Violations of student conduct in U-Heights

Break ins and thefts occurred to multiple cars in the Gutterson parking garage on athletic campus into Jan. 30. according to UVM police services. 

“I think it could happen again and it makes me really nervous because I have to park there every day,” first-year Addison Stillman said. 

“I’ve never really had to worry about leaving things in my car, like money and my laptop, but now I do,” she said. 

UVM Police Officer Peter Czekaj was investigating reported suspicious behavior in the garage at the time. 

Officer Czekaj’s investigation led to the identification of two males who had been in the garage: Zakk Trombly, a 19-year-old from Milton, Vt. and Brandon Luther, a 23-year-old, according to the report.

“This is the first I am hearing about it, but I would say break-ins happen everywhere, so I don’t leave anything of value in my car,” first-year Stephen Van Wyck said.

A “pregame” for the Lotus concert was interrupted when two UVM police officers entered first-year Ivan Spizizen’s room, which was occupied with four of his friends Jan. 23.

Officer Christopher Wetmore and Officer Elizabeth Felicciardi issued tickets for alcohol violations to underage students found to be in possession of alcohol in room 155 of University Heights North, building two.

Spizizen and his friends were about to leave when the officers arrived. 

There were a few beers and about a half gallon of liquor in his room, Spizizen said. 

Tim Bilodeau, Deputy Chief of UVM police services, reported that there were actually 15 cans of beer, two 40-ounce malt liquors, one handle of whiskey and one handle of vodka in the room.  

Officers dumped all of the alcohol out on the scene and recycled the bottles.

The officers made a straight course toward Spizizen’s room and started banging on his door, Spizizen said. He said he had no warning. 

The noise level in the room was kept to a minimum, Spizizen said. 

Police services received a call around 10:00 p.m. that evening from ResLife about a noise complaint, Bilodeau said.

“There had been no cooperation in reducing the noise,” prior to when the officers arrived, Bilodeau said. 

Therefore, police services consider this a violation of student conduct. 

Bilodeau described this event as uncommon, while first-year Riley Thompson called this incident rare.

“Some weekends shit happens at the drop of the dime. Other weekends you can get away with anything,” Thompson said.

There was no violation of protocol that night, Emily Vayda, the RA for Spizizen’s floor said.

The police can be called whenever the RAs on duty do not feel comfortable handling a situation on their own, Vayda said.

Several students who live in the hall said that they were surprised that the police showed up that night. 

“I did not know that the RAs even called the cops for alcohol,” first-year Aditya Vangala said. 

RAs can enter the room if they have reasonable suspicion. They can also call UVM police to assist them, according to the ResLife housing contract.

Vangala said that the police may have used extraordinary tactics to gain access to Spizizen’s room.

Vangala said the officers said, “Ivan’s already out here with us anyway. You might as well open the door.'” 

Some students are nervous about police presence on campus.

“I feel like now in this community that I live in, in U Heights North 2, even in the four walls of my room, I will be targeted,” first-year Sarang Murthy said. 

First-year Francie Merill agreed. She criticized the involvement of police in this case.

“It just seems like we are living in a police state to the extent that playing music a little too loud and having some booze in your room warrants a police search,” she said. 

Spizizen said that his biggest concern is that the RAs didn’t feel comfortable coming and knocking on his door to tell him to keep it down.

Entering a room is at the discretion of the police and RA’s. They can enter student rooms with reasonable suspicion, according to UVM student rights and responsibility.

If the Center for Student Ethics and Standards decides to have a hearing, Spizizen will have the opportunity to dispute the charges or the reason that officers felt they had the right to enter the room,  according to the Center for Student Ethics and Standards. 

The standard process starts with formal charges and proceeds to a hearing. 

Depending the verdict, the sanction can range from a fine to expulsion. 

The verdict can be disputed in the appeals process.