Deans Search Rooms For Cocaine and Other Contraband

Cluster Deans searched rooms in Day Hall and Andover Cottage Tuesday night suspecting the presence of contraband materials. Flagstaff Cluster Dean Paul Murphy told students in Day Hall that he was looking for cocaine before he conducted the searches, but he did not find any. Mr. Murphy did find unopened alcohol, rolling papers, and an empty cigarette box in one of the three rooms searched, while West Quad North Cluster Dean Chad Green, searching Andover Cottage, discovered drug paraphernalia, empty alcohol containers and unauthorized prescription drugs, according to students involved in the incident. As a result of these finds, two students withdrew from the Academy and one student faced disciplinary measures. The students were not notified in advance of Tuesday’s searches. Mr. Green would not offer specifics; however, he maintained that the searches were justified. “Anytime we have a room search it’s by no means a tactic taken lightly. It’s not something that I enjoy at all, and it was very difficult for everybody involved. There was a serious concern that needed to be addressed,” Mr. Green said. West Quad North D.C. Rep. Skylar Washburn ’05 was present during the search of Andover Cottage. “I think it’s unfortunate, but the deans wouldn’t have taken action unless they were confident,” she said. Select students from Day Hall were called to their house counselor’s apartment for a dorm meeting where they were told that Mr. Murphy, with Flagstaff D.C. Rep. Jill Ozzie ’05 present, would be conducting searches. The girls were escorted individually back to their rooms where they were instructed to remain. Day Hall students were initially under the impression that each room would be searched, but Mr. Murphy only searched the rooms of five girls. “I went into the dorm with the highest respect for every student who lives there. I had to do something ugly, and it was not easy to do,” said Mr. Murphy. However, some of the Day Hall students felt that the searches were conducted inappropriately. One Day Hall student whose room was searched commented, “Mr. Murphy made light of the situation in an inapproriate way, making suggestive jokes that showed how he had made up his mind of what he would find before he even came.” “It was degrading and humiliating, one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life. We were hysterical,” said another girl whose room was searched. Dean of Students and Residential Life Marlys Edwards said, “In conducting room searches, nothing is pleasant for either the students or those conducting the searches.” In West Quad North, D.C. Rep. Skylar Washburn ’05 and Mr. Green entered the room of the suspected students in Andover Cottage and told them that there was reason to believe that they possessed contraband material. Mr. Green told the students they could show what they had or he would be forced to search the room. The students offered some contraband materials, after which their room was still searched. Mr. Green and Mr. Murphy acted in compliance with Blue Book guidelines which state, “On the rare occasion when a systematic search for contraband is necessary a cluster dean will conduct it formally in the presence of the student, an elected cluster representative and the house counselor.” Rumors spread rapidly, and the event seemed to put a damper on the campus. “It’s on everyone’s face. Everyone knows and is talking about it. This weekend is Andover-Exeter and should be exciting, but there is so much tension, and I hate it. The rumors are ridiculous,” said Day Hall resident Brittany Kaiser ’05.