As students begin to fall back into a typical routine, slowly adjusting to the new guidelines of this semester’s professors and policies, Residence Life is also adjusting to a few new policies. These new additions to the student handbook will affect all students.
According to page 71 of this year’s handbook, students can officially be charged with the odor of marijuana in their apartments. Alice Agnew, director of Student Life, said this change came about because it was necessary.
“If the room smells that distinctly of the drug, you know it was recently in their possession. A student could have used or disposed of the drug immediately before opening the door.”
If the scent is strong enough to be confirmed, the office of Student Life will take the necessary actions from there.
The first offense of unlawful possession, use, or odor of marijuana or other controlled substance includes a $250 fine, 50 hours of community service, probation, a parental notification, to name a few possible punishments.
This major change may lead students to ask what other violations they could be making.
As a campus with a dry freshman area, Mercyhurst does not permit any type of drug or alcohol paraphernalia, including but not limited to hookahs, pipes, bowls, shot and wine glasses. In upperclassman housing, however, if a single roommate is of legal age, alcohol accessories are permitted.
Another common misconception about Student Life policies is that they are not as equal to our national regulations.
Because Mercyhurst is a private school, the policies that it instills are not regulated at the same level as state schools. All residence life and student conduct employees have the right to enter a dorm or apartment and to search all possessions in said apartment.
As far as alcoholic consumption goes, students have the right to refuse questioning or alcohol strip tests, but that may not be the best idea. Agnew commented that “they have the right to refuse a strip test, but we assume that the student has been drinking at that point, in which case we take the necessary actions as if they had been under the influence.”
According to the handbook, if a student denies drinking and then fails a strip test, they will also be charged for providing false information to authorities.
The student handbook is available online through the portal and should be read by every student. Clearly the policies have changed on campus and students need to be careful about their weekend actions.