In what appears to be the first decision of its kind, a Canadian court has ruled that universities can be considered government entities and their actions government actions, at least when it comes to their dealings with students. This is important because it means that the institutions can be held legally liable if they violate the rights of students.
This fall, Eastern Michigan University opened its dorms to students from nearby Washtenaw Community College, in order to earn some extra revenue while further encouraging students to transfer and giving them a taste of residential college life.
The institutions are a half mile apart, Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti and Washtenaw in Ann Arbor. The university is also the top transfer destination of students from the community college. But when Eastern Michigan had extra dorm space to spare, the two institutions drew even closer.
Hazing incidents have been alleged on at least three campuses across the country during the past month -- the Universities of Arkansas and Utah and Yale University -- lending credence to the assumption that hazing is endemic to college life.
To invoke the image of a typical residence hall at a public university is to conjure pictures (or memories, perhaps) of cinder block high-rises packed with students living cheek-by-jowl for maximum cost efficiency. In recent years, however, a small but growing number of public universities -- from the University of California at Berkeley to Appalachian State University -- have installed faculty members in residence halls to live among students.