Volume 92, Issue 36

Friday, November 6, 1998

bigger than the post


High on education at University of Victoria

By Becky Somerville
Gazette Staff

A University of Victoria sociology professor who was charged in 1997 when police found large quantities of marijuana at her home, is up for sentencing this month – but the university community does not appear to be putting her on trial.

Jean Veevers was accused after police searched her residence on April 18, 1997 and found roughly eight pounds of marijuana, 122 plants and the equipment from a grow operation, explained her lawyer, Mel Hunt.

Veevers pleaded guilty to cultivation and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, Hunt said. Her sentencing date is Nov. 27.

"The courts will pose an appropriate sentencing for the crime," Hunt said. "It could be anywhere from a large fine to time in jail."

Hunt said while the outcome of the case depends on the judge, it is inappropriate for Veevers to be incarcerated and he will suggest other recommendations.

"[Veevers] of course is very distraught over all of this," Hunt said.

Patty Pitts, an information officer at the University of Victoria, said the university was waiting to see the results of the sentencing before deciding on any disciplinary action.

"We don't have any cut and dry policy in this type of situation, so we really have to deal with each one on an individual basis," she said. She added in recent history there have been no instances of faculty being charged for cultivating marijuana.

Pitts said Veevers had opted to retire on a part-time basis but is scheduled to teach again beginning in January, depending on the consequences of the sentencing.

Chair of the University of Victoria's Students' Union, Rob Fleming, said the issue has not been very high profile at the university and added Veevers is very well-liked by her students.

Fleming expressed confusion as to why a tenured professor like Veevers would have to rely on a growing operation to finance her income.

"Most people agree she's a very unlikely candidate to be involved in that kind of stuff."

Robert Solomon, law professor at Western, said as long as a criminal offence does not affect a professor's character or capacity to do their job, it should not hinder academic credibility.

"I'm sure, out of [Western's] faculty, I would be surprised if there wasn't at least a handful who didn't have minor criminal charges," he said.

Fourth-year Western engineering student Rob Gibson said as long as Veevers was not imposing her lifestyle on students, she should not be asked to leave.

"It's the kind of thing I think students don't really have the right to know because it's not hurting them," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998