With the new class of freshmen and transfer students coming to Statesboro, a town in the middle of no where, where it seems like there’s nothing to do but go to class, party and drink, arrests may be a strong possibility for some. So what happens if you are arrested on or off school property?
For Georgia Southern’s Office of Public Safety, making an arrest is more of a process than an event. Many students have concerns and wonder about the consequences when they are being arrested. Some students worry if they’re going to be kicked out of school or how the arrest will effect them in the future. Most of the students who get arrested have never been arrested before.
“It’s routine for us, but we got to think about how it is for the other person,” Chief Michael Russell, director of public safety, said.
This routine starts when a person is arrested on campus. After a suspect is handcuffed and detained, they are then taken to the public safety building and subsequently booked. The suspect is taken into a room in the public safety building where they are asked a series of personal questions. If the arrest is alcohol related, the suspect will be asked to take a breathalyzer. After the questioning and the breathalyzer test, the suspect will then have their picture taken and be fingerprinted. All of this is part of the booking process, and one is not eligible for bond until they are booked. It’s a good idea to cooperate.
The process isn’t completed when the booking process in the Office of Public Safety is over; the suspect is then transferred to the Bulloch County Jail. According to the law, the suspect must be taken to the Bulloch County Jail and then handcuffed prior to entering the building. Once inside the building, the suspect will be arrested, meaning personal items will be taken and put into a property bag, and the suspect will then be detained in a room until it’s time for them to be processed again.
The Bulloch County Jail booking process is very similar to the Office of Public Safety’s process. The suspect will be asked a serious of questions, be fingerprinted, and have their picture taken. Once the process is over, they will be held until they’ve made bond.
“We’re comfortable, we should be comfortable with our freedoms, but we don’t think about what happens when those freedoms are taken away. I have two words of advice for students: spend twice as much time out of class on class assignments as in class, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do with your mother standing next to you,” Chief Russell said.
Questions were answered by Mark A. Whitesel, Ph.D., Associate Dean/Director for Student Conduct
G-A: If the student arrested is under scholarship will that scholarship be rebuked or is there a warning system?
Whitsel: Scholarships would vary across the board based. We would not revoke a scholarship for an arrest as a consequence; however, a person’s scholarship could be in jeopardy if that scholarship includes expectations around behavior of the recipient.
G-A: What are the crimes, if any, that would constitute getting kicked out of the university? If so, what are they?
Whitsel: A student could be suspended or expelled from the University for any violation. Each case is unique and depending on the circumstances and severity of the violations a student could be dismissed through the conduct process. This would not occur without the student being afforded their due processes rights as outlined in the Student Conduct Code.
G-A: Is there a certain number of times a student can get arrested before they are kicked out? If so, what is it?
Whitsel: There is no certain number of times a student can be arrested before their relationship with the University is adversely impacted.
G-A: Can a student expunge their record? If so, what is that process?
Whitsel: A student cannot request a conduct record with the University be expunged. They could request a criminal record be expunged through the proper legal channels. This would be completely separate from the University conduct process.