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Sign provides warning about drugs to dorm residents
Matt Wood / Intern
In an attempt to curtail drug usage in dorm halls, several dorms have put up signs with the number “87” as a warning to residents. Since the beginning of the fall semester, there have been 87 cases of drug violations in residence halls.
According to Dean of Students Maureen McGuinness, this number has decreased from the 107 cases from fall 2011 to spring 2012.
However, about two and a half months of this academic school year still remain, leaving the possibility that the number could eclipse last year’s total.
As a response to the number of violations, signs have been posted around dorms, informing students of the 87 residents who were caught. Its purpose is also to discourage students from jeopardizing their education, Kerr Hall Residence Assistant and pre-biology sophomore Xavier Carson said.
For one student, the sticky warning didn’t come soon enough.
On Jan. 14 at 1:30 a.m., undeclared business freshman and former Kerr Hall resident Kyle Garee heard a knock on his door. Resident assistants told him that other students had filed complaints and his room was going to be searched.
He was told he had the option to either stay during the investigation or turn out his pockets and leave the room. Knowing that he had narcotics present in his dorm, he decided to exit the room.
“I just left, because I pretty much knew what was about to happen,” he said.
The process for room investigation in residence halls begins with an RA receiving a complaint from other residents.
“Once someone makes a complaint, we’ll have an RA go check it out on the floor,” Carson said. “If the RA does verify the possibility of drug violation, they will notify the hall director, who will then search the room.”
From there, if any kind of paraphernalia or controlled substance is found, it will be turned in to the police, and the student will be referred to the dean, who handles these cases, Carson said.
“Violators can be removed from housing, suspended from the university, or even expelled,” he said. “It just depends on the situation.”
These referrals go to McGuinness who then decides what disciplinary action to take.
“Any kind of paraphernalia or controlled substance violation is referred to our office in regards to conduct,” McGuinness said. “Then we go through it, investigate it, and make sure the student has the right to be heard regarding any evidence that is found.”
If deemed responsible, students would be subject to one of several possible sanctions depending on which residence hall they live in, past offenses, and the type and quantity of narcotics that are found, McGuinness said.
Garee received a one-year suspension from UNT, but will be allowed to return following his punishment.
“I’ll be able to come back the year afterwards,” he said. “But as part of the process, I would have to attend some sort of rehabilitation before I could.”
Carson said that there is little room for defense regarding illegal drugs, especially when they are brought into dorm rooms.
“The bottom line is that whenever they sign that contract to be in housing, that’s something that just isn’t allowed,” Carson said. “Even if they think they might never get caught, the consequences just aren’t worth it.”