University of Colorado v. Derdeyn

863 P.2d 929 (1993)

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University of Colorado v. Derdeyn

Colorado Supreme Court
863 P.2d 929 (1993)

Facts

The University of Colorado, Boulder (Colorado) (defendant) implemented a drug-testing program for its student athletes, under which athletes were required to provide urine samples for analysis. In later years of the program, the test covered alcohol, over-the-counter drugs, and performance-enhancing drugs. Student athletes were required to sign written forms consenting to the testing in order to participate and be eligible for athletic scholarships. The penalty for a positive test result included a suspension and mandatory health counseling. In later years, the guidelines were changed such that only students who came under reasonable suspicion would be required to submit a urine sample. A student came under suspicion if he failed a rapid eye examination and exhibited other behavioral characteristics associated with drug use, such as tardiness, poor health, emotional swings, and aggressiveness. In 1986 student athletes at Colorado (the Colorado student athletes) (plaintiffs) filed a class-action suit alleging a violation of the Fourth Amendment and the Colorado constitution. The class was certified to include all current and former Colorado student athletes. Colorado maintained that the program was necessary for several reasons, including the need to promote fair competition and ensure the health and well-being of student athletes. A trial court sided with the Colorado student athletes, finding that the program resulted in a substantial invasion of privacy that was not justified by Colorado’s stated goals. There was no evidence to suggest that the program was implemented in response to any drug-abuse problem at Colorado. The trial court concluded that the reasonable-suspicion criteria used by Colorado could not be deemed reasonable because the criteria did not create a reasonable suspicion of drug use. The court of appeals generally affirmed. Colorado appealed, arguing that even if its program was random and not based on reasonable suspicion, it did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Alternatively, Colorado argued that students voluntarily consented to the testing program.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lohr, J.)

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