Professor, 2 Students Arrested In Cayman Islands

On February 2, 2004

Popular communication professor Gerald M. Goldhaber and two students were arrested in a Cayman Islands condo, according to local news reports.

Goldhaber was taken into custody Jan. 8, according to the NBC affiliate in Buffalo, WGRZ-TV. He pled guilty to charges of possession of marijuana and ecstasy and consumption of marijuana.

Senior communication major Bernardo Nocolo Tagliareni and graduate student Jose Antonia Sierra also pled guilty to marijuana consumption.

The report said Goldhaber spent two nights in jail and was fined $2,500.

UB officials could not be reached for comment over the weekend.

Goldhaber's lawyer told WGRZ-TV that Goldhaber has owned his Cayman Islands condo since 1982.

Though police also found crystal meth in the condo, there are no laws against possession of it in the Cayman Islands, according to news reports.

Goldhaber, who is often considered one of Buffalo's civic leaders, owns Goldhaber Research Associates, a polling firm that has conducted research for Fortune 500 companies and presidential candidates.

In 1974, Goldhaber joined the Communication Department as an associate professor. He became its director of graduate studies in 1999.

Nearly 80 students are enrolled in Goldhaber's Political Communication class, which meets Thursday afternoons in Knox Hall.

News of the Cayman Islands arrest shocked some of Goldhaber's students, many of whom said the charges run contrary to Goldhaber's classroom persona.

"I just think it's really strange," said Amy Storck, a junior communications and media study double major. "He's supposed to be a renowned, upstanding guy. I just kind of lost my respect for him."

The most surprising element of the story, Storck said, was that Goldhaber was arrested along with two of his students.

"What is he doing with his students, doing drugs in the Cayman Islands?" Storck said.

Freshman aerospace engineering major Nathaniel Allen said that while he was surprised by the charges, he thinks Goldhaber deserves to retain his position.

"It was a good class," Allen said. "I don't think he should lose his job. He was a good teacher."


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