Students, Administration, Police Respond to Recent Drugging Reports

Chris Hankin and Mitchell Smith, News Editor and Editor in Chief

The most recent report of a Whitman student unknowingly ingesting a dissociative drug came close to two weeks ago, and since then members of the Whitman community have responded on varying ways.

The Investigation

The Walla Walla Police were notified the night of the most recent suspected drugging, April 8, and immediately added the information to their ongoing investigation into last semester’s druggings. According to Detective Steve Wilson, Whitman and the WWPD actively share information as they receive it.

“The School is very good about getting all the information they are receiving to us in a timely manner,” Detective Wilson wrote in an email. “There are some things about the investigation that we do not discuss with the School administration, we do not want to compromise the investigation so we do not release the information.”

Detective Harris plans to come to Whitman and answer questions from students and others in the community on Monday, May 1 at 7:00pm in Maxey Auditorium.

Student Responses

A group of concerned students on campus have been organizing and planning action since the most recent suspected drugging. Fight Back! (hyperlink to their statement) As they have come to be known, have held conversations in the lobby of Harper Joy Theatre and pressured the Whitman administration to be more forthcoming with the student body.

Students congregated in the third floor of Memorial to voice their demands directly to administration the Monday after the most recent suspected drugging. Due to coordinated action between Fight Back! and other associated students, Dean of Students Chuck Cleveland and Juli Dunn published and spread a series of informational brochures throughout campus.

The “Timely Warning” emails have been a focal point for criticism. Students complained that the language of these emails was too bureaucratic, and didn’t express sufficient outrage at the actions they described. In response, core members of Fight Back! met with the Communications Office on Friday, April 21 to discuss ways that Administration can improve the emails.

Greek Life Response

Most of the suspected druggings have occurred in Greek-sponsored events, which have led to a number of calls to shut down Greek parties for the rest of the year. With the support of the College’s Administration, most Greek parties will continue throughout the rest of the year, although larger parties will be alcohol-free. Part of the reasoning is that parties will happen whether they are Greek-sponsored or not, and Greek-sponsored parties entail more precautions than parties without any affiliation.

“Greek Leaders spent a lot of time reworking our social policy to better counteract the threat of druggings, as well as generally improve safety measures at our parties,” Tau Kappa Epsilon President Alden Glass wrote in an email. “I firmly believe that these regulations make Greek functions safer and more structured than other parties on campus.”