As a dry campus, students as well may get dried up by hefty fines for underage. Students want to know what a judicial actually means and how it can affect them as a student, finically, legally, and career wise.
An average of 8- 10 percent of students, which is 1,200 people, have received a judicial of a various offense.
Residential assistants (RAs), public safety, and borough police could write up or cite students for offenses which are then reviewed by the office of Judicial Affairs and Student Assistance. It is possible that students will be given a warning for their behavior (depending on the violation) or it will result in a judicial.
Students will have a meeting, sometimes with a Residential Director (RD), about what happened on the night of the violation, how the situation could have been prevented, how to avoid the situation, etc. The goal, according to Lynn Klingensmith, the director of Judicial Affairs, is to give students the most beneficial sanction. For example, to help students get their “studies on track” by placing them in an organized club.
For an alcohol-related judicial, students will have to complete an online alcohol tools questionnaire. The purpose is to “see how choices keep people from being successful.” Students may be asked to join a club on campus or do community service, etc. Students will be checked upon to make sure that they are doing what they were asked to do as required for their judicial. Students that fail to complete tasks will first have a hold on their WCU account. Failure to comply can result in further sanctions.
Sanctions that becom serious can lead to disciplinary actions including probation, suspension, and expulsion. If a student is a threat to the health, safety and welfare of others or properity, the student can lose university- owned housing.
Students can be asked to complete tasks. According to the Student Code of Conduct, such tasks include writing educational papers, educational class or seminar attendance at educational programs, or community meetings, mediation sessions, counseling, substance abuse education, alcohol education program/ experience, or community service.
Students can complete e-chug or e-toke to find out about their own personal uses of substances.
Students can be cited for any violation including alcohol, noise violations, and possession of an illegal substance and any violation against the student code of conduct. Alcohol related offenses include public drunkenness, indecency, DUI, consuming (as a minor) or providing alcohol to minors, among others. There are four times as many judicials issued this year than last year, on a year-to-date base.
Fines vary depending on which charge the person is being cited in violation of. The police average about $3,000 in fines a year. During this school year, fines have gone down, although the numbers of citations written have increased.
Judicals are protected by Family Education Actions Rights. Students would have to sign off for others to be able to access their records. Students who are applying to graduate school, to work oversea, international, etc., will be effected as employers can see the applicants’ judicial records.
In the time period of just over a month, a total of 309 students were cited for alcohol related violations. In addition, 46 students were not cited that violated the Alcohol policies. These offenses were committed between Aug. 22 and Sept. 30.
Off-campus violations are handled by the West Chester Police Department. In the month time lot, these are the following results: 38 underage citations, 12 public intoxication, 10 open container, 11 noise (borough ordinance), five public indecency, four disorderly conduct, and one false ID. In town, 62 students received more than one citation.
On-campus violations are handled by WCU Public Safety, they issued citations to 228 students. The results: 142 underage citations, five public intoxication, 11 open container, two DUI, 33 disorderly conduct, four theft, two false parking decals, 19 drug/ drug paraphernalia, and four furnishing alcohol to minors.
“People are drinking so excessively that they’re putting themselves and others at risk. They’re the people making noise, attracting neighbors and police,” Lynn Klingensmith said.
Only in some cases of an underage citation do not follow with a judicial. The point of the judicial is to have students compete programs or join an activity. The (peer mentor) will discuss with the student why they believe that they were caught by the police, how they could have prevented the situation from happening, and find reasons why the student drinks.
Legally, underage can proceed with fines up to $300 and loss of license, with each additional offense, the fines and other consequences will increase. Judicials as a result of an alcohol violation may carry fines of $50 on the first offense, $100 the second offense and $200 on the third offense. Other costs include court fines, and legal representation, unless representing oneself.
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a second-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.