The actual UNH Room and Board Agreement reads: (I bolded those that directly apply to this case).
Alcohol. All students are subject to the University Rights and Rules governing the use of alcohol, as well as federal, state, and local laws of alcohol use to include the Open Container Ordinance of Durham, NH. Entryways, hallways, and lounges are common areas, and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in these areas (including by those of legal drinking age). Group sources such as kegs of beer, beer balls, and alcoholic punches are prohibited in University housing.
a) Only students of legal drinking age (21 years or older) may consume alcohol in their own room or in the room of another student who is at least 21 years old.
b) A legal age drinker may have just one open alcohol container at a time for personal consumption.
c) Alcohol is not permitted in any of the common or public areas of the residence halls or apartment buildings.
d) Possession or consumption of alcohol is permitted only in rooms where at least one of the assigned residents is at least 21 years old.
e) All common sources of alcohol, including but not limited to kegs, punch bowls, beer balls, or excessive amounts of alcohol in bottles or cases, are strictly prohibited.
f) Providing underage people with alcohol is illegal and strictly prohibited.
g) Any person who is under the influence of alcohol and whose behavior leads to personal injury or illness may be considered in violation of the alcohol policy.
h) Having a gathering in a residence room, suite or apartment that involves illegal consumption of alcohol will likely lead to eviction upon a first offense. A gathering is defined as more people in the room/suite/apartment than just the people who are assigned to that room/suite/apartment.
Evictions. A housing eviction requires a resident to move out of the residence hall/apartment system within 48 hours after the University judicial process is completed. Residents evicted or suspended for reasons of conduct are financially responsible for that semesters rent. It is important to understand that eviction can happen for a first offense. Incidents that may result in eviction from the residence hall/apartment system include, but are not limited to:
- Hosting a gathering in student rooms, student suites or student apartments that involves illegal alcohol possession or use (Others offenses omitted by me.)
Here is where the situation gets a little fuzzy.
Silverman claims she was told by a UNH provided legal adviser that her best chance would be to come clean about everything. So, she admitted those violations and was still evicted. Now her family has hired a lawyer and claimed that UNH did not let her honor the 5th Amendment (the right to remain silent).
Here are a few questions that must be addressed: Do students actually have the right to remain silent? (As far as I know the 5th Amendment applies to "criminal" cases. This is not a criminal case.) Does that matter? Did UNH actually force her to speak, or did they just advise her to?
To be clear the Fifth Amendment reads: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
"Nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." This is not a criminal case, so the 5th Amendment may not technically apply. The second question: Did UNH actually force her to speak? I don't think so and it doesn't say that anywhere in the article. It simply says that UNH's advisor was "silent about [Silverman]'s Fifth Amendment right to stay silent."
Here is what I think: Whether or not she spoke, she was going to be evicted. UNH is more lenient when you admit to your actions (she was caught red handed!) and they still decided to evict her. I live in the Gables and at our first floor meeting our CA straight up said that UNH is much more likely to evict you after one offense, and hosting a party with illegal alcohol use (under 21) is almost a guaranteed eviction now. Now, you can argue whether or not UNH's policies are fair, but in all honesty, rules are rules. If you break them prepare to face the consequences.
Stay classy, not UMassy.
Even if the 5th Amendment does apply, maybe she should have known about that right on her own. (Not that it would have mattered, she still was going to be evicted. She didn't incriminate herself by speaking, she incriminated herself by hosting a party with a bunch of underaged college students!) This goes to show how many college students have no idea about their basic rights. I mean if Christine O'Donnell doesn't know the interpretations of the First Amendment, what do college students know? Then again, very few of you probably know who Christine O'Donnell is and that terrifies me. Think about this for a second: Can you name the five basic freedoms of the First Amendment? Most Americans can't. Maybe it's time you brush up on that before it's too late.