Inspections, Searches, and Confiscation

Colorado College respects the privacy of its students, faculty, staff, and students. However, in order to provide a safe academic, living, and working environment, the college may engage in inspections and perform searches of college property. These activities may be necessary for reasons of health, safety, or when there is reasonable belief that violation of college policy or state/federal law has occurred.

Responsible office
Human Resources , Student Life
Responsible party
Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Residence Life and Housing, and Vice President for People and Workplace Culture
Last revision
August 2013
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
August 2013
Effective date
August 2013
Last review
August 2013
Additional references
Data Access Policy


All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus, including volunteers are within the scope of this policy. If there is a variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community, including volunteers to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy. Unless specifically mentioned in a college policy, the college’s Board of Trustees are governed by their Bylaws.


Entering a student’s room/apartment

The dean of students, the director of residential life and housing, and/or their designees (RLCs or other members of the residential life staff) reserve the right to enter a student’s room or apartment when there is a report of the presence of firearms, explosive materials or devices, stolen property, or other reasons that may affect the health, safety, or welfare of individual students or the community.

The residential life staff also reserves the right to enter rooms and apartments for the purposes of cleaning, health and safety inspections, and maintenance. This means they may enter the rooms when students are not present. All staff will lock the door after entering a room to protect the student’s and the college’s property and safety. If residential life staff observe any items or behaviors that may violate college policies within student rooms or apartments, the students present and/or the students assigned to that room or apartment will be held responsible. Any items that are in violation of policies may be confiscated.

Confiscation (student property)

When college staff encounter an item that is prohibited or is being stored in a location where it is not permitted, they may confiscate the item. When possible, residents who are possessing/using alcohol in ways that are outside the college’s standards will be asked to dispose of it in front of the staff member.

Some confiscated items may be returned to students at the end of the semester (or earlier if approved by the residential life coordinator) provided that the student removes the item from campus immediately. Illegal items or items that pose severe potential harm (such as controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, hazardous chemicals, or weapons) are not items that can be released and will not be returned to students. Illegal or potentially harmful possession of alcohol will result in confiscation or disposal.

Any confiscated item not claimed by the owner by the end of the academic year in which the item was confiscated will be disposed of. When possible and appropriate, items may be donated to a local charity. If an item is confiscated from a student room when the student is not present, the student will be notified by the RLC or their designee. When items are confiscated from common areas, the RLC or designee will contact the students living near the space by email to inform them.

Students who leave items in the hallway or common area may have their items confiscated by residential life and housing staff. Arrangements to retrieve these items can be made through the RLC. Because these items could present a fire hazard, students will be fined a life-safety fine for leaving items in the hallway or common area.

Inspections and searches (employees)

Colorado College reserves the right to conduct searches and inspections of college property. Employees are expected to cooperate in the conduct of such inspections and searches, which may involve college vehicles, offices, computers, lockers, desks, filing cabinets, and files as well as any items brought on to college premises, including (but not limited to) staff vehicles, backpacks, purses, lunch bags, and briefcases.


For employees, the college has identified the following practices:

 (1)    Acknowledgment

Residence Life and Housing will ensure that students and employees living on campus acknowledge awareness of the college’s search and seizure policy and practices.

 (2)    Initiating a search

However, in instances in which its working environment is jeopardized, the college will exercise its right to conduct a search. Before doing so, however, the compelling reason for the search must documented and approved.  Approval will be in writing by two of the three following college officers: the college president, the dean of the college, and the vice-president for finance and administration. 


Report an issue - Last updated: 10/19/2022