Noah Johnson, Staff Writer
An officer on the scene, at his or her own discretion, may issue a ticket for a criminal violation or may turn over the incident for administrative adjudication, he said. Kavenius chose the latter in this instance.
Monica Ybarra-Bennett, first-year law, said the police have a lot of discretion about how to handle situations.
“And I know for a fact that I’ve had my fair share of warnings from the police,” she said. “I haven’t always been punished to the full extent of the law.”
Students who are in possession of drugs or alcohol on campus are in violation of the student code of conduct and, concerning the former, guilty of a felony pursuant to Oklahoma state law, said Liz Donnelly, dean of students. Officials use the code to regulate student conduct on campus and protect the academic climate and the student body as a whole.
Students in violation of the code of conduct typically are assigned a community service project, she said. It’s an opportunity for personal growth.
Donnelly said she wants to reassure students that they can rectify their behavior and return to good standing with the university.
“I’m not interested in ruining lives,” Donnelly said, “If I started filing criminal charges on everyone, people would run from my office.
“Instead, I’d rather students have an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.”
It’s important for the students to have an opportunity to reconcile with the university’s administrators and give back to the community that they have taken away from, she said.
“Most students agree to a negotiated settlement rather than an administrative hearing,” Donnelly said. “My goal, when students come to my office, is to put them at ease and work with them on what’s best for them.”
Donnelly said if students are unhappy with a particular university policy or with state policies in general, they should go through Student Government Association or converse with state legislature to challenge those policies.