Would dispatching this letter be unwise, legally?


June 30, 2005, 02:23 AM
I'm thinking of shooting this off to the campus police department, student life, possibly even the dean. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot though. It pretty much explains my situation.

To Whom It May Concern:

On June 30th , as I was out riding my bicycle on campus early in the morning (as is my habit), campus police officers told me that I was not to step foot on campus, except under certain mysterious conditions, and implied that my doing so would be regarded as trespassing. Although I asked, they would not tell me why, except to remind me that ... is private property. I was told that I was allowed on campus only between the hours of 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. I was also told that I was allowed on campus while directly engaged in work at my ...research position with Dr ..., although I知 not clear on whether that痴 an AND or OR, that is, if my work requires me to be on campus outside those hours, if that is permissible, or similarly if I need to use campus facilities (such as the mail room) while not directly engaged in my work, if that is permissible.

I was also told that I was allowed to use campus facilities that are open to the public, such as the tennis courts and library, but I知 still not sure if I知 allowed to go to the library etc. if they are open outside the hours of the curfew the peace officers were implying I am now under. I知 also not entirely sure what areas are officially on campus, such as the roads, the weight room and such. I like to run early in the morning and would like to know where I知 allowed to run. I知 forced to the conclusion that I will not be allowed to train on the stadium steps any longer, can you confirm that?

As you can see I知 somewhat exasperated over this morning痴 encounter with the campus police and would appreciate it if someone would help me out here. Perhaps something in writing, maybe accompanied by a visual aid or map would be appreciated.

I知 not trying to be difficult here, but in the recent past I have been (unreasonably I feel) detained, and my person searched by campus police while exercising, and as you can imagine I壇 like to avoid additional such encounters in the future.

I would like to hear from anyone that can give me answers as soon as possible because this is somewhat important to me.

If you enjoyed reading about "Would dispatching this letter be unwise, legally?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
June 30, 2005, 02:42 AM
It might not be a good idea. The letter clearly states you're capable of time travel, given tomorrow is June 30th. Time travel is something you might want to keep under the covers for a few more years.

June 30, 2005, 03:10 AM
It's 3:00am June 30th here.

June 30, 2005, 03:58 AM
you're asking for a clarification of rules. Don't see a problem with it. DId you get the names/badge numbers of the campus officers?

June 30, 2005, 04:15 AM
Although it could potentially cause some irratation, perhaps, but i see not a problem.

Send it and hope for the best.

June 30, 2005, 06:04 AM
Seems like there's more to this than just the letter. In effect, you were trespassed off the campus grounds.

What happened?

June 30, 2005, 07:46 AM
Yes, why are you only allowed on campus at certain times if you hold a research position?
Does this apply to all students and faculty?
Are you being singled out for some unstated reason?
Have any other people been given a curfew?
Have any other people been searched by the police?

I seme to recall a previous post where you were on campus late at night and somebody reported you...

here it is:


Does the current issue have anything to do with this?

If you have nothing to hide and are seriously the unfortunate recipient of undue attention from "the man" (as I am sure you are) then go ahead send the letter. It is pretty innocuous on its face.


June 30, 2005, 08:40 AM
Legal advice is usually best sought from lawyers.

June 30, 2005, 08:53 AM
So, what exactly WERE you doing when the cops showed up?

June 30, 2005, 09:52 AM
Just tell them that you know the campus is a gun free zone, and thus criminals will not bring weapons onto the grounds, therefore you are just trying to jog in a safe area. Hahahaha.

June 30, 2005, 10:07 AM
You did not say at what time the campus police detained you. Were you in the dorm areas?

The letter does not fully describe what happened to you. It is unclear what the circumstances were.

June 30, 2005, 10:27 AM
Is this a private university? Why would a public university's property be private property? They have their own police force.

June 30, 2005, 10:33 AM
Your letter seems reasonable to me. You are trying to understand why the campus police did what they did to you.

What is 'wrong' or 'illegal' about that?

If you send the letter, you ought to be prepared for possible harassment from the campus police and possibly the administration. I would be prepared to document everything that happens after sending the letter, such as getting any officers' badge numbers who might approach you later on, etc

What school are you talking about?

June 30, 2005, 10:48 AM
This is a little like doing something to test the boundries of how far you can go. Is it so difficult to understand that certain areas need to maintain security and THEY don't know if you are Mister Rogers or Mister Hyde? As I've stated previously, if someone was creeping around your house at night, innocent as they may be, you'd be locked and loaded wondering what to YELL before pulling the trigger! The campus police are there to protect the students and faculty, they can't read minds and don't know if you are the "Boston Strangler" or not, USE YOR COMMON SENSE for Christs sake. :cuss:

June 30, 2005, 11:10 AM
If what you say is true, about how the campus police need to maintain this strict security and can't trust him because they don't know if he's friend or foe, why would that not go for [i]everyone[i]?


June 30, 2005, 11:16 AM
Well Jeffery,

Good question, how do you know they don't go for everyone in that same situation? And don't forget we are only getting one side of the story here, and are lending it a very sympathetic ear. Were we to hear another side such might not be the case, and personally, if it were my daughter's dorm room that someone was lurking about (yes lurking), with windows open, I'd want a thorough check of the fellow. And if it was me in that situation, I'd understand and cooperate, its just common sense.

June 30, 2005, 11:23 AM
To Pythonguy,

I agree with you to a point.

But pretty soon this vague notion of

certain areas need to maintain security

will be applied so arbitrarily we won't be allowed out of our houses after 9pm.
Yeah, it will get to that if these things keep going as they are. Our country is becoming a police state, no doubt about it.

I read through zahc's earlier post here:


I don't understand why the campus police can't just ask someone to move out of the area and be done with it. They have to question him and then search him, for what?

This is the 'you must be guilty of something' until 'we decide you are innocent' scenario.

I think it is getting out of hand and is becoming abusive.

There is nothing wrong with sending a letter to clarify what the rules are for the campus police and for those who are using the campus during off hours.

June 30, 2005, 01:06 PM
So, what exactly WERE you doing when the cops showed up?

Riding my bicycle, on the road. At no time did my bike leave the roadway or my feet touch the ground, until the police rolled up. This is on a road through campus.

There is no way I'm going running/riding between 8 and 5, it's just too hot. I live off campus, but about 30 feet from it.

June 30, 2005, 01:11 PM

Why can't you mention the school this is happening at?

Maybe there are others.

June 30, 2005, 01:17 PM
Muskingum College, New Concord, OH

I didn't see the importance.

It's a private college I gather. They have an actual campus police station and actual campus police, power to arrest, guns, etc. Very bored campus police, it would seem.

June 30, 2005, 01:33 PM
Schools have codes of conduct. If you are a student, you are entitled to be there unless it's a dorm (i.e. a gated dorm "compund" might be off limits after a certain hour to all but residents and housing/security staff).

If you have restraining ordes, or are under some sort of administrative probation because of something you did, don't aggravate the situation.

If this is truly random harrassment, or the appearance thereof, I'd politely contact the president's office or your school's equivalent to find out what policy justifies this behavior and where it is made available to the student population. They have legal requirements regarding notification and posting of policies. I wouldn't go to the police directly unless your school has an actual police department with a chief, in which case you might be able to make an appointment with the chief. If they are jerks to begin with, pushing their buttons to make them justify themselves isn't a good plan. If their behavior is out of line, there are less antagonistic channels to go through that will help you CYA a bit more. That's the president's office (or provost, or whatever your school calls the head office). Be polite and be calm, and you should be able to at least get some sort of explanation.

If they don't give you a sound answer, you might want to get legal advice about what you can do to sort this out. If your school has a law school attached, you can usually get legal aid there, and they often have a vested interest in sorting out school policies (i.e. student hearings regarding behavior).

If there is real policy in place, I suggest you do your runnning 30 feet thataway and stay out of the areas you get in trouble in. There is a difference between a public place, and a place of public accomodation. People should note that BOTH types of things can indeed be closed. Even if there is a real policy in place be sure to find out what the proper procedure to deal with an infraction is and see if your treatment is out of line. If it is, you can lodge a complaint either regarding code of conduct for faculty or staff, or bring it up with the student government and rouse some rabble. If those two things sound too cumbersome, then you are going to have to get a real lawyer and operate outside the schools internal administrative structure.

Harry Tuttle
June 30, 2005, 02:07 PM
i used to live in a college town and biked the campus at night.

i learned not to stop for the man.

June 30, 2005, 02:24 PM
I do not believe campus police randomly stop people and inform them that they may only be on campus at certain times. There's a good bit of this story that we aren't hearing.

June 30, 2005, 02:43 PM
I do not believe campus police randomly stop people and inform them that they may only be on campus at certain times. There's a good bit of this story that we aren't hearing.
+1 There's some history here that isn't being shared.

Walt Sherrill
June 30, 2005, 03:06 PM
Has there been a problem, on this campus, with assaults, etc.? That might make campus police a little edgy....

June 30, 2005, 05:36 PM
They are well within their rights to prevent access to this facility. All the more because it is a campus with dorms I assume. Anytime in late night, early morning I would except some scrutiny if I were moving around the facility. I think there is more to this than mentioned here so far.

Instead of the letter, have you first tried calling campus police supervisors and just asking about it in a normal tone?

June 30, 2005, 05:44 PM
hmmm i hate to hop on the band wagon, but i feel we aren't being told something as well. Are you just looking for moral support? Theres tons of people on THR that have helped us out with legal advice, but they can't do their magic if they don't know all the angles ;)

June 30, 2005, 05:55 PM
Jeez, I jogged every day during the winter of senior year at U of Delaware with an "I *heart* My AR-15" sweatshirt and never even had a cop give me a second glance.

You write any nasty letters to the editor demanding students be allowed to CCW on campus?


June 30, 2005, 06:05 PM
Jeez, I jogged every day during the winter of senior year at U of Delaware with an "I *heart* My AR-15" sweatshirt and never even had a cop give me a second glance.

How is this related to what the thread is about? I didn't see a 2A rights issue here or CCW...

June 30, 2005, 06:09 PM
How is this related to what the thread is about? I didn't see a 2A rights issue here or CCW...Harassment/intimidation by the college police, in my experiences, a good number of them failed to get jobs with "real" departments and occasioanlly will take it out on students. Giving them any excuse to look at you harder than everyone else (being obviously pro-gun by clothing choices or writing to the college paper) can be a bad idea in such cases.


June 30, 2005, 10:35 PM
The letter does not state your relationship to the university. Nor does it reference any printed rules and/or regulations that might either support or refute the campus police officer's allegation of a curfew. Nor did you state whether or not you were riding on streets that might be deeemd public rights-of-way.

Writing a letter if you believe you are being treated unfairly isn't a bad idea, but writing a letter that doesn't spell out tha facts is a great way to get your letter filed in the circular file.

If you enjoyed reading about "Would dispatching this letter be unwise, legally?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!