Campus officials investigate possible drug use on campus

Student Development is continuing an investigation into possible illegal drug use on campus after searching a floor in Horton last week.



Horton Third South was searched last week as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal drug use being conducted by Campus Safety and Student Development. KELSEY HENG / The Chimes

Kathryn Watson, Writer

Student Development is continuing to pursue an investigation of possible illegal drug use launched after last week’s Campus Safety-led search of Horton Third South.

The search:

Students close to the situation confirmed that marijuana and evidence of alcohol were confiscated in the Nov. 1 search of the men’s floor, Protégé. Residents were ushered off the floor for the duration of the search, which lasted from about 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. As of Wednesday, neither Student Development nor Campus Safety could comment on the outcomes of the search, as the investigation is ongoing.

“We wrote our report and gave that information to Student Development,” Justin Shelby, public information officer for Campus Safety said.

Campus Safety had conducted searches before this semester of individual rooms on Protégé, but never of all 24 rooms on the floor, Shelby said.

The approach

Drug activity has resulted in student dismissals this semester, confirmed Danny Paschall, dean of students. Student Development’s role in responding to students struggling with issues such as substance abuse involves both care and correction, said Matthew Hooper, associate dean of students, not referencing the Horton situation specifically.

“Grace and discipline– the balance between those two– is at the heart of how we respond,” Hooper said.

That balance appears differently depending on the situation. In cases involving substance abuse of a drug like marijuana, which is highly addictive and gateways into even more harmful substance abuse, Hooper said Student Development takes serious care. Sometimes, the situation may even necessitate dismissal from the university.

“We hold a pretty hard line because we believe that beneath that behavior are some serious issues in terms of the heart that we want students to address,” Hooper said. “And many times… a serious consequence leads students to really address the heart.”

The process:

After Student Development receives a report from Campus Safety or elsewhere of a student dealing with something like substance abuse, the process begins with a face-to-face conversation with an RA, RD or someone from Student Development. Through that conversation, the staff member strives to give the student a respectful hearing to seek out the truth, Hooper said. From there, Student Development determines what response would most help the student to grow and mature. Finally, disciplinary action is taken.

“We want students to know clearly that they are responsible for their behavior,” Hooper said.

In all cases, Student Development considers what is best for the community as a whole, in addition to individuals.

“We have the community in mind when we’re making our decisions, because people impact people,” Hooper said. “There are no isolated students here. They are connected, even if it’s to one person.”

See next issue’s Lens section for a story of four students’ redemption from marijuana addiction.

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