Students find it easy to get high on campus

By Katie McNulty
April 28, 2005

Jess Webb

Marijuana, cocaine and prescription pills continue to be extremely accessible for students to obtain on campus, and the distributors of these drugs have no fear of getting caught. Back in December, former news editor Lauren Reilly reported on the accessibility of drugs on campus. She discovered marijuana can be found anywhere on campus and can be placed in the palms of your hands in a matter of minutes. Students involved in the use and sale of drugs have continued business as usual even though their playing field has been exposed.

Sitting on the shuttle, I overhear two guys having a conversation. I interrupt them and ask them if they know where I can get some drugs on campus and how long it would take.

The one guy says, “It depends on what you want, if you want marijuana, I could have it to you by the time you return to Cabrini on the shuttle. Anything else might take one or two phone calls.”

One student says, “As long as you have the right phone number in your cell phone, you can get pretty much anything.”

This may seem pretty shocking to some students and faculty, but drug use on the Cabrini campus is not any more a problem than it is on other college campuses. According to The University of Michigan, “Monitoring the Future: National Survey Results on Drug Use,” 35.9 percent of college students use marijuana. Cocaine use by college students has varied over the past 10 years, from a low of 2.0 percent in 1994 to a high of 5.4 percent in 2003.

With drug sales occurring so frequently, it is quite obvious that students do not fear getting caught.

One student says, “The people that sell, did it before they got here and are pretty good about not doing anything stupid. In the fall, a student was raided after much investigation. For about two weeks, people were a little scared of getting caught, but real soon everything went back to normal.”

This is not surprising to Charles Shaffner, director of Public Safety. “Right after a drug arrest or an incident of assault occurs, students fear consequences, but the further you get from the incident the less the fear becomes,” he said.

According to the Cabrini College Drug Policy, there are many consequences a student can face if caught on campus. If a student is caught using, possessing or being under the influence of cocaine, they will face suspension or expulsion. If a student is caught using, possessing or being under the influence of marijuana, they will face disciplinary probation, plus an automatic fine of $100 up to and including suspension or expulsion from the college. The college reserves the right to sanction both the residents of the room where violations occur and or those present at the time of the violation. Possession of bongs, pipes and rolling papers is also in violation of the Cabrini Drug Policy. The sanction for this is disciplinary probation, and/or loss of campus housing and an automatic $50 fine.

Even knowing the consequences, the users and dealers of drugs continue their everyday routine.

One student says, “I smoke blunts out here everyday when I want and wherever I want.”

Public Safety and Residence Life work together to monitor drug use and sales on campus.

Residence Life and Public Safety documents cases of drug use.

“Sometimes we work together. With the raid in the fall, Public Safety developed information in cooperation with Residence Life and the Vice President of Student Development. Together there was enough information, facts and evidence to go ahead and issue a warrant,” Shaffner said.

Public Safety and Residence Life consult with each other in cases where there is suspicion of sale or use of drugs on campus. After much investigation, they come back with factual information and have strong reason to issue a warrant to go in and search a person’s room. Residence Life is responsible for coming up with the consequences and decides what will happen to a student if they are found using or selling drugs.

Is Cabrini a drug campus? Does Cabrini have a reputation for being a college associated with the sale of drugs? When talking to students, these questions are debatable. Some students who are involved in the using and selling of the drugs believe that Cabrini is a drug campus. Other students believe it is no bigger a problem at Cabrini than on any other college campus.

One student says, “Students from Eastern and Valley Forge Military Academy come over here to buy drugs. What does that tell ya?”

Another student says, “More people drink alcohol on this campus, and compared to my high school, this is nothing.”

Jessica Damato, a sophomore elementary education major, does not associate or participate in any activities where drugs and alcohol are used. However, the fact that many people on campus use drugs and alcohol so frequently does not affect her personally or the way she views the college.

“I would never do drugs and I don’t drink, but it is not my decision whether or not other people decide to do drugs or drink alcohol. It has never been an issue that has affected me. I think that there are certain people on campus that do drugs more often on campus than other people who may smoke pot once in a while. Bigger schools are worse. Because this is a smaller school, it is not as secretive or as easy to hide, as it would be on a bigger campus,” Damato said.

Damato’s boyfriend, Josh Dzielak, a 2004 graduate of Cabrini, feels that the drug use on campus has gotten worse since he graduated.

“The freshman class that came in when I was a senior was using drugs more on campus. Public Safety needs to do more, because it’s becoming a bigger problem,” Dzielak said.

Residence Life was unavailable to comment on this issue due to scheduling conflicts.

Posted to the web by Ryan Norris

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Katie McNulty

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