Campus Briefs: Students still fight 3 MIPs

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 13, 2005

Three UA students charged with underage drinking at a fraternity house have pleaded not guilty and are waiting for another court date so their lawyer can address if police obtained the evidence illegally.

John Parmenter, Carl Effenson and Rhys Stover were three of six students who were cited for underage drinking Aug. 26 after an undercover task force, comprising the Pima County Sheriff’s office and the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, pulled the students out of the Kappa Sigma house, 1423 E. First St.

Pat Moran, a local attorney, is representing the three men, who all pleaded not guilty at their trials in late September and are going back to court in November.

Kappa Sigma President Jon Burckle said when the undercover task force entered the property, the officers followed three men into the premises through a locked gate without announcing who they were before taking students outside.

The students are hoping to get the evidence thrown out on the grounds that it was obtained illegally, Burckle said.

A surveillance tape at the fraternity shows the task force was only able to get in by following people who knew the code, Burckle said, adding that the tape is the most important piece of evidence because it directly contradicts much of what was in the police report.

The surveillance tape was not made available to the Arizona Daily Wildcat per the advice of Burckle’s lawyers.

But Moran, who has seen the tape and spoken to witnesses, said several issues in the case trouble him.

“Our biggest concern is whether the property was taken advantage of,” he said. “Based on what I’ve heard so far, I believe the case raises some legal issues about why they did the investigation and why they came onto the property.”

He still needs to speak with the officers involved to answer these questions, Moran said.

Once information is gathered and the three students go back to court, they will most likely still have the option of pleading guilty and being sent through a diversion program, Moran said.

Deputy County Attorney Bill Dickinson said he could not comment on any of the cases because he did not want to deprive the students of a fair trial.

The other three students who were cited have decided to pay the citation and go through diversion, Burckle said.

— Holly Wells

Student leader starts pharmacy recycling program

One student leader hopes to maintain a longstanding relationship between the UA and the City of Tucson by continuing a recycling program at various Albertson’s-Osco pharmacies across town, a project he started over the summer.

Associated Students of the University of Arizona Sen. Ryan Erickson created a pharmacy-recycling program in June involving three different Albertson’s-Osco pharmacies to help bag all the emptied plastic medicinal bottles they would otherwise throw away.

From the bagging stage, Erickson, a public management and policy junior, said he and a group of other volunteers collect bags upon bags of bottles from the pharmacies and then drop them off at designated recycling locations across campus.

The production of each of the three test sites has been monitored since the launch of the project in June.

Thus far, the three test pharmacies have yielded more than 400 pounds of recycled plastic bottles since the inception of the program, with each site averaging more than 11 pounds of bottles per week, Erickson said.

Erickson said he hopes to continue the program throughout the year to promote recycling across campus and spur the pre-pharmacy club into joining the efforts.

Erickson, a former pharmacy technician, said starting a recycling program like this in pharmacies is ideal because of all the waste that adds up on a daily basis.

He said there are “dozens and dozens” of bottles disposed of every day when they can be recycled instead.

— Zach Colick

Grant program offers advice to pregnant Katrina victims

The UA is receiving phone calls from hurricane-affected women who are worried they were exposed to toxins that were present after Hurricane Katrina, which could potentially affect the health of their unborn babies.

The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists has established a national toll-free information line to answer calls relating to fetal toxic exposure in the wake of the hurricane, through a $25,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Callers from states without a call base will speak with specialists from the UA and other university centers.

The phone service has been available since 1999 and is funded by the state Legislature, but the grant has enabled the program to expand the range of information in their phone service and on their Web site, said genetic counselor Dee Quinn, who heads the UA program.

Unborn babies of Katrina victims could potentially experience a wide range of harmful effects because of exposure to toxins, including birth defects, intellectual or behavioral problems, Quinn said.

Pregnant women exposed to toxins may also have miscarriages, Quinn said.

These toxic problems result from disaster-related issues like lead or bacteria in the water, or pesticides, which are being used in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina to control insects, Quinn said.

The hotline at the UA is available to give callers peace of mind and advice, Quinn said.

“There’s an awful lot out there that sounds really scary, especially when you’re pregnant,” Quinn said. “I think the main thing is that in most instances we will be able to provide (callers) with reassurance about the health of their baby.”

— Ariel Serafin