UB's consequences and process for students committing drug and alcohol violations on campus
A UB freshman was walking to Goodyear Dining Hall on the morning of Oct. 10 when a University Police officer rolled down his patrol car window and asked the student to approach the vehicle.
The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the officer then questioned and searched him and found less than a gram of marijuana. The student then got into the vehicle to go UPD headquarters on North Campus.
The freshman is one of 1,035 students with alleged violations this semester as of Oct. 31. Judicial Affairs and Campus Living work in conjunction to carry out consequences for students that break UB’s Student Code of Conduct and students are often either required to take the education class UB-SAFER or do community service hours.
“If someone was detained for marijuana possession it is common for us to refer them to Judicial Affairs as opposed to arresting them,” said Chief of Police Gerald Schoenle.
From the beginning of this semester to Oct. 31, 101 students have been ruled responsible for alcohol violations in on-campus halls and apartments and 16 have been responsible for drug violations in resident halls and apartments. And the large majority of those students are freshman, as 69 of 101 alcohol violators and seven of the 16 drug violators are first-year students.
Campus Living, which manages all of UB’s on-campus dorms and apartments, handles the majority of on-campus violations. They arrange a meeting with any student who receives a violation from a hall director, resident adviser (RA) or UPD for alcohol or drug usage, possession or relation like having paraphernalia or being in the same room as those drinking or smoking.
Most on-campus violators will meet with David Wright, judicial coordinator for Campus Living. He has worked with Campus Living for more than 10 years and said he has “seen almost everything.” Almost every student that receives a violation will have a sit down meeting with him.
As a student resource, Campus Living expects student to cooperate with any Campus Living employee like an RA or hall director.
Often times students’ penalties will be less harsh if they cooperate.
“Campus Living is looking for residents to be cooperative with our staff as well as the University Police during any situation involving marijuana or underage alcohol use,” Wright said.
The student who was found with marijuana said he was treated fairly throughout the entire process and that the officer took him to the UPD headquarters to place him in a booking room.
Shortly after, he went to Judicial Affairs and signed a release to take 20 hours of community service, which would in turn mean the incident would stay off of his record. The student said he did not have much of a choice in the matter and reluctantly signed the document.
He said he doesn’t question the search, but questions the form he was asked to sign.
Liz Lidano, director of Judicial Affairs and Student Advocacy, deals with on-campus, as well as off-campus violations. Judicial Affairs divides cases by how serious they are. Lidano receives the most serious cases, which usually involve sexual violence or distribution of drugs.
The Student-Wide Judiciary and other Judicial Affairs services handle all other cases.
Most students that go through Judicial Affairs will receive community service hours if they are not directed to Campus Living. Determining which department they go to is case-by-case, according to Lidano.
Campus Living’s usual punishment is a scheduled UB-SAFER class. The class is divided into three tiers and is organized by Wellness Education Services. Of the 1,035 students who received an alleged violation on or off campus by Campus Living, Judicial Affairs or UPD, 102 have been directed to UB-SAFER.
Tier 1 is designated for first-time offenders. The class is about two hours and its goal is to educate students on alcohol and drug abuse and ways to be. Based on the students’ responses to an 18-question survey and a meeting with Wright, these students are described as low-risk, according to Wellness Education Services.
Tier 2 is designated for repeat offenders – those students that have already participated in the UB-SAFER Tier 1 class. These students are described as “medium risk.” The class is a little longer and gets on a more personal level with the student compared to Tier 1.
Tier 3 is for those students that Campus Living deems high risk. These students may be dealing with alcohol or drug abuse on a serious level or are “frequent flyers” at Campus Living. These students participate in a one-on-one session with Marla McBride, assistant director of Wellness Education Services.
Another UB male freshman male who wishes to remain anonymous participated in Tier 1 of the UB-SAFER class on Nov. 3. The student received a violation from his RA in Spaulding Quad in the Ellicott Complex for paraphernalia.
“The class was strictly about [marijuana] and alcohol,” the student said. “They outlined how to drink safely and threw a lot of statistics at us.”
Many of the statistics are derived from the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) from the spring of 2013. Approximately 5,281 students from UB completed the survey.
Sixty-eight percent of students claim they don’t smoke marijuana, according to the NCHA. The student who took the class said UB should have more up to date information regarding the student body because each incoming freshman class is different in terms of how young they were exposed to drugs and alcohol.
Evan Schneider is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org