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Drug violations cause increased dorm evictions


By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 26, 2006
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More students were evicted from the Residence Halls last semester for code of conduct violations than any other semester in at least three years.

Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life, said 55 students were kicked out of the dorms last semester and two students have been evicted between the beginning of this semester and Jan. 19.

Last year the total number of students kicked out of the dorms for the entire year was around 80 students, and usually there are between 30 and 40 students evicted per semester, Van Arsdel said.

"This year there is clearly more than there has been in a while," he said.

Violations that could result in a student's eviction from a dorm include drug violations, possession of weapons, assault charges and multiple alcohol-related charges.

All but 10 of the students who have been evicted so far have been evicted for drug violations, Van Arsdel said. Six of the students were evicted for alcohol violations, and the other four were evicted for either guest violations, assault related incidents or for weapon violations.

Van Arsdel said it is hard to tell whether the number of drug related evictions reflects more drug use in the dorms or simply more students being caught.

The vast majority of students who are evicted for drug violations were found with marijuana, Van Arsdel said.

"That could be because marijuana has a very distinct odor," he said. "It catches people's attention."

Coronado Residence Hall had the most evictions with 16 students. Coronado is also the biggest dorm on campus with 800 students.

Residence Life, along with the University of Arizona Police Department, has repeatedly warned students as to what kind of behavior leads to eviction, Van Arsdel said.

When a student is evicted, they have a chance to appeal the decision, said Dave Wietecha, coordinator for judicial affairs at Residence Life.

Typically if the incident involves drugs, assault or weapons, the student is evicted for the first offense.

For other incidents, such as those involving alcohol, Resident Life looks at the violation in question, as well as the student's conduct in the past, before making a decision, Wietecha said.

He said students know what offenses can get them kicked out because they sign a contract at the beginning of the year.

"Still there's students every year who choose to ignore the warnings or just think they won't get caught," he said.

Between Jan. 11 and Jan. 21, at least five students were cited for either having drugs or drug paraphernalia in the dorms, according to UAPD reports.

Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD spokesman, said not every violation in the dorm is reported to UAPD since resident assistants sometimes handle the incident internally.

Mejia said more students are likely being caught with drugs because dorm staff is becoming better trained to notice drug use.

Officers are also readily available in dorms because of the liaison program, which partners a UAPD officer with a residence hall.

Mejia said the increased reports could also be a result of more students coming forward and reporting when they notice drug use.

"Not everyone at the UA smokes marijuana," he said. "And students know they don't have to put up with it."

UAPD is not involved in the eviction process, but when they are called to the scene, the student is usually cited and released.

The student is usually given a fine or entered into a diversion program, Mejia said.

"They are warned about the consequences," he said. "I hope some day students start listening to us."



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