Drug-related arrests investigated
Police continue to investigate two drug-related arrests made on campus in February, according to Gary Christie, assistant director of public safety. On Feb. 3, South Orange Police arrested a student in Cabrini Hall for marijuana and paraphernalia possession. Exactly two weeks later on Feb. 17, SOPD arrested an Aquinas Hall student on the same charges.
“Paraphernalia are items to use, ingest, package and distribute drugs,” said Christie, writing in an email. “Possession of items when related to the possession of controlled substances is specifically prohibited by law and usually results in additional criminal charges for the defendant.”
Another reported arrest by SOPD this semester was of an individual for assault in Aquinas Hall on Jan. 30. According to the Clery Report, these cases compare to four arrests made for drug law violations in on-campus residence halls in 2011 and four in 2012; one drug law violation arrest in 2013; and no arrests for assault in on-campus residence halls in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Public safety responds to all cases of suspected drug use and/or possession.
SOPD gets involved in cases where significant amounts of marijuana or other illegal drugs are found and make the determination of an arrest, according to Christie. While there were no emailed Pirate Alerts sent out to notify the student body of these incidents, they were reported in the crime logs of the Feb. 5 and 19 issues of The Setonian. However some students were not aware this happened. Liza Bell, a sophomore Xavier Hall resident, said that not knowing about the incidents causes her concern.
“I would hope that they would inform everyone, like release a Pirate Alert, because I think that is a better way to inform students than a sentence in the crime log (in the paper),” she said. “You get the warnings that are off campus but what about what’s happening on campus,” she said.
Bell said it would make her feel safer if she was notified about things like this soon after they happened.
She suggested, for example, having resident assistants mention it to their floors. Combined efforts by Public Safety and Student Life provide ongoing education and awareness campaigns in order to prevent instances like these from happening.
“It is made clear to students that possession, use and/or distribution of any illegal drugs is prohibited on campus,” said Christie. “Violation of this policy can lead to significant disciplinary action up to expulsion from the University and to a criminal record.”
Emily Balan can be reached at Emily.Balan@student.shu.edu.