Suspicious Smells, Students charged for possession face consequences

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For many, college is a fresh start and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Unfortunately, those experiences are not always good, or legal.

What happens when students are caught with illegal substances on campus? 

“There is a violation of student code of conduct, there’s a possibility of three situations: probation, suspension, or expulsion and they can’t come back” said Student Code of Conduct officer BJ Williams. Any time a student breaks the law of the local, state or federal government it is automatically an offense in the TJC student code of conduct. This can be said for almost every other higher education institution.

“There is a protocol of due process. Students can appeal that decision and it [goes] to the discipline appeals committee. The committee can uphold that decision or they can modify it” Williams said. Depending on the severity of the situation, that is how the punishment is ruled.

Too many students do not know or care about the consequences they may face for drug possession on campus or off. TJC campus police has had a few calls about “suspicious smells,” most likely meaning marijuana.

College is a time where people often experiment and break out of their shell, especially if it is their first time away from home. But those harmless experiments can quickly turn into a drug conviction, which can lead to being kicked out of school and losing financial aid.

What happens to Financial Aid with a drug conviction?

Losing Financial Aid can also be a case-by-case consequence.

“There is a question on the FAFSA [application] that asks about conviction. So, if you do have a conviction during the time you are receiving financial aid, and answer ‘yes’, then you are not eligible at that point,” said Director of Financial Aid and Enrollment Support Services Devon Wiggins. “There is not a database that the feds have access to for those convictions. So, we wouldn’t get an immediate notification. It [the conviction] has to go through the FAFSA process,” Wiggins said.

If a student does get removed from the campus, that automatically drops their Financial Aid because they are no longer attending school. However, if the student has a previous drug conviction and do not answer honestly on the FAFSA form, they may still receive that money.

Drug convictions are the only ones to hinder a student from receiving Financial Aid. Any other conviction does not have to be reported on the FAFSA application.

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