SJS cites fewer drug violations

Drug law violations decreased by more than 70 percent last semester, which University officials are attributing to the effectiveness of GW’s drug education programs. University Police officials also said for the first time that the University is no longer interested in purchasing a drug-sniffing dog talked about last summer.

While Student Judicial Services cited 75 students for drug violations in fall 2002, only 20 students were disciplined for possessing narcotics and drug paraphernalia last semester, according to SJS statistics.

The University increased efforts concerning its campus-wide program to inform students about the penalties of drug violations, SJS director Tara Woolfson said.

“Students are making smarter choices when deciding the type of behavior in which they would like to be involved in,” she said. “I like to believe that has led to fewer drug violations this past semester.”

SJS has taken several measures to increase student awareness of the University’s stringent drug policy, include posting more flyers with drug statistic information and SJS guidelines for punishment around campus.

If a student is found using drugs, he faces penalties ranging from fines to expulsion. Since September, no students were expelled because of drug use, Woolfson said.

SJS officials declined to comment on the case of an International House resident who was arrested by MPD for cocaine possession in November.

Of the 20 students cited last semester for drug offenses, 12 were freshmen, six were sophomores and two were juniors.

“We target (freshmen), in a way, by having then go through a mandatory crime issues session that includes information about drugs at Colonial Inauguration,” said UPD Chief Dolores Stafford.

UPD does not plan on altering its patrol plans in response to the significant decrease in violations, Stafford said. Currently, UPD officers patrol residence halls about three times every eight hours.

In June, GW considered acquiring drug-sniffing dogs that would accompany UPD officers on patrol. Officials said at the time that it was one of a “variety of strategies that (GW) has on the back burner to address the revolving situation.”

Stafford said Tuesday that UPD has backed away from purchasing a drug-sniffing canine but is still debating whether to buy a bomb-sniffing dog that would allow officers to conduct better security checks when high-profile speakers come to campus.

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