Kylie Potuznik, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2012 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the question: “As a college student, what privacy rights do you expect on campus? In the classroom? In your dorm room?”
Privacy is not a word that my mother seems to have in her personal dictionary. I grew up in a home where I was extremely monitored, and no matter how hard I tried my mother somehow always knew everything. I was never able to keep a secret, surprise her for her birthday, or be on Facebook when I was “supposed to be studying.” Most of our fights started with me begging her for just a little bit of privacy, her response was always along the lines of “I’m your mother, you don’t get privacy from me.”
When I went away to college I was overjoyed by the possibility of privacy. I would say that as a college student I expected a lot of privacy on campus. I expect that people will mind their own business, won’t snoop around in others’ lives, won’t stalk me, won’t hack into my Facebook or e-mail, and won’t go through my phone as soon as I leave the room. I am an extremely private person unless I feel comfortable with someone and can trust them. Once I trust someone, anything I know they know.
I feel like I don’t really expect much privacy in the classroom. I would hope that people wouldn’t pry too deeply into my personal life unless I have already opened up the discussion, and I would hope for privacy with my grades and performance in the class.
In my dorm room, on the other hand, I would expect the most privacy. I don’t want people snooping through my things, moving or organizing things, or looking through my papers, planner or phone. My room is the only thing that I have to decorate or call my own, I wouldn’t want people coming in and disrespecting my home or me by invading my privacy.
Again, I am a very private person, but as soon as we become friends there are basically no privacy issues what is mine is yours (besides my food!).
Kylie Potuznik is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Public Relations.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.