- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 24, 2009

EMMITSBURG, Md. (AP) | As part of the fourth annual CSI Challenge, Mount St. Mary’s University students must figure out who done it.

“It,” of course, is a pretend crime. The challenge was begun by criminal justice professor Joseph Vince Jr., who said a teacher can tell students how to do something, but they will comprehend it better if they do it themselves.

“This is not a classroom,” Mr. Vince said. “This is beyond.”

In the most recent simulated crime, a university student has died. A threatening letter, a bloody T-shirt, white powder and a suspicious drink were left in her apartment.

Recently, several classrooms at the Knott Academic Center were turned into simulated crime scenes. More than 70 criminal justice majors were paired off into teams. Four students from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto also took part.

“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for our students,” said Dino Doria, who is program head of justice studies at the Canadian university.

Mr. Vince hopes more colleges and universities will take part next year.

Law enforcement personnel judged the students on their investigations. For the first time, criminal justice seniors organized the event.

Three seniors - Mike Urgo, Jessica Mohler and Chris Weathers - secured the scene, collected evidence, interviewed a witness and took pictures.

While doing these tasks on a 30-minute time limit, they were being judged by Lt. Shawn Martyak, commander of the criminal investigations division for the Frederick Police Department.

After the time expired, all three said it was a good experience.

“I think we did pretty good,” Miss Mohler said. “We learned a lot.”

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