Jenn Smola, Senior Staff Writer

Marijuana violations at Miami University have more than doubled this year, according to records from the Office of Ethics and Conflict Resolution.

During the first three weeks of the 2010-2011 school year, there were reportedly seven marijuana violations at Miami. This year, during the same time frame, the number rose to 16.

“We know that nationally marijuana use is on the rise,” Chris Taylor of the Office of Ethics and Conflict Resolution said. “I imagine [the increase] correlates to that.”

He also noted that his colleagues at other institutions would report the same type of trend.

First-time offenders who are caught using or possessing marijuana usually have to complete a chemical abuse education program, as well as an assessment with a substance abuse counselor, Taylor said. Repeat offenders, however, will often be suspended.

Unlike alcohol violations though, sanctions aren’t mandatory and may vary. The policy applies to all drugs, including illegal prescription drugs such as Adderall, Taylor said.

Despite the increase, however, the university does not plan to change the sanctions or make punishments more severe.

“The sanctions, I think, work, because we don’t see a lot of repeat offenders,” Taylor said, adding that police and resident assistants (RA) may patrol an area a bit more if they are suspicious of marijuana use.

Although the number of violations has increased, the number of drug-related arrests has held steady this year, according to Lt. Ben Spilman of the Miami University Police Department (MUPD). But MUPD still receives plenty of drug-related calls.

“We get calls regularly, in some halls more than others,” Spilman said.

If a hall director or RA simply smells marijuana in a residence hall, the police get a call, he said.

The proportion isn’t always even, Spilman said, adding that MUPD has had to make 13 calls to one building, but may not have to make any calls to other buildings.

The violations seem to be occurring mainly amongst underclassmen, according to Spilman.

“Traditionally, because we have more freshmen and sophomores on campus, that’s primarily who we’re dealing with,” he said.

For some Miami students, the increase in violations is nothing to worry about.

“I’m not bothered at all,” sophomore Kyle Rogers said. “I think marijuana is on its way to becoming legalized on a national level and [the increase] is just another effect of that … I think legally the university has an obligation to crack down on marijuana violations because it’s still illegal, but I don’t think it should take priority over cracking down on alcohol violations because alcohol use can be much more dangerous.”

In 1970, The Miami Student reported that Miami University’s physical education requirement would not be abolished immediately, but the required number of hours would be reduced. Concern was expressed that with a larger enrollment, students would get shut of physical education classes they needed to graduate. The university considered reducing the six-hour requirement to three.