While students have a reputation for trying to stay out of trouble with the law, few have gone so far as jumping out of a building. That’s what happened last Monday when four students leapt from the second floor of the Gilman building, a university-owned apartment complex on Wells Street, in an attempt to escape drug use and underage drinking charges.
After the Department of Public Safety received a tip regarding a possible controlled substance in the building, officers knocked on the door of the reported apartment unit four times until there was an answer by the listed tenant. The tenant answered the door, explained that he and his friends were smoking a hookah and admitted that a friend brought a six pack of beer.
In the apartment, officers found marijuana and evidence of underage drinking. The tenant said he was unaware of the apartment’s no smoking policy, but officers found he had previously covered the unit’s smoke detectors with plastic bags.
However, stranger things had happened even before the door was opened.
DPS officers asked the four students in the apartment to speak with them, but before the officers entered, four underage students in the unit jumped out of the building’s second story window. The students fell onto the Ardmore Salon’s air-conditioning unit below, injuring themselves and damaging the appliance. Two of them were found soon after, and one was later caught after seeking medical attention at a hospital.
The Ardmore Salon declined to comment on the incident.
“They came down feet-first,” DPS Capt. Russell Shaw said. “In one case, I know someone had seen them, and the kid was kind of hanging on, trying to work his way probably as far as he could before he let himself go.”
While Marquette’s campus is not known for drug use, referrals have gone up significantly over the past year. In fall 2011, there were 36 drug referrals, a number that increased to 68 last semester.
“The drug of choice overwhelmingly is alcohol,” Shaw said. “I think sometimes those numbers get skewed a little bit by the number of medical incident reports that we also write – so many of those are on a weekly basis. They are written that way because people who were drinking alcohol actually needed some type of medical attention.”
Shaw said that Marquette does see its share of controlled substances, like marijuana, but that there are also problems with illegally-obtained prescription drugs.
“That can be an even more serious offense than obviously being caught with marijuana in their room,” Shaw said. “In many cases, that can be considered a felony offense, and I’m seeing that happen more and more around the country, especially with Adderall.”
Rebecca Bishay, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said she does not think Marquette has the same prevalence of drug use that other campuses have.
“I don’t think we have a very big drug culture here,” Bishay said. “People at other schools do a lot more, harder and dangerous drugs.”
Shaw seemed to agree.
“Mostly what we deal with is marijuana use,” Shaw said. “Obviously it is much harder to detect any type of other drug if it is not being smoked. Not saying there is not any of that on the campus, but we are certainly not aware of any serious problem.”