University of Colorado senior Sarah Meyer "felt violated" after learning she unknowingly ingested marijuana via a THC-infused brownie that two fellow students shared with the rest of their Early Modern Society class on Friday.
The prank sent her to the hospital after suffering what she described as an anxiety attack. She shook badly and was wracked with paranoid thoughts.
Meyer said she was so ill she missed a biology exam and a test to become a certified nursing assistant.
"I was annoyed," Meyer told the Camera on Monday. "I felt violated."
Meyer said her fellow students -- identified by police as Thomas Ricardo Cunningham, 21, and Mary Elizabeth Essa, 19 -- made it known they brought the brownies to Friday
morning's class in the Hellems Arts and Sciences building. According to a CU police report, the two students admitted to spiking the brownies with marijuana.
The two used Kit-Kat candy bars to spell out "EMS" on the brownies -- short for the name of the course -- Meyer said, adding that she was puzzled as to why her classmates thought they would get away with the stunt.
"Everyone knew who brought the brownies," Meyer said. "I don't know how they didn't think they'd be caught."
Now facing multiple felony charges over a prank that hospitalized three and sickened five others, Cunningham and Essa made their first appearance in court Monday at the Boulder County Jail, where they remained in custody.
Judge Noel Blum set bond at $5,000 apiece for the two students, who each face four felony charges: second-degree assault, inducing the consumption of controlled substances by fraudulent means, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and conspiracy to induce the consumption of controlled substances by fraudulent means.
Blum agreed with a defense attorney that the two students weren't flight risks, and ordered that, upon their release on bond, they be subject to drug testing. Family members of the suspects were in the courtroom gallery, but declined interviews.
As of 7 p.m. Monday, Essa had bonded out, but Cunningham remained in jail, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.
Cunningham and Essa were arrested Saturday night on suspicion of serving marijuana-laced brownies to unsuspecting classmates and assistant professor Celine Dauverd, sending three, including Meyer and Dauverd, to the hospital.
Cunningham is due back in court Wednesday for formal charging while Essa is scheduled to be charged Thursday.
'Recovering from this attack'
The head of CU's history department said she was distressed by the immaturity and recklessness of the two students accused in what she termed an "attack."
"The History Department is relieved that our colleague and the students are recovering from this attack, and distressed by the lack of responsibility and maturity shown by two reckless students whose actions put many people at risk," said Susan Kent, chairwoman of the department.
Kent, during a news conference at the jail, spoke on behalf of Dauverd, saying that while the professor was hospitalized for 24 hours and went through a series of tests, her main concern was for her students who also were exposed to the pot brownies.
"Her greatest concern throughout this whole thing -- at least the part of it which she remembers -- has been for those other students," Kent said.
Kent said she heard that Dauverd only took one bite of the brownie before getting ill Friday.
"She was lapsing in and out of consciousness and when the paramedics got here she was unable to walk," Kent said.
Kent said Dauverd is resilient and expects to be back in the classroom later this week.
"This was not a prank," Kent said. "This was stupid and irresponsible and reckless and had a terrible impact."
'More significant effects'
CU police say the two students could face prison time if convicted of the felony charges stemming from the Friday incident on campus.
"People who don't have exposure to marijuana before can have more significant effects than somebody who is a regular user," CU police spokesman Ryan Huff said. "Also, when you don't know you're taking drugs -- which happened in this case -- and you don't know why you're anxious, or why you're dropping in and out of consciousness, it can become more of a concern and the effects can be greater."
Police said both Essa and Cunningham admitted to planning to bring marijuana brownies to class and not telling their classmates or professor that the dessert contained THC, according to a police report . The suspects also admitted to putting marijuana extract into the brownies, the report said.
The 9 a.m. history class was small, with about a dozen students, and the victims began feeling sick within 11/2 hours after eating the brownies, according to the report.
CU police responded to the Hellems Arts and Sciences building around 10:20 a.m. Friday on a report of a history professor complaining of dizziness and losing consciousness. Around 4 p.m., a student's mother notified CU police that her daughter, who was in that class, was having an anxiety attack and was at a local hospital, according to police.
On Saturday, a second student told CU police she felt like she was going to "black out" after class. She, too, was taken to a hospital for evaluation, according to CU police.
All of the victims were suffering the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, police said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ___
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