Guy Case Prompts Search Concerns
By Zareena Hussain
The continuing investigation into possible student criminal drug activity, which began as a result of the recent death of Richard A. Guy ’99 from nitrous oxide asphyxiation, has raised concerns among students about their privacy rights within dormitories.
“This investigation is not complete and it will be continuing. There is every possibility that there will be other charges against other individuals at a later time,” said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin at a press conference last Friday. “We have a lot more work to do in this situation.”
Glavin announced that criminal complaints had been filed against Susan M. Mosher ’99 and Rene A. Ruiz ’99 in connection with illegal drug activity uncovered in Mosher’s dormitory room. Guy died while in Mosher’s East Campus room.
“I think students are always concerned that people in power will overreach their authority,” said Senior House Housemaster and Professor of Media Arts and Sciences Henry Jenkins. “We have to recognize that students are adults, that they have certain constitutional protections and they should be preserved.”
While Jenkins said that he had heard anxiety among students about the continuing investigation and the possibility of Campus Police overstepping their boundaries, he added that he had no reason to believe that CPs have crossed that line.
Since MIT owns all dormitories, the Institute maintains the right to inspect rooms for reasons related to fire codes and health codes, according to Director of Insurance and Legal Affairs Thomas R. Henneberry.
The MIT Campus Police are deputized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are held to the same rules applicable to all police departments. Officers need a search warrant before anything found can be used as evidence in a criminal case, according to Henneberry.
According to Jenkins, Campus Police usually notify housemasters before they enter dormitories for a search. To his knowledge, there have been no searches in Senior House.
For all inspections, there is a generally held policy that occupants are given 24 hours’ notice before an inspection, Henneberry said.
Guy’s room, along with that of Mosher and Ruiz, were searched last week after Campus Police obtained search warrants.