Students and staff at the downtown Phoenix dorms at ASU say there is too much risk when engaging in and smoking marijuana at the dorms.
According to Bryan Custer, downtown residential community director of student engagement, there were typically only two times a month last semester where police had come to Taylor Place on suspicion of marijuana.
“Anytime there is a suspicious odor on the floor, the Community Assistants will call the coordinator on duty to get a conformation, and then we will call ASU or Phoenix Police and they will respond,” Custer said.
According to Custer, there are around 890 residents at Taylor Place, located at First Street and Taylor Street in downtown Phoenix.
“We don’t have time to sit around and smoke weed all day with all the homework we have,” said David Bakardjiev, 20, who is a resident at Taylor Place. “I’m sure there are a few odd ones out of the bunch who smoke here and there, but for the most part, people I know do not smoke in the dorms.”
Last year as a resident at Taylor Place, Bakardjiev witnessed a resident on his floor being escorted out by police in hand cuffs, after police was called in on suspicion of marijuana where they found an undisclosed amount of pot in the resident’s room.
According to Custer, if police find marijuana, they will confiscate it and take the student into custody for possession of marijuana.
“From that point, the student will get called in for the actual judicial process through the police and court system, and there is also a follow-up with Students Rights and Responsibilities through the university,” Custer said.
Tracy Corenman, 21, who is a community assistant at Taylor Place, says protocol for Community Assistants had recently changed when suspicious of marijuana, due to police budget cuts in the area Taylor Place is located.
According to Corenman, community assistants last year were instructed to directly call police on any suspicion of weed. Now, they are instructed to call the coordinator on duty.
“They (the coordinator) will come up and make sure that it is a big deal, so that way we are not calling cops from a meth house problem to maybe catch a kid with pot,” Corenman said, adding that by the time a call is made to the proper authorities, the smell of marijuana is often dissipated and police can’t take any action.
Despite the new protocol for community assistants and the time it takes police to arrive on the scene for a possible marijuana bust, Custer says students are well educated of the possible consequences that vary case-by-case and each student receives the ASU Student Code of Conduct handbook upon moving into the dorms.
Possible consequences for students caught with marijuana in the dorms include community service through ASU’s Turn It Around Program and/or an online marijuana education program that students have to pay for.
Robert DeWitt, 19, a resident at Taylor Place says all students in the dorms have a clear understanding of the risks that come with smoking pot in the dorms, but being in downtown where there is not much for students to do, students are more inclined to light up in the dorms.
“You are kind of secluded and there is not much for students to do in Phoenix,” says DeWitt. “If you can do it in your room and it’s that convenient, why not?”
Since opening in August of 2008, Custer says there is a decline in marijuana reports in Taylor Place, and hopes this trend continues.
“It’s ultimately the students decision in what they want to do,” Custer said. “It’s never worth it.”