Dean emails college over drugs

Kelsey Neubauer, Senior Staff Writer

One UVM administrator said he has some strong words for students who are going to class high.

The Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, William Falls emailed students in the college Nov. 4 saying that he was “stunned” after hearing a conversation between two students about going to class high.

“I failed to do anything, I failed to say anything in that moment, and walked back to my office ruminating on this fact, thinking about what my responsibilities were as interim Dean,” Falls said in the email.

The next day, he said he spoke about these thoughts with Associate Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, John Burke and Joel Goldberg, and decided to write a letter.

The email was intended to urge students to reflect on how their choices impact their community, not to call out particular students, Falls said.

Junior Kai Darke said he can see where the Dean is coming from.

“I think the Dean’s email was fair – people should not be going to class stoned,” Darke said.

Darke said he understands Falls, but he feels it is the student’s choice, as they are paying for their education.

It is important to remember that students going to class high are not the only ones paying to be here, Falls said.

“When students go to class high they are disengaged, and this impacts the entire class and the instructor,” he said.

In the days after the sending the email, Falls said he received responses from some students thanking him for bringing the issue up and recounted times in which they were affected by a student being high in class.

The part of the email encouraging students to seek advising was added after his initial draft, in a revision intended to offer support for students by Assistant Provost Annie Stevens, he said.

“We want students to know they have options. They don’t have to be in school if they need to be focusing on other prob- lems,” Falls said.

Falls said he and Stevens wanted the students to know about the options they had in dealing with substance use.

Meline Thebarge, a sophomore and residence adviser, said that though she initially read the letter as humorous, she agrees with the dean.

“Going to class high definitely has an affect on your education,” she said.