By: Taryn Sullivan | Photos by: Kevin Roberts
On Tuesday afternoon, you may have walked past the Plaza with a comical sight of students stumbling their way across an obstacle course while wearing pot goggles and drunk goggles. The obstacle course featured baseball, walking a straight line and hopscotch. Though it may sound easy, it was definitely a distorted challenge.
The activity was open to all students, but it was required for students enrolled in the course CRIJ 3344 “Drugs, Behavior and Criminal Justice” taught by Jennifer Klein, to attend. It’s an upper-division criminal justice course for 3rd and 4th-year students and for a forensic science minor.
Professor Klein’s purpose of the event was to allow the students to experience first-hand motor function that comes from taking a specific substance and to show how diminished your capacities are if you were to get behind the wheel.
“[It’s] to experience something in a real-world setting rather than me just telling you about it,” Klein said. “The idea that you get to experience it first-hand, especially when we talk about the pot, because it is illegal in Texas and for most people, they don’t want to imbibe in it. So to at least be able to have that sort of experience even if it’s not completely accurate, it ties back into the misperceptions surrounding marijuana.”
The drunk goggles had a level of .08 alcohol blood level, while the marijuana goggles had several dots that were meant simply to distort, and were not an actual representation.
Though this was the first time for this event, Klein would like to do it again in the future.
“We came outside because it’s just so hard to do this in a classroom and you have space constraints with desks and everything, and we have this plaza, a multipurpose space that’s put here for stuff like this and it draws interest,” Klein added.
Dr. Bailey, assistant professor of criminal justice, mentioned that the criminal justice department wants to use more active learning techniques and the goggles were something the department bought so students could actually kind of experience what these do.
“It’s the end of the semester and the course is so heavy on the pharmacological side of it, the students are just so bogged down every week with terminology and this is what it does and if you take a stimulant drug, this is how it affects you versus a depressant and we do it so often that I’m like, let’s do something fun and let’s go play for a little bit,” Klein said.
One of the courses in the program is a crime-scene class, where students learn about entry and exit laws, keeping scene integrity, how to keep the scene protected in a professional manner. At the end of the course, the students go through a mock crime scene.
“Last year, I burglarized my office and we had [fake] dead bodies in the CAS lounge, so it was a double murder,” said Bailey. “We’re also actually in the process of trying to create a crime scene house down in Camp Tyler. We’ll be able to set up meth labs, dead body scenes, and more.”
The criminal justice department is trying to get their name out there more to show people the fun stuff they’re doing.
“Because we do stuff like this all the time but you’re isolated to your classroom, the world needs to know about our high obstacle course,” Professor Klein said.
If wearing drunk goggles, pot goggles, investigating crime scenes and learning how different substances affect humans sounds interesting, check out the criminal justice department to see what they’re up to next.