The Record highlights the consequences of a disturbing recent change in the College’s treatment of marijuana usage (emphases added):

Five Williams students will face court charges for marijuana possession on Thursday. These summons are in part due to a change in the College’s protocol regarding incidents of marijuana possession, which took effect last July.

Previously, the College dealt with matters internally, but its new “see it, smell it, report it” policy calls for Campus Safety and Security to report all marijuana incidents directly to the Williamstown Police Department (WPD). The WPD has recently seen an increase in charges against individual students. “From March 1 to date, we have criminally charged eight people with marijuana possession. All of these appear to have been students,” said Kyle Johnson, WPD Chief.

“Eight charges in a six week period appears to be more than usual,” he added, noting that the weekend before spring break, the charges were “dispersed around campus.”

Jean Thorndike, director of Security suggested that the temporary increase in incidents could be due to room inspections that took place during spring break.

Describing the consequences of being charged for marijuana possession, Johnson said, “A person arrested is brought to the police station for booking procedures. They then go to Northern Berkshire District Court for an arraignment in front of the judge. There are numerous options at this point: plea, trial, etc.”

“We’ll see how it goes,” said a student who has recently been charged with marijuana possession. “In court, I’ve heard that we’ll probably get a fine or probation,” the student, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “I don’t think it will go on our record.”

I suppose that, Williamstown being such a quiet little burg, the WPD and Security must find some way to spend those idle hours, or they might turn to drink. One can only hope that their unwonted zeal, bless their little hearts, does not leave a permanent black mark on the records of dozens of Ephs. Although it might stimulate the local lawyer economy, this sounds like a fantastically stupid use of tax and tuition dollars.

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