Crime Time: University Police respond to suspicious odor in dorm

A University Police Department officer was dispatched to Jackson Shaver residence hall in reference to a suspicious odor emitting from a dorm room on Aug. 22 at 9:15 p.m.

According to deputy chief James Fitch, a resident advisor for the dorm called the police department to investigate the odor.

Upon arrival, the three suspects, two of which were seniors and one of which was a junior, found in the dorm room admitted to smoking marijuana to the police officer, and they were given a citation for the possession of drug paraphernalia, which is a class C misdemeanor. The students’ names were not released due to the fact no arrests were made and it was a minor offense.

In addition, Fitch said that students found committing crimes on campus are not only subject to fines and criminal punishment, but they also have to face the Dean of Students and Residence Life for subsequent consequences.

“To mess up on campus is a serious thing and sometimes being kicked out of your dorm and having to tell your parents is a lot worse than having to pay a fine,” Fitch said.

The 12th rule in the Student Code of Conduct prohibits the, “Illegal possession, use, sale, or distribution of any quantity, whether usable or not, of any drug, narcotic, or controlled substance.”

The Dean of Students’ Office receives reports from local police or sheriff’s department, UPD, State and Federal Agencies, as well as residence life staff and faculty and other university staff and students.

According to a Dean of Student’s office report submitted to the Houstonian, disciplinary actions against those found to be in violation of the student code of conduct vary on a case by case basis, and they are punitive or educational in nature. Possible consequences of violations include warnings, disciplinary probation, loss of privileges, community service, letters of apology, reflection papers, educational seminars, suspension for from the University or, expulsion from the University.

The student discipline process does not lead to anyone being “convicted of a crime. “Instead, it is in place to determine if a student is found responsible violating the Code of Student Conduct and other campus regulations. It can only result in a student discipline record that is maintained for a period of time.

Dean John Yarabeck is the Dean of Students, and Dean Jeanine Bias is the Assistant Dean of Students.

UPD frequently deals with cases of theft and burglary of a motor vehicles.

To combat this, Fitch has started a program in which officers patrol parking lots on campus and check to see if valuables are left visible inside students’ vehicles.

“The officer will then take down their information (i.e. their license plate number), and I will send out an e-mail to that student warning them not do to leave their stuff in their car,” Fitch said.

He hopes this courtesy program will increase students’ awareness and dissuade thievery.

UPD is also adding two new officer positions.

“Right now, we currently have 18 officers, but we were just approved for two more positions,” Fitch said.

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