News has come out of San Diego that 95 people, 75 of which were students, were arrested following a six-month sting operation at my alma mater San Diego State University. The sting, Operation Sudden Fall (lame name) was started after two students in the San Diego area died of drug overdoses. One was a student at SDSU the other was from Mesa College.
Having attended SDSU, I know that drugs were a problem for some. I saw drugs with my own eyes while I was there. It started with someone close to me saying that he couldn’t make a living selling pot because, “everyone is selling and no one is buying.” So he he got into selling coke. I was near by when I found out that this person was robbed after inviting strangers from the street who were looking for drugs up to the dorm. After handing the strangers from street drugs, the strangers started to walk away. When they were reminded that they needed to pay, the story goes, one lifted up his shirt to reveal a gun and told the dealer that in fact he didn’t have to pay.
Drugs on college campuses are not rare. Having fraternities act as cartels, growhouses and having a cache of weapons is rare and is scary stuff. After I graduated, San Diego State University tore down all the dilapidated fraternity houses and put all of the frats on “Fraternity row.” This way they could live in decent housing and the school was able to keep an eye on them. I guess it worked (or did it?).
SDSU should be commended for working with the DEA and law enforcement to rid the campus of a legitimate drug cartel. Weapons from brass knuckles and Semi-automatic weapons have no place in a learning environment. It’s too bad that two people had to die before the investigation begun, but students and parents are lucky that more didn’t die of drug overdoses or from gun violence.
But this is what I don’t understand:
Why are the best stories coming from The LA Times, AP and ABC News? Why was this story not a screaming headline on The Union Tribune’s website? Why isn’t the school’s paper doing a better job of reporting on this? Currently the story is boiler plate: Who, what, when where and a quote from the school. The paper has to have writers who are members of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, one of Fraternities implicated in this bust.
Why did the bust happen now? Graduation is coming up and students are choosing their universities. News cycles are always looking for stories about universities around this time. Would the story have been as big if it occurred last month?
The school knew the drug bust was coming. President Steven Weber was working with DEA and he attended the drug bust. So when the news came out, you’d think the school would have more to say than this quote from The Daily Aztec: “We are not going to tolerate drug trafficking in our universities or our educational institutions,” said Jesse Navarro, public affairs officer for the district attorney’s office.
The school isn’t going to tolerate drug trafficking? No shit! The school should have announced a method by which they going to allow students to tip the school off about this stuff happening in the future. Not all the members of the fraternities involved engaged in illegal behavior, those who knew that they were living in a house with weapons and drugs could have stopped this months ago, even before the two students died. But nothing. The school announced nothing. It’s really too bad. Since the DEA worked with the school, SDSU had a 6 month head-start on this. While it didn’t want to harm the investigation, it could have announced that they have made it easier to for students to go to the school when issues of drugs and weapons are happening in campus housing. This could have been a model for other schools that are undoubtedly facing similar issues. Too bad. I wish I could have gone to police when drugs and weapons were around me. But I couldn’t. I was lucky that those elements moved from my area on their own. I could have stopped something then and someone else could have stopped death and the destruction of lives from this case.
Today is a sad day to be an alum from SDSU.