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Slater student involved in evacuation under prolonged investigation

BY KAITLIN DEWULF | SEPTEMBER 02, 2014 5:00 AM

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The investigation into the University of Iowa student who was hospitalized with reported overdose symptoms, resulting in an evacuation of Slater Residence Hall on Aug. 24, may be a lengthy process, according to officials Dan Stepleton, a special agent in charge of the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Narcotics Enforcement, said the ongoing analysis of the chemical substances found during the search of the student’s dorm room is going to take a while.

He cited department cutbacks as the reason. “Everyone has cutbacks, and there isn’t as much staffing in the lab as there once was,” Stepleton said. “So there aren’t enough people to process the information quickly.”

He said the department needs at least a six-week turnaround from the time a report is turned in to when it is finished being analyzed. Stepleton said this process could take up to three months, and the chemicals involved in the dorm incident won’t be done as quickly as they should. The Johnson County Drug Task Force and Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement obtained a search warrant, and Stepleton said officers found items deemed very suspicious and items thought to be used in “a drug-manufacturing process.”

Information regarding the chemical substances reportedly found during the search has yet to be released, and the disposition status of the student is closed for the time being, according to online court documents UI Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin said in cases such as those, in which potential violations of the Code of Student Life are in question, the dean of students conducts an investigation. Because the incident occurred in a residence hall, Slater staff will also be involved in the investigation, Rocklin said.

In accordance with federal privacy laws, he said, he isn’t at liberty to disclose information on disciplinary actions, if any, that might be taken against the student. The Office of the Dean of Students is investigating the situation to determine if any UI policies have been violated, Rocklin said.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said he had not updated information since the incident occurred and declined any further comment on the situation. Rocklin noted that educating resident hall students about their responsibilities as members of the community is “an ongoing process.”

“I’m pleased that no one was hurt during the incident, that students were cooperative and responsible in evacuating the hall, and that university staff members handled the situation professionally,” he said.


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