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Drug Bust Raises Questions About Searches Of Students' Rooms And Sanctions

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Two students have been removed from housing following a drug bust, raising questions about the college's policy on entering locked rooms and the process for giving sanctions.

The students, who have identified themselves as Gabe Dinsmoor '10 and Jenn Hennion '11, were caught with marijuana.

"We had marijuana out in the open in multiple bags." Dinsmoor said in a recent interview. "We were weighing out the marijuana to distribute it. ... We were selling it."

Goucher staff entered Dinsmoor's room less than 12 hours after receiving a tip on October 22, The Quindecim has learned. Gail Edmonds, dean of students, said she authorized the room search. When the Goucher staffers arrived at Dinsmoor's room, located in "The T" residence hall, the door was locked. They knocked, and seconds later unlocked the door and entered the room. They found Dinsmoor and Hennion in the middle of weighing marijuana for distribution.

"Had they come 10 minutes later or earlier we would have not been in the room," Hennion said. "It was really perfect timing for them to come into the room."

Hennion, who said she is attending Goucher on at least one substance-free scholarship, was instructed to get her Goucher ID from her room. When she arrived at her room, another staff member, Candace Doane was already searching her room.

She said that when she arrived, "Candace was searching my room, ripping things apart and looking through everything -- both sides of the room."

Community Living's Jamal Harris and Public Safety director Alexis Marchsiello were the first to enter Dinsmoor's room. When they saw the drugs, they called for two Public Safety officers. When they arrived, they called the Baltimore County Police Department.

Within 30 minutes, Baltimore County was there. When they arrived, they began to question Hennion. At about the same time, they arrested Dinsmoor. They handcuffed him and led him to a police car, which was waiting outside.

Dinsmoor was held overnight in the Towson precinct, where he said he was treated relatively well.

Baltimore County Police Department spokesman Corporal Mike Hill declined to answer any questions or provide any information to The Q.

Some students are seeking answers about the circumstances under which the rooms were unlocked and searched.

Both Edmonds and Scott Eckhardt, director of community living, said that Goucher has the right to enter rooms whenever it is deemed necessary.

Though the Code of Conduct does give Goucher the right to search rooms at any time, President Sanford J. Ungar and Marchesiello were reported to have said that there would be a new policy for room searches this year.

SGA president Zeke Berzoff-Cohen '08 reported that Ungar had told him that there would only be searches with a warrant or prior notification to the student. At the time, Marchesiello confirmed that policy to The Q. A few days ago, Ungar told The Q that he never said that and repeated what he said to Berzoff-Cohen. The SGA president said that he intended to say that Ungar promised fewer room searches this year, not a total elimination.

Edmonds said that she obtained approval of the search from Ungar, which the President confirmed to The Q.

In the days following the drug bust, Dinsmoor and Hennion were told that they would not be allowed to live on campus past Friday at 5 p.m. They were told to find another place to live. They are now living in a motel close to campus.

"It was definitely not worth it, but then again I never thought this would happen," Dinsmoor said.

The Code of Conduct does allow for students to be sanctioned without a judicial board hearing. The judicial board does not usually review drug cases involving distribution, according to its chair, Merii Schmidt '08.

"Those cases are usually handled administratively," Schmidt said. "Judicial board usually only handles relatively minor offenses, like use and possession."

About 200 students signed a petition on Thursday afternoon, which said that the sanctions against Dinsmoor and Hennion were unjust.

At least one Facebook group was also started in support of the two students. The group, which as of Wednesday night had close to 100 members, called for a hearing before sanctions were finalized.

"I think that this was possibly the biggest mistake of my life," Hennion said. "The fact that my future is in serious jeopardy and that I've worked so hard to get to this point is just -- I'm in pure disbelief and shock."

The Code of Conduct says that students are subject to a judicial board hearing or, among other things, emergency administrative action. In the case of emergency action, ".[T]he college president, the provost, or the dean of students may require an accused student to leave the residence halls or the college prior to a proceeding and disposition under this Code."

The three conditions under which this emergency action can be taken are: "to ensure the safety or well-being of members of the college community or preservation of college property;" "to ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety or well-being;" or "if the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations or reputation of the college."

Eckhardt said that he believes the last condition would apply in a case such as this.

But, the Code of Conduct also mandates that the student be given a hearing, decision and right to appeal even in the case of emergency action.

"If you believe there is a risk to the community, then it may be necessary [to remove the student from housing]," Eckhardt said, speaking generally about cases such as these.

Eckhardt said that this is the first time, in his two years here, that an administrative search has resulted in students being removed from housing for distribution. Administrative searches are more commonly used for psychological emergencies, he said.

In an e-mail statement, Marchesiello said, "I am uncomfortable discussing the case since it is actively under investigation."

She continued, "I realize the students have chosen to put themselves out in a very public way, but it would not be professional for this office to respond since we are dealing with a variety of privacy issues."

Under the FERPA law, the college is prohibited from discussing identifiable information. Both students, who are each able to legally give consent for the release of their names to the press, agreed to be identified in this article.

In total, about an ounce of marijuana was taken from Dinsmoor's room, according to the sophomore. Dinsmoor also said that his bong was taken, which is a water pipe used to smoke marijuana.

Dinsmoor said that he and Hennion were making a "modest profit, enough to keep us interested." He said that he believes a majority of the students on campus have smoked marijuana at least once. He said that every imaginable drug can be found here, with marijuana being the most common. Both students said that they only ever sold marijuana, but have no plans to ever sell again.

"I feel like we were such small fish in the underground drug circle of Goucher," Hennion said. "At the time I really thought that we were trying to do a service to people because no matter what, whether Gabe and I are here or not people are going to smoke pot - it's a college campus."

[sidebar]

FROM THE "CODE OF CONDUCT"

"The possession, sale, distribution, and use of controlled or illegal drugs/substances as defined by federal, state, and local statutes are strictly prohibited at any time on college property." ( page 76 )

"Drug violations. Use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana, narcotics, or other controlled substances, or of equipment, product( s ), or material that is used, intended for use, or designed for use related to controlled substances." ( page 125 )

"Emergency administrative action. Under certain circumstances, the college president, the provost, or the dean of students may require an accused student to leave the residence halls or the college prior to a proceeding and disposition under this Code, or, if no proceeding is pending or anticipated, during such period as is deemed appropriate.

a. Conditions. Emergency administrative action may be imposed only: i. to ensure the safety or well-being of members of the college community or preservation of college property; ii. to ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety or well-being; or iii. if the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations or reputation of the college.

b. Access. As a result of emergency administrative action, the student shall be denied access to the residence halls and/or to campus ( including classes ) and/or to all other college activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the president, provost, or dean of students deems appropriate.

c. Effect. Emergency administrative action does not replace the procedures outlined in this Code, which shall proceed, if required, up to and through a hearing, decision, and appeal."

Source: Quindecim (MD Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Quindecim
Contact: max@temkin.com
Website: Quindecim
 

zolar

New Member
if they kept as journal it could be an internship in small business
and viral sales and marketing.....

but really if they are in the united states and some beer soused frat boys or girls do something to damage the colleges reputation....
are they drunks being treated the same if not then what happened to due process and equal protection......
 
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