Student Health Services
ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, and OTHER DRUG PROGRAMS
What if I am at a party and I am not drinking and the police show up? Can I be cited? And what is the charge?
Yes, you can be cited if you are underage for an Underage citation (the statute reads possession, consumption or transportation of alcohol, and in this circumstance it may be construed as constructive possession). The answer to this may also depend on the behavior of the hosts/tenants. If they are uncooperative, the officers may take it out on the guests.
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What if I call for a friend who may need to go to the hospital? Will I get cited?
If the caller identifies him/herself, remains with the person until help arrives, and made the call for help in good faith that he/she is the first caller, it is likely that the caller will not be cited. According to a law that takes effect in Pennsylvania in September 2011, in this situation the caller will not be prosecuted for alcohol related charges related to underage use, consumption, purchase, or transportation and the caller will not be charged with WCU judicial code violations. The caller could be cited for public drunkenness if their behavior is unruly or uncooperative when rescue workers or police officers arrive. If you follow the guidelines you should be OK.
On the WCU campus, if the caller is also drunk and asked to stay at the Department of Public Safety until sober, DO IT. This is for safety reasons and will help you avoid other charges which can be used if you leave the scene while intoxicated.
Are the police or RA's allowed to search my room whenever they want?
No, the police must have “probable cause” which is more than just a reasonable suspicion. The officer can ask for permission to search, and if the tenant says no, and officer has enough probable cause, he can apply for a Search Warrant from the District Attorney, or request an Administrative Search Permit from the Office of Judicial Affairs. However, if an officer enters a room, and observes illegal items in “plain view”, that may be enough to warrant the issuance of criminal and/or judicial charges.
A Public Safety Officer may ask to enter a room for a “Welfare Check”. This would only happen if there is a reasonable belief that the occupant of the room may require medical attention.
Residence Life staff have designated times of the year that they will perform Health and Safety Inspections.
What happens if my charges are reduced to a disorderly conduct?
Disorderly Conduct is a Summary Offense as is an Underage and Public Intoxication. A Disorderly Conduct citation has a fine range between $100 - $500.00.
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Isn't a citation in the borough confidential? Why can the borough communicate with the university?
No it is not confidential. The University has had a good working relationship with the Borough Police Department for many years. The University wants to graduate responsible citizens! In the Student Code of Conduct, there is a reference to “off campus behavior”. This means that behavior which violates the Code of Conduct that does not occur on the West Chester campus can be communicated to the University. For instance, if a student visits another University, and got into trouble and the police were advised that it was a WCU student, that information may be communicated to WCU.
I am over 18. Is the university allowed to call my parents or send a letter about an alcohol related violation?
There is a provision in the Pennsylvania Underage Statute that requires the police to contact the parents/guardians of a person being cited with an Underage. The University encourages parents to partner with the University to promote good citizenship and letters home to parents (re: alcohol or drug violations) are sent with the intent to enlist this support.
Will my academic college be notified if I violate the Code of Conduct?
For most offenses, an academic college will not be notified of a student’s violation because this information is considered is protected information under the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA). However, if a student is being charged with Dishonesty and the violation may affect the student’s ability to remain in school, the student’s advisor may be notified at the outcome of the case if the student is found responsible for the violation. For many majors, students may be required to complete criminal background checks. Certain offenses may appear on the background check. Students should also know whether or not their major has a separate “honor code” (separate from the Student Code of Conduct). Violations of the Student Code of Conduct may be communicated for reasons of this nature.
Purchase, Consumption, Possession or Transportation of Liquor or Malt or Brewed Beverages by an underaged person can result in fines starting at $500
Charges of Public Drunkenness can result in fines starting at $300.
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