you could hide the odor. The best would be by making popcorn. Try and burn it. The burnt smell would mask any other smell in the air.
What Are a Student’s Rights During a Room Check?
Deny Police Entry
The police can’t enter your dorm without a warrant. Also, they need your permission before walking in. The natural response would be to agree. However, you can deny them entry. You won’t get into legal trouble for this.
Question an Officer’s Presence
A dorm building is a public space. There is no reason for officers to be present there unless there has been a crime. If you’re taken to court, the first thing a judge would ask is whether the police needed to be called or not.
Read Your Handbook
Read the handbook that campus housing provided you. Not only would it have information on what you can and cannot have, it would also let you know how rooms are checked. Memorize the rules so that you know whether your RA broke any during their inspection.
If you get into legal trouble because of something illegal in your room, you should be aware of any rules that the residential assistant broke. This could help you win the case.
Don’t Provide Evidence
Let’s say there is a strong marijuana smell in your room but the housing staff can’t find where you’ve hidden the goods. They may ask you to hand them over. If the police accompany them during the check, you might feel intimidated and hand the goods over. Unfortunately, you’ll be providing them with evidence. This is all they need to take disciplinary action. It’s not against your rights to refuse.
How often will your room be checked? This depends on your college. However, mandatory room checks usually take place once a semester. The residential assistant might try and be invasive with the sweep. This is why they wouldn’t go through drawers or closets without a reason. The sweep would be quick, so you don’t have to get nervous. Passing it is a piece of cake, as housing staff can’t check closed spaces.
If you pass the first inspection, you won’t get into trouble. What’s great is that disciplinary action might only be taken if you’ve failed the inspection 2 or 3 times. Before the sweep, clean your room thoroughly. You’ll be able to hide anything that could get you written up.