Thursday, April 3, 2008

Student Goes to Jail for Forgetting GWorld

The Hatchet is reporting a female junior was arrested last Friday for "unlawful entry" at HellWell. It appears she forgot her GWorld and wouldn't take no for an answer. After being turned away at the front desk and still not being able to find her GWorld, she succeeded in sneaking past staff monitoring the Juice Zone entrance and hopped on an machine.

"I had my iPod on loud, and a UPD officer tried to get my attention," she said. "I told him that I would be off in 10 minutes and that I was a GW student."

The officer then removed her from the machine and arrested her for unlawful entry, UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said. When the officer threatened to arrest her, Sales said she called 911. The Metropolitan Police Department arrived several minutes later.

"The MPD officer said 'I have some bad news. I'm sorry, I have to arrest you. UPD is pressing charges for unlawful entry,'" Sales said.

Now, this may not have been the brightest move on the girls part, but don't you think UPD may have over reacted? After verifying she was indeed a student, was it really necessary to press charges? I'm no lawyer, but how do you charge someone for "unlawful entry" to a facility they are, in general, allowed to be in... she is after all a paying student.

Further, I found the Rules & Conduct page on GWellness' site and the word GWorld does not appear on the page. Then I searched the entire GWellness website the word GWorld and none of the results had anything to do with building access. So, the question remains, how do you break into a facility you're allowed access to?


After being processed at the Second District station, Sales said she was released several hours later - but officers had already locked up her money and told her she could not access it until the next day. Sales said she called UPD to pick her up, but they said they could not help her.

She said, "I walked a couple miles and then told a cab driver my story to convince him to give me a ride home."

I'm also concerned that she found herself wandering home late Friday from the police station with none of her possessions and having to convince a cab driver to take her home. Isn't UPD's job to protect students?

Please vote the comments section. Did UPD over react?


Greg R said...

First of all, amazing sketch on the side.

I think legally UPD can file charges of unlawful entry based upon vague statutes of gw's or the district's. But the lack of a definitive rule is certainly suspect.

I think UPD did its job and then further overreacted. The fact it tried to kick out a girl without a Gworld or any sort of identification enabling them to identify her as "a paying student" is indicative of UPD being overly cautious, especially in this day and age, in the middle of DC. Then again, calling Metro and the arrest is completely over the top and undeniably an egregious strong-arming by law enforcement. Unfortunately, no laws were probably broken, but you have a valid point in that UPD's job is to protect, not antagonize.

The girl's stupid for being overly aggressive but two wrongs don't make a right. Here here!

Anonymous said...

She tried to call 911 and I assume tell them she was being illegally detained and ask for help. This pissed off UPD so they had MPD arrest her. If she would have complied with the officer I assume she would have just been thrown out and referred to SJS or just asked to leave.

If she had any ID on her UPD could have confirmed her identity through their dispatcher who has access to a database of all GW students faculty and staff. She would also have been run through NCIC WALES to check for wants and warrants.

mkf3 said...

Yes. Everyone in the situation overreacted, from the point she initially walked into the gym. If the girl wasn't causing any trouble, why not just let her have her workout and leave when she's done? The person at the desk could have treated the girl like a human instead of blindly enforcing the rules. if the girl had simply been allowed in, just this once, on the condition she bring her GWorld in the future I think this would have been a reasonable move and trouble could have been avoided. We are on a college campus and our gym is not the Pentagon! Just let the girl have her workout if she's not bothering anyone.

It does not foster a sense of community to be so obsessed with rules and policy and not be able to do a favor for a classmate. Though her enthusiasm for working out does seem a little strange. I guess if she had been acting very erratically then I could understand not letting her in.

Basketmaker said...

I can't believe UPD. Yeah, they are supposed to protect!!! What the heck. I'm afraid to go anywhere without my GWorld now.

Anonymous said...

Yea, my friend got arrested at the gym too because he didn't leave his bag in a locker!

Of course UPD overreacted- this is totally acenine!

TheKaiser8998 said...

You need to read the DC Code before you write a stupid article like this.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY -- DC CODE 22-3302 provides that "[a]ny person who, without lawful authority, shall enter, or attempt to enter, any public or private dwelling, building, or other property . . . against the will of the lawful occupant or of the person lawfully in charge thereof . . . shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor."

This chic had the opportunity to just leave when UPD arrived. She didn't. She chose to stay and argue her case. She was then arrested by UPD, because she was stupid and refused to leave an area at the request of the person lawfully in charge of the area (Health and Wellness Center Staff).

Laws are laws and they aren't based upon what you think is right or wrong, it is what the Legislative Branch of the Government of the District of Columbia has created and which the Executive Branch enforces through the various police agencies in the city, including UPD.