University Police officials said there is no evidence of widespread cocaine use on campus following the discovery of four grams of the drug in an International House room last week.
Metropolitan Police arrested a male student at an unidentified off-campus location Friday for marijuana possession, according to a UPD crime report. Upon being informed of the arrest, UPD searched the student’s room in the International House and found four grams of powdered cocaine, traces of marijuana, rolling paper and a stun gun in a drawer.
Asked about cocaine’s prevalence on campus, UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said in an e-mail that “we have not had many cases involving cocaine,” and added that UPD sees a “couple” of cases involving cocaine each year.
In November 2002, MPD seized a “large quantity” of cocaine from a male freshman living in Thurston Hall. The student no longer attends GW.
Student Judicial Services treats cocaine cases in the same manner as those involving marijuana, said Student Judicial Services Director Tara Woolfson.
“We take it by a case by case basis,” she said. “We find cocaine less than marijuana, but I don’t necessarily think it would become a different outcome because it is cocaine.”
“It does strike us as out of the ordinary, but I don’t think we are tougher because drugs are drugs,” she added.
Woolfson declined to talk about specific cases, but said students found guilty of possessing cocaine face “the same range of sanctions based on the severity of the case, such as cancellation of license agreement or expulsion.”
A person charged with simple possession of cocaine for personal use can face a maximum of 180 days in prison or a $1,000 fine, said Channing Phillips, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecutes suspected criminals in the District. Those found in possession of large quantities or intention to distribute face felony charges.
MPD Office Junis Fletcher, of MPD’s Public Information Office, said possession of four grams of cocaine is “most likely considered a felony charge, but the final decision is up to the U.S. Office of Attorney.”
Phillips, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, could not say whether possession of four grams constituted enough cocaine to be charged with intent to distribute.
“The court may think it would be more effective to fine the person than put them in jail, especially for a first time charge,” Phillips said.