I am sure every student at UR has heard about the new fire code that was put into effect this year. I am willing to bet that, as a result of the new code, many of you were in violation of the new regulations and, like me, received a letter from Residential Life.

In order to ensure compliance, ResLife conducted a search of all rooms over winter break.

Am I the only one who objects to the search of rooms over winter break without presence or consent?

The idea of a search of private property without the presence of the resident student smacks of a violation of Civil Liberties, and the search itself strongly resembles an illegal process. The idea of someone going through my room while I am not there troubles me.

While a ResLife representative assured me that nothing would be opened and it will only be a “plain sight” inspection, I ask, “who would be there to ensure that is the case?”

Are they honestly expecting me to trust the Fire Marshall not to go through my private property simply because he was appointed by the university? Ha!

These complaints, of course pale against the real issue here – the ridiculous nature of the fire code itself!

The number of items prohibited is far too long and requires a substantial and unnecessary change of lifestyle on the student’s part.

The list is also very arbitrary – what, may I ask, constitutes “excessive wall coverings?”

I personally use my walls as pseudo-museum exhibits complete with live and stuffed animals. Is that too much?

Why upward facing bowl lamps? If the point of the new regulations is to prevent fire, what about the rest of the stuff sitting around?

Most rooms can be considered fire hazards in and of themselves. My room, for example, is covered in papers of various kinds.

Will the next step be penalizing those who keep a messy room, in accordance with preventing fire?

It would be a nice way of generating revenue, not to mention cleanliness, I grant you that.

This preposterous “code” is an exercise in abuse of power. ResLife has absolute control over what goes on in their housing, and there is nothing students can do about it.

What will be the next step? Banning stoves? Microwaves? Clothes? Everything in a dorm room is flammable!

What makes clothes any different than a poster on a wall?

As for posters, well, you should keep in mind that UR sponsors a poster sale at the beginning of every school year – perhaps you should keep a representative present to make sure that no one buys too many posters?

Perhaps we need poster-placement pamphlets handed out to every student. I hope you understand the Pandora’s Box you are opening here.

By the way, UR might want to bring their own housing up to scratch with the new fire code – every room here has an upward facing bowl lamp. Just thought I’d mention that.

I believe that the Fire Marshall, along with ResLife and the State of New York, have fallen into the trap of believing the stereotype regarding college students.

We should not be judged as a group simply because of what you see on television and in the media, that of drunken stupidity and lacking of common sense.

Tragedy does not give authorities the excuse to act irrationally and destroy good intentions, despite the evidence to the contrary.

I ask the Fire Marshall not to punish us all to stop a few idiots. Are there any out there who agree?

Newmark can be reached at mnewmark@campustimes.org.

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