BwogSleuth: Targeted Room Searches

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Bwog had received several tips that during both random and scheduled fire alarms, maintenance staff had been spotted entering vacated rooms, apparently targeting specific room numbers, and asking some people to leave and letting others stay. What could we do but investigate?

The policy during an actual fire alarm (i.e. the event of burnt toast) is to only check rooms in the area that the alarm originates from. Only during planned alarms are random room checks conducted. How rooms were “randomly” chosen was not disclosed.

The room searches were implemented last year by Housing Services, Residential Programs and Public safety, after the proposal was passed by the Student Advisory Housing Board and Student Councils. The purpose of these checks was to ensure that students were leaving the building during fire drills. A letter to all CC and SEAS students was sent out last Spring informing them of these new procedures.

All of this seems a plausible and easily guessable explanation for what might be happening. However, we also found out that while University staff will not look in or open drawers or closets, they will be on the look out for fire hazards such as halogen lamps and candles, which will be removed if present. These must be collected from the Hospitality desk and disposed of or stored off campus. You have been warned!

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  1. well  

    i've taken to hiding in my closet

  2. I have to do it.  

    "other's?" Seriously?

  3. Anonymous  

    Having been present during one of these "random" searches (and I connote complete suspiciousness with these quotes), I can say that there was no planned or listed fire drill for that day. McBain had had a fire drill, per the Columbia standard, earlier in the month, and considering most people left their rooms, it was pretty obvious that no one had been told or seen any sign indicating that it was anything other than the real thing. Yelling fire in a crowded theater has already been deemed unworthy of free speech defense because of the protocol and reactions expected of those in crisis times, and I would argue that Columbia Housing pulling a fire alarm without informing anyone that it was a drill and using that as a means to search rooms unnoticed is a similar violation of our rights. It will always be our word versus theirs, and we all know how this usually turns out, but I can without a doubt vouch that not a single person in McBain had been informed of it being a drill when these events occurred. It's frightening to say, but I guess if we had been alerted, it would all have been completely legal. But, the fact remains that we weren't, and thus Housing's motives here are incredibly specious.

  4. yikes  

    more details, please? which buildings have been targeted so far? do they just peer in, or do they actually come in, look around, inspect everything in plain sight? they're not allowed to open drawers or closets, right?

    • Anonymous  

      I once hid under the covers while they came in so I have first-hand experience. A woman knocked, opened the door, looked around for about 10 seconds (while standing outside), and closed the door. Granted, my room was really messy so it would have been hard for her to come in, but she didn't try at all.

  5. what  

    happens if they find you??

  6. arghargha  

    What is this a center for ants? This is grade-A winter bullshit!

  7. has  

    it only been mcbain so far?

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