WTF, Columbia: Rights of the Accused
Written by Bwog Staff
CCSC unveiled WTFColumbia, an excellent idea for innovative solutions to campus problems. But as commenters know, the best way to publicize an issue is to complain anonymously on the Internet. So we’re starting a series of students’ experiences with the worst of Columbia, from financial aid to Event Management to advising. If you have any stories of your own to share, send them to email@example.com or use our anonymous form. First up, an experience with the fallout from smoking weed.
Over winter break, I smoked weed in my room, left, came back a few hours later, and fell asleep. As far as I knew, that was the sum total of the night’s events. But a month and two days later, an email popped up in my LionMail inbox, informing me I had a “conduct meeting” with my dean over my alleged “possession and use of illegal drugs.”
As it turns out, a fellow resident had detected the smell of marijuana that night and found it sufficiently offensive to call the RA, who showed up with two other RAs in tow, decided—with the resident’s help—that the smell was coming from my door, and wrote up an incident report naming me as likely offender. Leaving aside the issue of whether I was responsible (I was, and I accept that) and why someone felt the need to call the RA (it was a sucky thing to do, but breaking the law kind of forfeits my moral high ground), I’d like to call the readers’ attention to how Res Life, or the dean, or whoever handled that paperwork deep in the bowels of Lerner’s upper floors, decided to handle that situation.
When a student is accused of breaking the law, he or she probably deserves to be told about it. When a document accusing a student of breaking the law is on record with Columbia’s administration, he or she definitely deserves to be told about it. And not informing said student for over thirty days that the administration suspects them of breaking the law is, for lack of a better phrase, fucked up.
I’m not the only person who’s been through this, either; at least one more person on my floor was written up for allegedly smoking weed (she hadn’t) and wasn’t informed of it until she was called into a dean’s office. If it’s the policy of Columbia’s administration to deal with isolated incidents by hauling students in for hearings weeks after the fact with almost no prior warning, it’s something students deserve to know about.
That’s why this post is here: to let students and the administration know some of the messed up things that happen on campus, and to give students an outlet for airing their grievances. If you’ve got a story of your own to share, send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymity is guaranteed.
Bwog’s animal familiar via Shutterstock