Lindsey Jeu De Vine, 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?”
I will never forget the day my high school announced that a camera was found in the girl’s locker room, in which a maintenance worker set up and had been recording girls for over a month. I will also never forget the moment I realized I changed in that exact locker room every day before and after I went to softball practice. I felt violated and exposed. I even felt dirty – like I needed to shower something off of me. This was the first time I can truly remember feeling like my privacy was violated – not a feeling I ever want to experience again.
As a college student, I expect privacy rights that protect me from never feeling that way again. On campus, I don’t want to be treated like a kid, but like an adult. I’m over 18 years old and my parents should be kept out of anything I am involved with on campus. (This is coming from a daughter who tells her mom and dad everything and anything.) Parents should only be allowed to access any information about their student if the son or daughter grants them permission with the school. Also, I believe the websites that students visit on their own personal computers should be kept private and separate from the university. (The computers supplied by the school should not be included in this, since it’s the school’s property.)
Regarding privacy in the classroom, a student’s religious views, sexual orientation, and lifestyle choices should be kept private if he or she desires. Students should never feel pressured to share something with the class if it may cause embarrassment or ridicule. This is not what the classroom is meant for. Secondly, our grades and information shared with the teacher should be kept private, unless it was life threatening to that particular student and/or others.
Student’s dorm rooms are where the students deserve the most privacy. I believe no one, including RA’s and campus security should be able to look through someone else’s room, without a warrant. Dorms should be treated like a home to students. Police are not permitted to search somebody’s house without a warrant. This should remain true for dorm rooms on all school campuses. We are adults, and not kids anymore.
Lindsey Jeu De Vine 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.