The number of documented drug-related violations that occurred at the University this academic semester has doubled compared to those recorded between February and April of 2015.
All such violations with the exception of one case have resulted in the arrest of the offender, a marked departure from the combination of administrative referrals and arrests observed in the past.
Four incidents of drug-related violations were recorded between February and April of 2015. Three of the four violations resulted in an administrative referral issued to the offender, according to the Department of Public Safety’s crime log. Only one violation resulted in an arrest.
Since Feb. 5 of this year, there have been nine documented cases of drug-related violations. According to the daily crime log, no administrative referrals were issued for these nine violations at all, except for one case, which resulted in multiple arrests.
The one case that did not result in an arrest is still under investigation, according to the crime log.
The arrests took place in various dorm buildings across campus.
Director of Public Safety Paul Ominsky deferred comment to University Media Relations Specialist MinPullan.
Pullan said that fluctuations in the number of drug-related arrests are a result of an increased number of calls to DPS.
There have been 10 reports made to the DPS and other parties in charge about drug-related violations since January 2016.
However, despite the apparent surge in drug-related arrests, Pullan said, there have been no recent changes to the University’s policies or procedures.
Current University policies in “Rights, Rules, Responsibilities” state that the “University prohibits the unlawful manufacture, dispensation, possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance of any kind in any amount on University property, or while in the conduct of University business away from the campus.”
Penalties for drug-related offenses range from “warning to permanent separation from the University depending on the seriousness of the infraction.” The penalties also depend on the “degree to which violation of the policy adversely affects the well-being of the community or the fulfillment of the University's educational mission.”
The disciplinary measures taken are partly determined at the discretion of the officer at the scene, Pullan explained.
“There still remains a combination of referrals and arrests relating to drug possession and use,” Pullan said.
Pullan did not comment on whether drug violations have become an enforcement priority for DPS.
She noted that the University is required to abide by New Jersey drug laws, adding the Department of Public Safety must follow procedures established by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Current New Jersey drug laws state that “possession of an illegal drug weighing 50 [grams] or less will have an incarceration of 6 months and a fine of $1000.” If the violation occurs within 1,000 feet from a school, depending on the amount of drug possessed by the offender, he or she faces a “penalty of an additional minimum 100 hours of community service and a fine.”
The last administrative referral for drug-related violations was issued on Nov. 23, 2015, according to the crime log. Ten drug-related violations were documented between Sept. 18 and Dec. 18 of that year, four of which resulted in arrests, three in administrative referrals.
Associate Chief Copy Editor Omkar Shende contributed reporting.