Accusations of misconduct and disorder

By Geri Lynn Utter
April 18, 2002

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“I came to Cabrini with the intention to grow academically and socially without fearing my safety on campus. I never expected that such an influential authority figure like David Carpenter would tell me to drive home after I had been drinking,” Jimmy Atwell, junior, said.

On Friday morning, April 6, around 1:00 a.m., Jimmy Atwell – a commuter student – alleged that David Carpenter, director of Residence Life and Student Activities, told him to drive home under the influence. Atwell lives 15 minutes away in Bryn Mawr. Other than the testimony of Jimmy Atwell, three other resident students claim to have heard Carpenter tell Atwell to drive his car home. Those students are James Beck, Katie (Kit) Hillen and Colleen Foster. Daniel Jelleyman and Philip Catagnus claimed to stop Atwell from driving home because he was drinking.

“A lot of students on campus have had to deal with the death of their friends from drinking and driving, and David Carpenter is trying to promote it by telling a student to drive under the influence. He would not know anything about the hardships these students have suffered, because he knows nothing about the students whose lives he is responsible for,” Hillen said.

Beck, Hillen, Foster and Atwell claimed to be approached by Carpenter outside of house six, after a party was broken up inside the house. Carpenter asked the students to produce identification and advised them they were being documented for a noise violation. At that time not all the students were able to produce identification because they did not have it in their possession. It was then that the students recall Carpenter calling the Radnor police. For those students that did not have identification on them, resident assistants escorted them to retrieve their identification. After discovering that Atwell lived off campus, Carpenter allegedly advised Atwell to drive home under the influence.

“I can’t believe he wrote me up for a noise violation when I wasn’t even present and telling my friend Jimmy to drive under the influence,” Daniel Jelleymen, junior, said. At that point, Jelleyman, along with junior Philip Catagnus, claims to have heard Atwell say he was told to drive home and proceeded to stop him from getting in his car. Jelleyman and Catagnus then walked Atwell back to house six where Carpenter, the other students and the Radnor police were gathered. Jelleyman then stated that Carpenter documented him for a “so-called” noise and a disorderly conduct violation after bringing Atwell back to house six.

“I think David Carpenter had no valid reason for calling the Radnor police; nothing was happening,” Catagnus said.

Carpenter stated that the police are contacted depending on a particular situation or incident. These students feel that Carpenter demonstrated no respect when he asked them to produce identification. “If Mr. Carpenter begins treating the students that make up this school with respect, in turn, maybe he will get the respect he feels he deserves,” James Beck, junior said.

Students, as well as David Carpenter, have the freedom to defend their reputations regarding such serious allegations. How-ever, Carpenter does not have the complete freedom to address or discuss a particular incident that occurred on campus. However, when Carpenter was questioned on the policy for properly handling an intoxicated campus visitor, advising an intoxicated student to drive home drunk was not his answer. “Depending on the nature of the situation, non- resident students that are intoxicated and asked to leave campus can get a ride home from someone who is not intoxicated, stay on campus under the care of another student, take a cab or in extreme cases be removed by the Radnor police and taken to the hospital,” Carpenter said.

Students need to evaluate their goals and what it means to be a part of the Cabrini College community and the responsibility that they have to the community and to themselves in following those behavioral expectations that are outlined in the student handbook,” Carpenter said.

There are many elements involved in determining the entire truth of what happened on Friday. However, many people suffered the consequences of the events that took place outside of house six that morning. Students do not have to agree with their punishments or the judgments of others that did not witness what happened first hand. The administration gives students the option to appeal any citation or allegation brought against a student. A situation like this gives students the perfect opportunity to exercise that right.

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Geri Lynn Utter

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