An enrolled undergraduate student was arrested Sunday night by the University’s own Department of Public Safety after he was allegedly found in possession of illegal drugs in a room in Holder Hall.Public Safety has rarely arrested students for drug possession or any other offense, instead issuing what the University calls a judicial referral.
Joseph Gauvreau ’17 was charged with drug possession after Public Safety received “information about possible drugs in a room,” according to University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua.
Mbugua explained that Gauvreau consented to the search of his room.
“The officers found a plastic bag containing a drug,” Mbugua said, although he noted he could not specify the type of drug allegedly found at the moment because it has not yet been tested. Mbugua did not specify the quantity of the drug allegedly found.
Gauvreau did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the latest annual crime report published by the University under the Clery Act, which governs University law enforcement record-keeping, 56 students were given internal judicial referrals in 2011 after having been allegedly found in possession of illegal drugs. That same year, four individuals were arrested by Public Safety for drug possession, although it remains unclear if any of them were students.
Mbugua explained that the decision to arrest or not to arrest a student found in possession of drugs depends on the specific situation.
“Those decisions are made on a case-by-case basis based on a number of factors, including the type or quantity of the drug,” he said.
Judicial referrals are handled by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students through the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline. These cases are not criminally investigated by Public Safety and are not considered public records. Only members of the University can be processed through this internal system.
“When persons who are not members of the University engage in serious misconduct on the campus, the University has no recourse but to press charges against them in the courts,” reads the University’s Rules, Rights and Responsibilities.
Cases adjudicated by the Committee on Discipline are disclosed in a separate annual discipline report that partially overlaps with the crime report.
According to the University’s latest discipline report, 37 cases of drug violations were handled by the Committee in the 2011-12 academic year.
“Students who were found in possession of marijuana, and or/in possession of drug paraphernalia, were placed on terms of disciplinary probation ranging from three to 12 months,” the report reads. The report did not specify the consequences for any other drug.
In the past year, Public Safety has arrested two other individuals, neither affiliated with the University, for drug possession.
Last December, a man was arrested by Public Safety for allegedly having marijuana on his lap in plain sight outside the Carl A. Fields Center.
In February, another man was allegedly found in possession of marijuana in Frist Campus Center and was also arrested by Public Safety on charges of drug possession. Mbugua said at the time that the man possessed “a small amount of marijuana.”