Double punishment

Sep 292003
Authors: Christopher J. Ortiz

If you want to see a model example of government cooperation, I

wouldn”t suggest the FBI or the CIA; rather, take a look at how the

city of Fort Collins and CSU share information.

Students possibly face double disciplinary actions, from the

university and from the city of Fort Collins, for crimes they may

commit, e.g. noise violations or drug possession.

Under the Student Rights and Responsibilities policy, under

Students” Responsibilities, the policy reads:

The following actions are prohibited:

’11. Violation of any federal or state law or local ordinance

including but not limited to those covering alcoholic beverages,

narcotics and illegal drugs, gambling, arson, sex offenses,

assaults, harassment, violation of civil rights, disorderly

conduct, or lewd, indecent or obscene conduct or expression.’

The section also preaches to students that as members of the

university community, students have an obligation to the community

and to the preservation of the academic process. As citizens,

students have the responsibility to know and obey the laws of the

United States, Colorado and local governments.

Hidden in this mumbo jumbo is, in my opinion, a direct violation

of students” civil rights as private citizens.

If you take the time to read the Student Rights and

Responsibilities, there is a clause titled: Students Participating

in Activities Off Campus. It reads:

‘Students participating in activities off campus are expected to

adhere to the high standards as defined by the University

Discipline Policy. As citizens of the local community, the State of

Colorado, and the United States, it is expected that the laws will

be obeyed and that each student will be a productive and good

citizen within the greater community.

‘If students are charged with serious crimes for incidents which

take place off campus, the Director of Judicial Affairs may choose

to initiate University disciplinary proceedings against them. Of

particular concern are those charges that indicate the student may

be a danger to himself/herself or others. Examples of these charges

include violence, drug selling, sexual assault, major theft,


‘In general, students who engage in behavior off campus that

could damage the reputation of Colorado State University or the

institutions relationship with the greater community may be subject

to disciplinary action.’

I understand that as students become a bigger population in Fort

Collins, there is a concern from Fort Collins residents about

disorderly conduct from students, but why are students the only


I, like many other students, live here year-round. I pay taxes

here, I spend money here and I vote here; I should be treated like

any other resident when I break the law.

Students are not the only demographic who commit crimes and

almost every student is a legal adult, so why is the city playing


I understand that the university wants to maintain a certain

reputation and relationship with the city, but that doesn”t justify

the power they have to punish a student for a crime he/she

committed as a private citizen off campus.

Students should be outraged that they can be punished twice for

crimes they commit.

Another example of how students are treated unfairly in this

state is the riot bill signed by Gov. Bill Owens in 2002 that

states students in all state-supported institutions convicted of

inciting a riot would be suspended from the institution for at

least one full year.

Students become private citizens when they step off campus

unless they are participating in university-sponsored functions.

What a student does in his or her time off university property is

of no concern of CSU.

When a student is reported to the university from the city, he

or she goes in front of the University Discipline Panel which is

comprised of faculty members and students.

And when the panel meets to discuss the crime you committed, the

administrative hearing is closed at all times. At least the city

adheres to the Sixth Amendment when it comes to convicting


Students are being treated unjustly and unfairly on the sole

argument that they decided to attend a state-funded institution.

And that is because students have next to no representation at city

council or at the state capitol. Elected city and school officials

can push these kinds of legislations over students because students

do not care enough or are not organized. Pay attention and speak

against these gross infringements of civil rights.

If the university wants to uphold a certain image, then it

should work with the city to have all unlawful actions by a student

be taken up by the university or it should simply stay out of our

personal business.




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