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Failure to turn over lost and found items, a major offense

Instances of students posting photos of lost and found items on Facebook groups have become increasingly common in this age of social media. Students reason that lost and found items posted online facilitate easier return of the items to their owners, as circumventing protocols stipulated by the University’s Student Discipline Formation Office is often thought to be more convenient.

Despite this line of thought, however, the SDFO reminds the community that failure to return lost and found items to the office leads to a major offense, as stipulated in the student handbook.

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SDFO’s official statement

In its official statement on the proper turnover of lost and found items released on March 3, the SDFO discouraged the Lasallian community from posting pictures, which may reveal sensitive or personal information in relation to lost and found items, in the interest of safety, security, and privacy. The statement comes after a sudden influx of photos of several students with lost and found items, most commonly school IDs and bags, were posted on social media. An extreme instance also involves a photo of a lost and found credit card being posted online.

According to SDFO Lost and Found Section (LFS) Head Evelyn Bobier, the office strongly discourages students from posting the items online because such an act may compromise the claiming process at the LFS. She explains that, since the LFS relies on the owner’s personal knowledge and familiarity of lost items, proper identification and codification of the items turned over to the office are vital in the claiming process.

Bobier describes that at the LFS, proper description of the items as well as when and where the items were lost are asked for. In contrast, when posted online, information pertaining to the items can be seen by everyone who has access to the online groups.

Once the items have been turned over to the LFS, Bobier explains, they are properly recorded and accounted for. For a maximum of 90 calendar days, the lost and found items will be under the custody of the office. After 90 days, the unclaimed lost and found items are then turned over to offices and units concerned, as per section 5.1.7 of the student handbook.

 

A major offense

Section 5.3.1.13 of the student handbook states that “unjust enrichment; stealing whether attempted, frustrated or consummated; or failure to turn over lost and found items to the SDFO Lost and Found Section” may lead to a major offense. Moreover, section 5.4.1 specifically expresses that the corrective measures and formative interventions for major offenses include probation, suspension, dismissal, non-readmission, exclusion, and expulsion in extreme cases.

Bobier clarifies that while no students have been apprehended by the SDFO as of press time, the office is already planning to invite students who have posted lost and found items online for interviews with officers from the SDFO. Bobier maintains that it is important for students to be aware of the provisions on lost and found items stipulated in the student handbook that they may not have been previously familiar with.

By Althea Gonzales

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