The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 68.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Campus Police should not conduct searches as events

(The Tech received a copy of this letter addressed to Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin.)

Last Friday night, I was at the Psychedelic Furs concert in Johnson Athletic Center, and was shocked to see MIT Campus Police searching students before they were allowed into an MIT building. I want to know when you allow Campus Police to search students without any prior warning, probable cause, or a search warrant.

It is my understanding that MIT police are deputized Cambridge Police officers, and that they are therefore required to behave accordingly. Searches without probable cause are not acceptable police procedure, and are in fact criminal. When, for safety reasons, people are checked for bottles at other, off-campus concerts, the management does not attempt to use police due to the intimidation effects and more importantly the severe legal implications of being searched by a police officer. The fourth amendment of the Constitution explicitly protects against searches of people without probable cause.

When police start to randomly search students without warning that is extremely intimidating. I want to know if you authorized this and whether you intend it to continue? When is it considered acceptable, by you, for Campus Police to search students? As the MIT Campus Police do not follow Cambridge law it is necessary that the existing Campus Police search policy be made public.

To get a search warrant the things that are to be searched for must be described to a neutral judge, who can then decide whether to grant the warrant. The Campus Police at the Athletic Center did not even explain what they were searching for. Any illegal material that was found would have been tainted evidence, so it could not have been used in court unless the arresting officer had "probable cause beforehand." The Campus Police again seem to need an explanation of civil rights, and the MIT community needs an explanation of these searches, and a commitment from you that MIT police are bound by the Constitution and thus will not carry out searches of students without probable cause.

Adam Dershowitz G->