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The ground rules

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You don't want your get-to-know-you session with campus security to come in the back of a patrol car. And really, as long as you're familiar with local policies and apply your common sense, that likely won't happen.

So in the name of keeping your arrest record clear, we asked a few questions of police Chief Jim Spice and police officer Grant Lockwood of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and (via e-mail) Colorado College director of campus safety Pat Cunningham.

Indy: During your time here, have you noticed anything that you wish incoming students would know about college?

Lockwood: I think they need to know things like keeping their own personal items [safe]. They need to take some personal responsibility for that. Keep things locked up; don't keep them out in the open. Crime is a crime of opportunity, so don't leave it on a desk and then go off to the bathroom. Pick it up, take it with you.

Spice: And our No. 1 crime on campus is crime of opportunity, i.e. theft. Just being aware of your surroundings, where you're leaving your belongings, keeping things locked when possible. Most of the time, it ends up being someone left their laptop sitting at their study station in the library and walked down an aisle to find a book only for a minute. Well, that's all it takes.

Indy: If a student has a medical marijuana license, can he or she smoke anywhere on campus?

Spice: According to medical marijuana law here in the state of Colorado, you cannot smoke it in public. So that gets rid of all the exterior grounds. Then there's the Colorado Indoor Act, which bans smoking inside. So whether it's in housing or in Columbine [Hall] or wherever, you can't smoke inside of a state-owned building. So it kind of gets rid of both.

Cunningham: Colorado College does not recognize medical marijuana ... [CC] falls under the jurisdiction of the federal Drug Free Schools and Communities Act.

Indy: What would be the repercussions for being found in possession of illegal substances?

Lockwood: If it's marijuana, there's a charge for marijuana paraphernalia, which is just a petty offense, and anything under 2 ounces is also a petty offense. They'll take it to appear in court, and then the court will either give them a fine or give them community service. And then they'll also have to talk to Student Life and Housing ... because it's a housing violation in the Student Code of conduct.

Spice: For alcohol, for the first offense, is if you're cooperative and you've not been contacted before, we will not do a criminal citation into court and will issue a verbal warning, and you have to do a required alcohol class called "Choices" that Housing offers.

Cunningham: There is no one set of responses for any given policy violation [at CC]. Our conduct process is built on learning, and our goal is to prepare our students for a lifetime of learning. Violations of federal, state, and local laws are incorporated as offenses under the Student Code of Conduct. Such violations of law occurring either on or off campus could result in criminal prosecution as well as the initiation of conduct proceedings.

Indy: Say two students are underage drinkers and one gets alcohol poisoning. If the other calls for help, will he or she get in trouble? Or is there tolerance for that sort of situation?

Lockwood: Well, there's actually a law that states that the person, as long as they stay with that person, that they're immune from prosecution. It doesn't count for a whole party of 30; it counts for the one or two people that actually called it in and stayed with that person and attended to their safety. So they will be immune. It doesn't mean that they're immune from Campus Life and Housing; it just means that they'd be immune from criminal prosecution.

Cunningham: The college reserves the right to provide a reprieve from discipline to a student or group of students who exhibit responsible, proactive behavior in an effort to ensure their own or another student's health and safety during an incident or situation that involves a violation of the college's policies relating to consumption of alcohol. Students involved in such circumstances should still expect to meet with college professionals to discuss the situation and any concerning behaviors.

Indy: Since you've been working here, what's been the craziest story or experience you've had on this campus?

Spice: There was a time there was a guy living in housing who had schizophrenia, and he pulled the fire alarm. He was watching Dragonball Z — which, I'm not real familiar with what that is, but I think it's some sort of cartoon — and thought that the dragons were coming out and going to blow their fire out and catch the place on fire. So he ran and pulled the fire alarm.

shorton@csindy.com

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