FAU student: Decorative lamp got him in trouble

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 12:18:59-05

A lamp is sparking controversy on a local college campus.

A Florida Atlantic University student says he was written up for having a lamp that was made out of a recycled liquor bottle in his dorm room.

Now he says he's facing some serious consequences.

Sophomore Christopher Valdes now has a warning on his student record and a hefty $150 fee to pay.

That fee, he says, is for a mandatory online alcohol education course. And on top of that he has to do 5 hours of community service.

Valdes says it's all because of a lamp.

"I was a bit shocked and taken back," said Valdes. "I don't do anything. I follow the rules. "

Valdes says an RA doing a regular room check of the dorms on the Jupiter campus wrote him up for having alcohol paraphernalia in his room. The violation specified "Bombay lamp."

"There's a hole at the bottom. It's plugged in. It's a lamp," said Valdes.

The lamp is a recycled Bombay Sapphire gin bottle turned into a lamp. Valdes says he got it at an arts festival with his dad in Greenacres.

"For me to have to a possible mark on my future with this record or whatever for a lamp. And me have to explain that to grad schools…"

The 19 year-old said the lamp wasn't new either. He says it had been in his dorm room for several months, so he was confused as to why it had just recently become an issue.

He says he was charged was for violating the student code of conduct related to alcohol.

Valdes even appealed the charge, explaining the lamp was decorative and that there was no alcohol.

"I regret to inform you that your appeal has been denied. The sanctions issued are appropriate," said Valdes as he read the letter of denial from the University.

We reached out to FAU about Valdes' case. The university said it could not comment because this was information protected by the Family Educational Privacy and Rights Act.

"I'm just trying to show people this is really unfair and hopefully the school will do something about it."

Valdes says there wasn't any alcohol in his room. He says he's worried that this will impact him when he applies to pharmacy school.