Housing introduces ambiguious, unjust policy

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Tulane’s Department of Housing and Residence Life released a new policy stating that administration only needs to be 51 percent sure a student has violated community guidelines such as tampering with the fire alarm to kick students out of their on-campus residence permanently.

This policy uses an arbitrary percentage to create an unjust and subjective punishment process as a standard. It leaves an unacceptable amount of room for uncertainty, especially when a student’s on-campus housing privileges are at stake. 

Punishments should only be administered when there is no question of guilt. In the court of law, even if one is arrested and accused of a crime, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. When the stake is something as vital as a student’s home, even if temporary, housing should follow the same logic.

Director of Housing Kim Montague said the 51 percent figure was selected based on the precedent of other Tulane policies and that Housing looks at the probability that an individual is responsible on a case-by-case basis.

Nonetheless, the policy creates concerns about the fairness of justice being administered. There are many situations when guilt is not clear-cut, like in instances when the violation takes place in a room with two residents present. When there is reasonable doubt about a person’s guilt, quantifying a level of suspicion is extremely subjective. The subjectivity of the process undermines its fairness. 

This policy is neither fair nor reasonable. The administration should reform it to ensure that all students are entitled to fair due process.