Tech’s housing policy unaffected by new law

Reported by: Henry Ramos
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Updated: 7/17/2013 4:21 am
It's a check 'yes' or 'no' policy for Texas Tech, but a new state law is going beyond a check mark.

Among the bills recently signed by Governor Perry, colleges now have the right to conduct a criminal background check for any student who chooses to bunk on campus. 

Tech's Managing Director for Student Housing Sean Duggan said, "this will probably be the most students living on campus since the early 1980s, so Tech is growing, moving and grooving."

About 7,200 students will live on campus this fall.

Tech student Kelcy James said, "I would want to know if I was living with someone with a criminal background."  

Duggan said the law won't affect Tech.

"This legislation will help smaller schools," he said, "and schools that maybe don't have a traditional age student population."

Duggan said if a student has dirty laundry, like a felony on record, they will not be able to live on campus.

"For about the past ten years," he said, "anyone with a convicted felony or registered sex offender was not able to live on campus, and so we continue with that policy today."

However, Tech's policy relies on students to be honest. There is no background check. 

"If at a later date that we find someone has not been honest with this," Duggan said, "they will face judicial action from the university."

James said in her opinion, the honor system might not be the best system in this case.

"I think it would be a nice idea if people were honest all the time," she said, "but people lie every day."

Duggan said in order for Tech to conduct background checks, the university would have to consider cost, privacy issues, and the number of students living on campus.

"If we had a really large non-traditional age population, and maybe less or more of a general acceptance to Texas Tech," he said, "then I think we would take it more seriously of finding or understanding folks' background."

He said Tech is constantly investing in safety measures by adding internal and external cameras, improved lighting around all residence halls, and 24-hour lock-down access.
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