Updated: UPD busts townhouse, Thurston room Monday night

Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:08 p.m.

Officials have yet to provide answers about University Police Department searches of several residence halls Monday night, which led to drug and alcohol busts in two campus buildings.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said Monday that the searches were “just normal health and safety inspections,” but officers sent students into hallways while they searched rooms wearing gloves – straying from standard protocol for health and safety inspections.

Office of Health and Safety inspections “are limited to a visual assessment of each space. If items that pose a substantial threat to person or property are found, UPD and GW Housing Programs will be contacted and a thorough administrative search will then be conducted,” according to its website. The inspectors visit once during the spring and leave paper receipts behind.

Senior Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski also tweeted at about 10 p.m. that the searches were standard.

UPD busted students for drugs and alcohol at 605 22nd Street and for drugs at Thurston Hall on Monday, according to the crime log. The log shows that in both cases, individuals were reported to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, but not referred to the Metropolitan Police Department.

UPD Chief Kevin Hay has not yet returned a request for comment regarding the drugs found in the two busts, if those incidents led to further searches across campus or if Greek like members were targeted for sweeps. Greek Life director Christina Witkowicki did not return a request for comment.

Two students said they saw officers searching the Alpha Epsilon Pi townhouse on 22nd Street between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The students, who asked to remain anonymous, said officers left the building carrying four boxes with some bongs and pipes visible.

President of Alpha Epsilon Pi Nate Kropp said “nothing improper was found in AEPI controlled areas.”

“As you are probably aware, health and safety inspections of individual students’ rooms have no bearing on our Chapter so it would be inappropriate for me to comment on such a search in 605 22nd Street, just as it would be in any other University housing facility,” Kropp added in an email.

Rumors have circulated about the searches since they began Monday evening, with dozens of students warning each other on social media and several fraternity and sorority listservs.

Interfraternity Council president Casey Wood said he believed “normal health and safety checks” had occurred throughout Townhouse Row and International House, and said he did not feel that Greek members had been singled out. He said no administrators have reached out to him regarding Alpha Epsilon Pi, and said he is typically notified when incidents occur in townhouses.

But some Greek life members said they felt targeted. In some residence halls, students took down their chapters’ letters from their doors to avoid officer searches.

– Jeremy Diamond and Brianna Gurciullo contributed to this report

This post was updated at 9:08 to reflect the following correction:

Due to an editing error, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that drug law violations had been reported at Townhouse Row and that alcohol violations occurred at Thurston Hall. The violations occurred at the Alpha Epsilon Pi’s townhouse at 605 22nd Street. We regret this error.

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