On-campus arrests see decline

Stephanie Sansoucy

Student arrests on campus are on a decline with the most significant drop in cases involving drugs, according to University Police and the September 2013 Clery Crime Report Statistics.

Every year, Appalachian State University’s Chief of Police Gunther Doerr is responsible for collecting and submitting data for the Clery Crime Report, which spans a full calendar year beginning in September.

Drug- and alcohol-related infractions are the two highest categories in student arrests consistently over time, Doerr said. Alcohol violations have remained pretty steady throughout the past few years, while drug violations have seen a significant decline.

The Clery Crime Report accounts for 99 on-campus arrests of students for drug-related infractions in 2011 to 2012. The number for 2012 to 2013 dropped to 78.

These reports count any citation brought to the attention of University Police as an arrest.

Doerr said that for minor infractions, the officer has discretion over whether a state or university citation is made. All state citations are referred to student conduct.

Doerr said he estimates that approximately 95 percent of all drug-related infractions involve marijuana, with most arrests or citations being misdemeanor charges.

“I think the university has done a great job trying to promote awareness,” Doerr said. “We hope the numbers continue to decline.”

Associate Director of Student Conduct Judy Haas said everyone on campus takes part in education.

“I think we’re all a part of a team,” Haas said. “To change culture, you have to have policy, enforcement and education.”

Student Conduct works in partnership with University Police, as well as the Health Ambassadors, the Wellness Center, the Counseling Center, University Housing and other offices with a common goal of promoting awareness and taking preventative measures to help decrease drug and alcohol use, Haas said.

The majority of on-campus violations occur in residence halls, Doerr said.

Associate Director of University Housing and Residence Life Vickie Hawkins said the Health Promotion Office and University Police officers train resident assistants on how to handle any suspected case of alcohol or drugs.

“It’s important that alcohol and drugs are discussed during floor meetings, as well as one-on-one conversations,” Hawkins said.

Although Doerr said he thinks violations will continue to decline overall, he also said winter months generally spike activity.

“Now that the weather is getting colder, we may see more citations within residence halls because students won’t be outside as much,” Doerr said.

Story: LANEY RUCKSTUHL, Intern News Reporter