This week in Penn history: Work study student goes undercover for a drug bust


Students also worked undercover preventing theft at the bookstore




In 1977, a work-study student moonlighted as an undercover cops.

On April 13, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that Campus Security had sent a work-study student to do a drug bust. The student was sent by police officers to “make a buy,” Donald Shultis, the director of Security and Safety, said at an Undergraduate Assembly-sponsored open forum.

“This was one of those episodes in which there was some pressures — immediate pressures — and a couple of officers made a judgement at the moment and sent a work-study student to make a buy,” he said.

Shultis said it was an isolated incident and that the student had not been coerced into participating. He did not specify if a narcotics arrest resulted from the staged bust.

The article also included continued coverage of University efforts to monitor student political groups. Work-study students and plainclothes detectives attended campus political meetings and Campus Security kept files on these groups for “six or seven years,” the DP reported.

The same April 13 issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian also included an article about work-study students working undercover to catch shoplifters at the bookstore. University Bookstore manager Gerald Ritchie said that losses due to shoplifting decreased from $310,000 to $90,000 in 1976 because of this and other new securities measures.

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