Bluefield College

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Drug Policies at BC

DT talks about drug policies and procedures in place at BC

Casey Palmer

February 23, 2012

Bluefield College has always had drug policies in place, but as with any other college, they haven’t always been followed.


“Obviously when students attend college it’s expected that they’ll experiment in several different areas,” said David Taylor, vice president for student development and executive director for faith formation and church relations. “Unfortunately drugs and alcohol is one of those areas that they often experiment in more frequently.”


Taylor said drug and alcohol use is not a huge problem at BC, but it does happen.

Drug Policies and Procedures can be found in the Student Handbook


“I would say it’s an activity that’s across the board,” said Taylor. “Young first time, full-time freshmen, all the way to someone who is a senior and looking to graduate.”


Taylor said there are policies outlined in the student handbook that monitor residential students as well as those who live off campus. Drug use that is reported or any suspicion of paraphernalia is acted on and a “three strike” policy is put into effect. There are immediate consequences for a first and second offense, and suspension for a third offense.


These policies apply to everyone, but Taylor said athletes have a heightened policy because they’re required to submit to drug tests.


“I think it’s three times a semester, random sampling, and if the test comes back positive, then we put measures in place to make sure there isn’t abuse of an illegal substance,” said Taylor, who added that he finds it hard to believe drugs and alcohol could be a problem within the athletic community because of the rigorous conditioning and practice routines.


“I think that if there were a problem in that area it would be discovered just through performance,” said Taylor.


The college works closely with the Bluefield, W.Va., and Bluefield, Va., police departments; if a student is arrested off campus the police inform BC security or the office of student development.


“This allows us to not only follow up with disciplinary action but first and foremost to take care of and make sure they’re OK,” said Taylor.


If a student is in violation of an illegal substance for the first time, the college would require them to have a 30-day curfew, a 30-day loss of visitation, 10 hours of community service and mandatory counseling and drug testing. The student would be mentored and paired with someone who would put measures in place to guarantee the student’s success and correction of the behavior.


“I think these policies are fine considering we have to uphold a certain standard as a Christian institution,” said Jordan Owens, a resident advisor in Alumni Hall and a junior from Kingsport, Tenn. “I personally don't think many residents follow these rules, but there isn't much we can do until a student makes it blatantly obvious or we catch them.”


Recently, the college was contacted by the Bluefield, Va. police department and asked to conduct a K-9 training exercise in the dorms. College officials agreed and selected Rish Hall to be the dorm that the training would be performed in.


“It’s not something we do often,” said Taylor. “That’s probably the first time that kind of training has happened in the past five or six years.”


Taylor said a drug dog can detect marijuana residue up to a period of 30 days. The dog that visited BC, who is known as “Kilo,” detected a scent of marijuana on every exit door on all three floors in Rish.


However, Taylor said the police didn’t find anyone in possession of the substance.


“BC accepts students from all walks of life who live many different lifestyles,” said Caleb Bittler, resident hall director of Alumni Hall and a junior from Fincastle, Va. “As with any other school, there is going to be a certain number of students who use drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, BC is no different.”


Taylor said the best way to reduce experimentation with drugs and alcohol among the 18- to 24-year-old age group is through education.


“I’m not alarmed at all,” said Taylor. “I think the usage on this campus is relatively small.”


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