With five weeks until Plattsburgh State 2016 Spring Commencement, from Jan. 22 to April 6, there have been 101 referrals to the PSUC Director of Student Conduct Larry Allen. Out of those, 38 of them have been “related to possession of alcohol and/or illegal substances and/or its paraphernalia.”
PSUC Assistant Director of Residence Life Jim Sherman said that when RAs discover incidences such as these, they are required to take action. If they come across anything that violates the PSUC Student Code of Conduct or Housing Manual, the housing and residence life staff has been trained to contact PSUC University Police immediately.
PSUC University Police Chief Jerry Lottie said when his officers are invited to enter a room, they must confiscate any item prohibited from the dorm room or illegal by state or federal law in “plain view.” If a warrant is made to search the room, residents must oblige.
“There are two sets of properties: one that violates the law and one that violates the housing manual,” Lottie said.
The items that violate the law are logged in by a member of UP and placed in an evidence locker located on campus. Once the case is closed, the items are boxed, logged out and brought to the local landfill by two ranking UP officers where the items are then destroyed. The items are sprawled out on the ground, demolished by a crusher and buried in a predetermined area.
“We send out two officers, normally an investigator and assistant chief — ranking members — go out and witness the stuff being crushed by a third party, and they have to keep an inventory of the whole thing,” Lottie said.
Lottie said if a student possesses alcohol under the age of 21, any illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia containing residue or anything that violates law, those items will be confiscated and sent to the landfill. In the case of alcohol, there have been instances where it is dumped down the drain on site.
Items that are removed from the residence hall that aren’t illegal go through the same processing. The difference is, since it is prohibited only on campus and not illegal, students usually can collect the items before going home. Hoverboards, knives and items that set off the smoke detector are examples of what is prohibited from the dorm but not illegal to possess.
Sherman said many of the legal items they see taken from students are “things people use for large consumptions of alcohol,” such as funnels or beer pong tables.
“They can have it. They just can’t possess it in the dorm, and they usually don’t have anywhere else to put it,” Lottie said. “We don’t want people to leave a knife in their car, and a lot of people don’t even have a car.”
Lottie said those legal items confiscated from students may be retrieved at UP before they return home for long breaks.
Allen said once an item is confiscated, or students are written up, they are sent to him. He meets with students every day who receive referrals, and the most common cases are alcohol- and marijuana-related.
“All college campuses, whether it’s SUNY or private, these incidences occur consistently,” Allen said. “Everyone is trying to do more (to help the situation). Everyone is trying to make an effort and improve what we know.”
Email Lisa Scivolette at firstname.lastname@example.org