Controversy Curtails Police Patrols of Washington State Dorm Hallways

PULLMAN, Wash. – The question as to whether a dorm hallway constitutes a public or private space has sparked a fierce debate between Washington State University (WSU) students and the campus police department there.

The controversy was ignited by a case in which a WSU officer investigating a burglary in one of the dorm towers arrested WSU student, Kelsey Frazier, for drug possession after he smelled marijuana coming from a dorm room. Two similar cases have been dismissed as well.

Although the charges against her have been dismissed, Frazier’s attorney argues that students have “a reasonable expectation of privacy in the corridor/ hallway.” Others equate the nightly patrolling of dorm hallways to an officer peeking in the windows of a home in search of a crime.

In response, WSU’s police chief has assured those concerned that there will no longer be dorm patrols on the campus until further notice, the forthcoming fall included.

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