Mount Vernon Campus sees jump in liquor violations

Liquor law violations on the Mount Vernon Campus increased tenfold from 2009 to 2010, according to the annual report by the University Police Department.

Two liquor violations were reported to UPD in 2009, a number that jumped to 25 in 2010 – the most recent data available.

Assistant Dean of Students Tara Pereira, who oversees the disciplinary offices of the University, attributed the increase to West Hall’s ambiance – not the number of beds the new hall created.

Pereira said she thought the “atmosphere” created by the addition of a large residence hall explained the growth of violations.

She compared the traditionally smaller “Hillsides” residence halls on the Vern to Foggy Bottom’s Crawford Hall, and said that West Hall is more like Thurston Hall. She also said it is possible that fewer Mount Vernon residents are leaving the campus at night as its population grows.

In 2009, the Vern was home to 400 student beds, a number that rose to 680 in 2010.

Pereira said outreach to Mount Vernon residents will be a priority of the incoming leader of the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education – a role slated to be filled by next semester.

“For CADE, Mount Vernon has always been a target population because it’s so many freshmen,” she said. “I think it’s a population that because it has grown in a large residence atmosphere. I think it just deserves more attention.”

UPD officers and a corporal typically patrol the Mount Vernon Campus during evening and midnight shifts, Chief Kevin Hay said.

“We have the capability to increase this number when circumstances warrant, such as bringing in investigators from the Foggy Bottom campus,” he said.

The number of officers patrolling the Mount Vernon Campus did not increase in 2010 when West Hall opened, Hay said.

She said that, though drug violations appear to be leveling off, the substances students abuse are less conspicuous.

“I would love to be able to say I think there are less drugs,” she said. “You can’t smell someone’s cocaine or their Adderall. And you don’t need any paraphernalia except a cup of water to take a pill.”

Adderall is prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, but is commonly abused as a study drug to improve concentration.

It has become “very much of a commonplace occurrence” to find a few Adderall pills when searching a room during other violations, Pereira said.

Larceny, vandalism and drug violations on the Vern saw little change last year.

On Foggy Bottom, drug law violations referred for disciplinary action were also stable, with 167 in 2009 and 162 in 2010. Liquor violations on the main campus remained relatively steady, increasing slightly from 253 to 264 in the same period.

Instances of larceny jumped from 288 to 364 on Foggy Bottom Campus, while burglary fell from 103 to 71 – a change Hay said was the result of increased theft and changes to how violations are coded.

“This part of the city has seen a reduction in violent crime, but an increase in property crime over the past few years,” Hay said.

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