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School Ready To Issue Harsh Penalties After Students Drugged At Party

HealthColleges and Universities

It could take weeks for toxicology results to come back pinpointing what drug dropped a dozen Central Washington students at a party, but the school isn't wasting any time in its investigation.

CWU officials are working with police to try and figure out who threw that party that came to a crashing end sometime after 11 p.m. Friday, when police responded to a report of an assault and possible poisoning or overdose. 

The house was in Roslyn, which is about 40 miles from campus, and is a vacation home belonging to the family of a freshman at the University. 

School officials say when they found out the person or group responsible, they could all get expelled.  The school is also holding meetings and sending e-mails to students to warn them about these kind of situations.

"I think everyone is going to be on edge," say CWU student Ali Wassall, "but i think a lot of it should come with common sense, especially when you do go out and it's someplace new you and you're out of your element you need to be aware of your surroundings."

Officials say students sickened during a house party in Roslyn are all now safe. 

In a press release sent to the media, university officials say, "We are relieved and thankful for the recovery of these students."

Cle Elum / Roslyn Police say no drugs were found in the Roslyn home.

Twelve teenagers, most of them CWU students, overdosed.

Investigators believe drinks were spiked but they don't know what drug was used or who is responsible.

University officials are reviewing the conduct of each student individually. Students found in violation of the conduct code will receive an intensive alcohol education class, an assessment by community drug and alcohol treatment professionals. Those found to have seriously violated the conduct code may face suspension or expulsion from the University.

CWU student Taylor Fish was at the party. He told Q13 FOX News, "There was about four girls just in the grass. They were unresponsive. It was hard to really decipher who got drugged and who was extremely drunk. We didn't know if they were alive or dead of what was going on with them. The whole basement just looked like a trauma center. There was about seven to twelve bodies down there... Yeah I mean, eyes rolled in the back of their head."

"As they made entry into the home they observed several people in either semi-conscious state or unconscious state" Cle Elum/Roslyn Police Chief Scott Ferguson said.

As police were searching the home they found what they thought was a sexual assault in progress, but later said the man might be the boyfriend of the woman. Student Lindsay Garske described it as a "bad scene". "The girls were basically unconscious everywhere, all over the house and outside" she explained.

After a victim was taken to Kittitas Valley Community Hospital, friends of the victim directed police and Kittitas County Sheriff's deputies to a home in Roslyn, where authorities said they found several people passed out or sick after overdosing on an unknown substance.

CWU Police Chief Steve Ritterieser says, "We have some important responsibilities to educate and re-educate about these kinds of issues that happen in society."

The campus conversation about the party began Saturday. Residence hall advisors met with more than 500 students in the dorms. They reviewed students' rights and responsibilities, resources available on campus, and avenues for students to communicate information regarding conduct on Saturday morning. Communication with students will be on-going throughout the week says university officials. The CWU student conduct code holds students accountable for their conduct on and off campus.

CWU student Kacy Ward wasn't at the party and learned about what happened Saturday morning when her friend, who apparently overdosed, called her from the hospital.

Ward says, "She woke up in the hospital the next day and she told me that she knows she got roofied because she woke up in the hospital but she doesn't remember if she got raped or not the night before. I know a couple of people who were at the party and it's just scary, because it could happen to anybody. It happened to her and she's a great person. It's just disgusting and scary."

Students believe it may have been the date rape drug known as "roofies". "Definitely a drug was in the chaser bottle that everyone was chasing their drinks with," Garske explained.

Investigators are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine the drug.

Criminal charges are also possible.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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