In 2019, Rowan University’s main campus saw a reported 464 drug and liquor violations resulting in disciplinary action, according to the United States Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security’s Crime Data.
This is a sharp increase from Montclair State University’s 74 offenses and from Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s 142 drug and liquor violations during the same time frame. While Rowan’s and Montclair’s main campuses boast a student population of about 20,000, Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s main campus has about 50,000 students.
“The more people concentrated together, there are going to be more opportunities to [have] say thefts, criminal mischief and so on,” Department of Public Safety Senior Director Reed Layton said.
From April to October of 2021, there have been 32 violations regarding drugs, alcohol, and drug impairment on the Rowan University campus, according to Rowan University’s Department of Public Safety’s Daily Crime Log Data.
These violations span a total of 18 individual cases over the seven months currently reported by the Department of Public Safety online. According to Director Layton, there has been a specific increase in marijuana-related violations as of recent years.
“Last year, the marijuana laws changed a lot,” Director Layton said. “Even though you can have marijuana, you can’t have marijuana on campus, because we’re federally funded. Because you, federally, can’t have marijuana on a university campus.”
In November 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the legalization and regulation of cannabis use for residents over the age of 21. Federal regulation, however, prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana as of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.
Director Layton adds that non-Rowan students within the Clery Geography of Rowan University alter the number of violations public safety is required to respond to. The Clery Geography of Rowan University is defined as any building or property in Rowan’s control and public property that is adjacent to surrounding the university’s property, such as the sidewalks or the street.
“We have a lot of things happen because of [Route] 322. Car stops, accidents– yeah, a lot of stuff happens right there,” Director Layton said. “Because of all the vehicles that go back and forth in a day and all the sidewalks, there’s a lot of activity going on, because of 322, just passing through the campus.”
Of the 18 drug-related cases recorded by the Department of Public Safety in the last eight months, 12 have occurred on Rowan Campuses by non-students. Eight of the 12 have been classified as “Driving While Impaired [DWI],” a violation that occurs when a person operating a vehicle has a blood alcohol content of over 0.08 percent.
“It’s not always a student that you see arrested on campus,” Director Layton said. “I wouldn’t say the numbers [of drug violations] are a representation of all students per se, but we also don’t have a lot of students on campus this year.”
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