Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Thursday, February 27th, Public Safety confiscated illegal substances and paraphernalia found in the Phi Psi fraternity house and two student dorm rooms after receiving a tip from a credible source that same day.
According to Director of Public Safety Mike Hill, the Dean’s Office was supportive of the investigation and encouraged Public Safety to search the rooms of the two students after the tip was given.
This was the second case concerning confiscation of illegal substances and paraphernalia this semester, and the incident points to an increase in the complaints that Public Safety receives about drug use on campus, particularly concerning marijuana smoke inside the dorms.
“There are ramifications involved with the decisions that people make,” Hill said.
According to Hill, this rise in complaints reflects a more general shift in the way people are reporting more actively and confidently.
“The College has done a lot in dealing with sexual assault – that’s part of it. Students in general are starting to hear that they should report more. That’s a good thing,” he said.
Beth Pitts, Associate Director of Investigations to Hill, added that students who are not participants in this activity might be complaining more about the odors of marijuana inside their dorms simply because it disrupts their daily lives.
According to Hill, Swarthmore Police has been made aware of the matter but hasn’t communicated to the College if they plan on pursuing the case.
In cases such as this one, Swarthmore Police’s approach is determined by the evidence found by Public Safety. According to Hill, this translates to the quantity and nature of the drug, as well as what the College decides is the right approach as an institution.
The two students involved might be seeing a possible adjudication and future meeting with drug and alcohol counselors, Hill said.
In the meantime, Hill plans to start a conversation with the community on the norms concerning drug use at the College in order to make sure that students make informed decisions.
“There is an inherent risk that comes with drug use – impaired judgement, assaults, poor academic results,” he said. Hill sees drug use as an issue affecting many aspects of student life, and last week’s drug busts reflect this attitude.