By Shelby Horton
Hutchinson Community College maintenance and security teams went through a routine fire drill at the dorms on Nov. 3.
State law requires schools to conduct the drills twice a year. Another requirement is a visual inspection to make sure the area has been properly evacuated.
Elland and Kent Hall were the areas being inspected.
“We scheduled the fire drill for 9:40 a.m., thinking most of the students would be in class, causing the least inconvenience,” said Steve Dunmire, lead security officer at HCC. “However, it appeared a bunch of students decided to skip class that day.”
The visual inspection requires each room within the building to be checked.
The staff can only look over the room and check school property, such as the refrigerators.
However, anything in plain sight can be taken, if it is an illegal substance.
“Fire drills are not like the TV shows, where they tear everything up looking for illegal substances that could get people arrested,” said Darrell Adams, lead residence hall supervisor.
Ten HCC students were found with alcohol violations and were issued summons for illegal possession of liquor.
According to Kansas law, the penalty for possessing alcohol for minors 18 to 21 is a class C misdemeanor, with a minimum fine of $200.
For minors that are under the age of 18 it is classified as a juvenile offense, with fines of $200 to $500.
In addition, the court may order the accused to perform 40 hours of community service and to attend and complete a certified alcohol or drug educational program.
Also, upon conviction, the court will order the Kansas Division of Vehicles to suspend the person’s driving privileges.
First conviction triggers a 30-day suspension; second conviction, a 90-day suspension; and if convicted a third time it will lead to a one-year suspension.
Also, HCC has its own ramifications for those caught with illegal possession of liquor.
First time offenders are put on probation in the residence halls for a period of time, then given 10 hours of community service.
They will also be required to see an HCC counselor for an alcohol assessment and education.
“Many times, students assume the majority of students their age are drinking the same amount and frequency as them, and sometimes students haven’t really thought about how often and how much they are drinking,” said Dana Hinshaw, director of residence life and student activity.
“The screening helps the student gauge where they are in the spectrum of alcohol consumption, and gives them facts that we hope can help them make better decisions.”
Second-time offenders will be dismissed from the residence halls, the residence hall director said.