Faculty and Police React to Student Drugging Concerns
Amidst a host of rumors and concerns that students are being drugged at parties, both Dean of Students Casey Gill and Wittenberg Police Lieutenant Lee McCartney want to quell these rumors, and promote connectivity between Wittenberg administration and the student body.
Rumors centered on multiple incidents occurring in the past six weeks involving students being drugged via the punch bowls at parties is one of hot debates between students on campus currently. Although concerns were brought to Wittenberg police last year regarding incidents like this, only one student has come forward this semester with a concern about being drugged.
“We had one incident at the beginning of the school year where a student went to the hospital for overconsumption, and there was then the assumption that she might have had drugs in her system,” Gill said.
Nothing could be proven, however, because testing for drugs in a student’s system at the hospital is both time sensitive and over $5,000. Because of these two limitations, many local hospitals refuse to administer the test.
“The thing you run into in most hospitals is that they won’t test for date rape drugs, and some don’t even have the full ability to test,” McCartney said. “A lot of these drugs only stay in the system for a couple of hours. From the time they’re in and out of the system, many don’t even realize what has happened.”
To students who think they may have been drugged, companies such as TestCountry can provide tests for students at a much cheaper price. This testing needs to be completed within 20 days of the suspected incident for the test to be as accurate as possible.
Although there has been only one student to come forward this semester, Wittenberg P.D. dealt with a rather serious claim last year.
“Last year, we were made aware of a non-student that was putting something into a punch bowl at a party,” McCartney said. “We followed up on that and couldn’t determine who had been doing what. Actually, Springfield P.D. arrested someone on drug charges and he bragged about being on campus and putting something in drinks.”
This claim could never be proven or connected with incidents that happened during the time that concerns were brought forward. Although Wittenberg P.D. began looking into these incidents, no one came forward with anything more than a physical description, so an arrest could not be made.
To students who think may have been drugged, but are not sure, many of the symptoms of being drugged are similar to those experienced when under the influence of alcohol, including feeling fuzzy or tired.
“Maybe someone feels they had something in their system, but they’re not sure what it was,” McCartney said. “Maybe they blow it off as I drank too much or that it was something they hadn’t had before.”
When an incident of overconsumption happens and the police are called to the scene, if the police have reason to believe that further medical attention is needed, the student will be transported to the hospital. Depending on the severity of the situation, Wittenberg will call in Springfield P.D. to work on the case together.
“Watch your drinks and pay attention to whom you, or your friends, get drinks from,” Brooke Wagner, director of the Womyn’s Center, said. “If you see someone feeding drinks to another person, or actively encouraging others to drink more, that is a red flag and a situation where we need to step in, check in and take action to assure everyone is safe.”
Along these lines, McCartney shared his desire to continue connecting with the student body on this issue along with other student concerns.
“If there’s ever an individual or group that wants to sit down and talk, let me know so that I can talk with them,” McCartney said. “We’re always open to try and talk about and work through anything that might be going on.”
Students who don’t feel comfortable going straight to the police can direct concerns to members of Student Senate who sit on the Police Advisory Committee.
“If students have concerns that they want to address with police, they can share those with Student Senate and Student Senate can share them with the police,” Gill said. “But again, the students at the meetings can only bring up concerns they know.”