3

This is a question of theoretical interest, since the likelihood that I'd actually take this action is near 0.

So, there is one particular commonly traveled outdoor covered hallway on campus that is the main north/south pathway for everyone traveling. There is a campus policy prohibiting skateboards/bicycles/etc. from being used in this hallway for safety (and, in my opinion, noise!) but particularly safety reasons.

There is no-one currently enforcing this policy. There have been accidents due to unsafe people breaking this policy causing injury. The campus police don't want to get involved since it's not a matter of law but of campus policy.

So...as an individual, does one have the right/ability to sue to try to compel the university to enforce its own safety policy? It seems like there'd be standing (As I'm at risk by it not being enforced). If not, is there any other legal redress?

Again, mostly hypothetical....(Although the more those skateboards annoy me.....)

  • A big enough school will have a campus safety office or other operational authority for these matters. You are best served by exhausting these channels first. In addition to not wasting the court's time on an issue that isn't ripe you can build a nice record of neglect by their refusal. But let me give you this warning - if you make noise the school might change the policy. Viz they might allow skateboards and bikes in these corridors. – jqning Sep 1 '15 at 4:11
  • Oh, I know this wouldn't be a worthwhile avenue to persue. I'm just wondering if something like this would pass standing (Public university, to clarify) for an individual as a student/employee at such a campus to sue – Alan Sep 1 '15 at 4:20
3

Short Answer

No.

I doubt a court would find you have standing to pre-emptively sue to enforce a policy which has not resulted in any harm to you.

Recommendation

I recommend you write an open letter to the president of the university advising them of the situation. Publish the letter in the campus newspaper.

In the letter, include language like, "I am hereby, officially putting this university on notice of a danger to student safety." And "there is already a university policy against this, but it is not being enforced." And, "I beg, I implore this university to please enforce this policy." And "If, God forbid, someone were to get injured, this letter will be proof you were made aware, even warned publicly, of imminent danger to your student population..."

The purpose of this letter is to nudge the university into enforcing the policy out of heightened awareness of liability if someone were to be injured.

  • You're also going to have problems with governmental tort liability limitations and governmental sovereign immunity (specifically regarding discretionary functions). Since it sounds like lack of standing is enough of an answer for you you won't need to get to these other problems. – jqning Sep 1 '15 at 13:24
  • 1
    It could be useful to enlist someone with employee status to your cause. OHSA requirements could exert more influence... – DJohnM Sep 1 '15 at 20:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.