This weekend marked the National Council meeting for my fraternity, Alpha Phi Delta. Among the topics discussed in some side conversations the topic of the Bong Hits for Jesus case arose. For those of you unfamiliar with it, you can read up more here. In the course of having the conversation it came up how even at the college level students are having their rights stripped from them at alarming rates, having to put up with things I would never think possible in this country. And when you consider the fact that those attending college are in actuality adults being as they are over the age of eighteen it makes what our students go through even worse.
In just conversing with the members of my own organization we’ve have students who live off campus subjected to routine house inspections performed by the college and if their living arrangements are not up to the college’s standards they are forced to either move or make sure they are brought up to what the requirements ask for. In some cases these standards even go as far as the cleanliness you are forced to keep your house. And in the cases of fraternal organizations, schools can even enforce these rules on houses the organization owns.
Other universities require students to keep a log of everyone who attends events at their fraternity houses, marking off who is under the age of twenty one to prove they are carding incase alcohol is served. In this later case, the school even hires spies to attend posing as both over and under age students to confirm that the information is being recorded correctly.
We have schools that require students to meet certain requirements before being allowed to even join fraternal organizations. And other schools yet ban such organizations outright because they discriminate in whom they allow to become a member.
So I have to ask, when you walk into a school do you check your constitutional rights in at the door? Do you no longer have freedom of speech? Are you no longer given the right to freedom of assembly? The government doesn’t have the right to illegal search and seizure but schools do even on privately owned property?
A college should have no more right to tell a student then cannot join a fraternity or sorority then they can tell that student they cannot join the NRA or the Democratic or Republican parties yet they often do. And a college certainly should have no right to tell a fraternity or sorority they are forced to allow members of both sexes, which by the way has been protested the most by sororities because they see their organizations as a safe haven for women at the schools which tried to do this.
I’m glad that student rights have been a hot topic as it has been ignored far too long. In the case of colleges it is simply amazing that students pay to be treated on a sub citizen level and in most cases students are so afraid of being kicked out or penalized that they tolerate this without even asking questions or trying to stand up for their rights.