- The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is ending a program that used students as confidential informants for university police.
- The program was criticized following the news of a heroin overdose death of a student who agreed to become a university police informant to avoid drug charges.
- The university’s chancellor, Kumble Subbaswamy, decided to end the program on the recommendation of a panel appointed by the school, which found that informants were allowed to avoid drug treatment, the Boston Globe reported.
The UMass incident raises the question of whether universities should use students as informants at all, and if they are used, what should be required in terms of drug treatment and parental notification. Subbaswamy had temporarily suspended the program in September, after the Boston Globe reported on the informant’s 2013 death. Among the panel’s criticisms of the program, it found that it was too secretive. It also found that informants helped university police with nearly half of their drug arrests.