MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia University is seeing a decline in malicious burning cases involving students.An annual report by the Student Rights and Responsibilities Committee shows the number of malicious burning violations declined from 21 in the 2011-2012 academic year to nine in the past school year."I think it's great," Dean of Students Corey Farris told The Dominion Post.Farris said that the decrease is partly because of increased awareness about the possible punishments and dangers for starting fires. Organizations have been spreading this message and the Student Government Association created a YouTube video about the issue that was shared throughout the university community.More than 40 street fires were deliberately set last October following the WVU football team's win over Texas.
Farris said WVU and the city of Morgantown are sharing more information about the potential for problems, such as the university notifying the city that a large event is scheduled, or the city notifying the university that a block party request has been granted.The number of total sanctions against students for non-academic conduct, such as assaults and vandalism, declined from 138 to 131, the committee's report said. The board also heard cases involving academic conduct such as plagiarism.Sanctions included 20 expulsions, 17 suspensions, 18 for community service and three behavior reflection papers. The report did not say what charges resulted in the sanctions.Charges heard by the committee included drugs and hazing. There were 20 hazing charges and 32 charges for drug use, possession or delivery.Ron Justice, director of Student Organization Services, said the hazing charges stemmed from an incident at the Phi Gamma Delta house, which was banned from the campus last November.The committee prepared the annual report for the Faculty Senate.