SUNY-ESF : Drug bust ‘distresses’ president
A loud noise complaint for a Lancaster Street Halloween party resulted in more noise than Syracuse Police Department expected.
The common complaint turned into a serious drug bust Wednesday after police saw pipes and drugs in an open bedroom closet just before midnight at 912 Lancaster St., police told The Post-Standard. Police confiscated about seven ounces of marijuana, 10 grams of hallucinogenic and a dose of LSD.
Officer Matthew LaLonde was clearing people from the house when he walked up to an open bedroom and saw marijuana pipes, a jar of marijuana and a jar of mushrooms in an open closet.
Police said resident Marc Yancey, a sophomore State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry student, granted LaLonde consent to search the second floor bedroom.
There, police said they found 82 grams of marijuana in a plastic bag stuck between a dresser and the wall in addition to the other containers of drugs in the room.
Austin Merola, sophomore ESF student, claimed to live there and gave police consent to enter and search the rest of the house, police said.
LaLonde continued to the third floor and found a locked secret room behind a tapestry, which held 34 grams of marijuana, 56 grams of a red-brown substance that tested positive for either morphine or heroin and $225 in cash and credit cards with Merola’s name, police said.
The two students have been suspended on possession of drugs, according to an e-mail sent to the ESF community by ESF President Cornelius Murphy.
Murphy wrote the e-mail to cultivate university-wide awareness of the student suspensions and to note that tighter security precautions will be enforced to ensure that the campus remains safe and less tolerant toward erratic behavior.
The cemetery located next to the school will also have more patrol cars policing the area, the e-mail stated.
The disappointment of ESF’s leader was apparent in Murphy’s e-mail, where he stated that the situation was ‘distressing.’ The suspensions come at a time where numerous other cases similar to this one have occurred.
‘The incident occurred at an off-campus house. Although we’re aware that this is a commuter school, students that are associated with this institution are responsible for their actions,’ said an anonymous source close to the situation.
‘It’s not about tightening up the security around the campus and neighborhoods, it’s about having zero tolerance and a faster response to situations such as out-of-hand parties and drug use,’ the anonymous source said.
Along with the university’s ‘zero tolerance’ position, there will be more patrol cars and harsher punishments doled out to students who decide to ignore the demands of the president and other university officials.
‘I think that’s a good thing. I think that the rules they enforce could help out the university and the way we are looked at,’ said ESF senior Donald Harris.
Harris, though, was not sure what type of potential affect the new measures of security would have on parties and illegal activities.
‘I don’t know if it would change anything,’ Harris said. ‘I mean, there’s always other ways a person could hide what they are doing; there are other things that a student could do if they really wanted to hold something.’
Other students in the ESF community agreed with the feelings of disappointment from Murphy.
‘I think it’s totally understandable that he is disappointed,’ said Rohan Akhouri, a senior ESF student. ‘If you are the leader of an academic institution, there has to be a feeling of disappointment when an issue like this happens. It makes the university look bad and it makes the students look bad, so he’s totally justified
Though Murphy stated in the e-mail that perception of the university is not nearly as important as the safety of the students, concern of the school’s image was still at stake.
However, some ESF students believe the image of their school is still intact despite the recent episodes.
‘Some people live in the residential areas, and some people live in the dormitories of SU, Akhouri said. ‘If there was a major problem with the way the students live, we wouldn’t be living there.’
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