Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

In early October, it was reported that a WCU student was selling drugs in Brandywine Hall, an on-campus dormitory.

Allegedly, Zachary Given used the Brandywine Hall Snapchat story to advertise his business selling marijuana. I spoke to a student who knew him before his arrest, who explained the advertising that lead to him being caught.

The student asked to remain anonymous. She explained that there are specialized stories on Snapchat, which are for people within a certain location. “There’s a Brandywine Hall one, so people always try to sell drugs on it. Do you not realize Resident Assistants can see that? Or any university officials near the building?” She continued to warn that, “People could always screenshot that and report it. Anyone in or around the building can see it, and people will try to advertise drugs, alcohol and parties on there. It’s so stupid.”

She never personally saw Given passing out advertisements in the building. However, from her experience, this was not the first time someone tried to advertise drugs in the dorms.

The Snapchat story posts are not what led WCU police to Given’s dorm. When police were called to investigate a party in Brandywine Hall, they found students drinking alcohol in Given’s shared dorm room. But Given was asleep in bed in his adjoining room.

Things took a turn when officers noticed THC vape cartridges, a glass bong and a stack of paper flyers next to Given’s bed. According to the report, the flyer featured the Geico gecko and said, “Yerrrrr if you need edibles or carts hit up your neighbor Zac in 301.” The flyer also provided his contact information. Given allegedly tried to throw away the flyers while the officers were in the room.

The next day, Given consented to the officers searching the rest of his room. Using drug dogs,  officers found marijuana, marijuana-infused cookies and brownies, a BB gun and an account of a THC cartridge sale.

University spokeswoman Nancy Gainer released a statement that actions like this “…are not in keeping with the culture at WCU and go against the inherent values of our community.” Also, “As a public safety practice, the university community is often reminded, ‘If you see something, say something.’ The university applauds the individual who called in the tip, and WCU police officers who took immediate action to cease the unacceptable activity.”

According to court records, Given was charged with eight crimes. This includes felony drug possession with intent to deliver, and other related offenses. He was released a few days later after posting 10% of a $50,000 bail.

Alexis Lincoln is a third-year student majoring in English writing and minoring in journalism.

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