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On-campus drug, alcohol crime on the rise

By BRIAN BIGELOW | Assistant News Editor

Drug and alcohol offenses on campus are on the rise.

Statistics from the past two months indicate there have been 13 separate alcohol-or-drug related incidents on campus reported to campus police since Wednesday, Dec.1, 2010, resulting in 17 criminal violations.

During the entirety of 2009, there were only 26 total drug and alcohol violations. Statistics for 2010 are not yet available.

Due to the recent increase in enrollment and campus population, “I would expect our [number of violations] to start climbing,” said Lantz Biles APSU director of Public Safety.

Biles would not say this is out of the ordinary. The number of on-campus incidents fluctuates throughout the year and from one year to the next.

“Our numbers jump in summer, and drop in winter,” Biles said. During periods of inclement weather, the number of incidents tends to decrease, he said.

The majority of on-campus drug and alcohol related offenses originate from the residence halls and are reported by residence hall staff according to Biles.

The yearly total of drunkenness, liquor law violations, drug/narcotic violations and paraphernalia violations has fluctuated from 39 in 2007, to 60 in 2008, and 21 in 2009, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations annual Crime on Campus report.

Recent violations include four counts of unlawful drug paraphernalia, five counts of simple possession of marijuana and eight alcohol related offenses.

APSU is a dry campus. “[Alcohol use or possession on campus] is a violation of school policy and TBR (Tennessee Board of Regents) regulation,” he said.

When it comes to alcohol on campus “age is not a factor,” said APSU Dean of Students Greg Singleton Students over the age of 21 found to be in possession of alcohol are subject to the same disciplinary actions as minors, although criminal charges are unlikely unless the student is found to be in violation of other laws.

The university will automatically contact the parents of any students under the age of 21 found violating university alcohol policy.

“We don’t give a standard sanction for a violation,” Singleton said. “There are always mitigating circumstances.

“The maximum sanction is expulsion for a violation,” Singleton said.

The severity of the sanction depends on the student’s previous violations.

According to the APSU Student Code of Conduct, any violations “while on probationary status may result in the imposition of a more serious disciplinary sanction.”

Other sanctions include written reprimands, university probation, suspension, interim or summary suspension from the university or university housing, housing probation, housing suspension and forfeiture, service to the university, participation in special education programs, referral for intervention, assessment or counseling, and fines.

All disciplinary actions are subject to appeal. Factors in an appeal are limited to the proper application of procedure, a review of whether the evidence against the appellant was “substantial,” and whether the “sanction imposed [is] in keeping with the gravity of the violation,” according to the APSU Student Code of Conduct. TAS

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