Reefer Rules Repeated

Daniella Devivo, Reporter

Officials say they are vigorously enforcing the campus marijuana policy, and they have taken steps to ensure it is easy to read – and understand.

The policy has existed for many years, according to Kit Foley, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs.

Officials changed the policy wording in the student handbook to make it more clear for the reader to understand. According to the zero-tolerance policy, any student who chooses to smoke marijuana, or is in the position of it at any time will face serious consequences, including charges.

A first offense will result in a $100 fine and completion of “Marijuana 101,” an online program, which costs an additional $35, ac- cording to the student handbook. Parents will be notified, and the student may be dismissed from the university, depending upon individual circumstance of the offense.

The second offense will result in a $200 fine, suspension or dismissal from the university, a parental meeting and a referral
to an addictions counselor. The third offense will result in suspension or dismissal and a parental meeting, according to Foley. This information can also be found in the student handbook.

Smoking marijuana on school grounds – or being in an area with illegal substances – is violation of the policy.

According to Foley, if officials discover drug use, a large amount of drugs on campus, or any indication of ongoing drug dealing, offending students will likely be suspended from the university. The discovery of drug paraphernalia will result in mandatory drug education.

Foley said she wants to work with students, help educate them about drug use and, if need be, help them come to their senses.

“We are not only concerned because it is illegal, but marijuana is one of the most pristine challenges at this point in time because of where we are as a nation with the use of marijuana,” said Foley.

According to Foley, students who choose to smoke a lot of marijuana tend perform poorly in class.

“Marijuana still has a negative impact on an individual’s brain, and they begin not to have a whole lot of motivation especially if they are smoking a lot of pot.”

Foley said students need to think critically about the choices that they make, particularly those in majors that require licensing or clearances. In addition, graduate school applications often require students to sign releases, which allow prospective schools to find out about disciplinary actions on the students’ records.

“I would hate to see somebody who worked really hard to get a degree and made a silly decision that prevented from doing something they wanted to do, or stop them in their path for a particular amount of time,” said Dziedziak.

If local police are notified of any drug activity, they – and not the school – will decide whether to legally charge student violators, and this is the case regardless of whether students’ home states legalized marijuana.

“Honestly, the police will press charges on the student with drug paraphernalia, so I think that the students have to think really carefully if they want any kind of drug-related charge on their re- cord and I would encourage them to think about that” said Foley.

Foley said she is always contacted if there is sufficient reason to search any room on campus.

“If we walked in to a room and saw a window open with a fan blowing out or if you smell air fresheners, or if there are different types of smells, there are different kinds if reasons why we choose to search a room,” said Foley.

Gary Samuels, Coordinator of Student Affairs and Community Standards, mirrors Foley’s decision on notifying police in cases with a controlled substance.

“If there is any type of drug paraphernalia or controlled substance like marijuana, we do have to call the police so that they can take possession of it, since we don’t have a full-time police department on campus,” said Samuels.

Foley and Samuels encourage students to read the student handbook on e-MU.

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