In America, attending college is an experience full of new freedoms for most this time serves as a learning platform for lessons better felt not spoken. A protest by students at the New Jersey-based Rowan University sparks a discussion on the repercussions of being caught smoking on college campuses and whether punishment by eviction is too harsh for the crime. Beginning at 6 PM on Tuesday October 11th, the Students for a Sensible Drug Policy group at Rowan spent the night in cardboard boxes on the campus’s outdoor Student Center for 12 hours until 6 AM the next morning in dramatization of the school’s drug eviction policy. President of the club Philip Simmons had this to say:
It’s a box city protest and it’s symbolic of what’s been happening here over the last few years…since the policy was established, when it comes to using illegal drugs, the university has a one-and-done policy. A student is arrested and brought back to his or her dorm, told to gather what he can and then is pretty much left on the street. The policy is making Rowan students homeless, and we’re concerned that these students using drugs need help in terms of their addiction problems. And, because they don’t have a place to live, they’re unable to focus on their studies
In their defense, school officials were quick to point out that the biggest problem that students seem to have with the policy isn’t that they aren’t allowed to be in the dorms until their hearing, but that they don’t want to be put in a position where they have to call their parents for help. Now I know there is some truth to the fact that most students would try at any means to not have those responsible for them at home know about the infraction so they feel like they are left with no help.
Note that students with extenuating circumstances can make a plea to the judicial staff who, from what I’ve been told, tends to give the offending student the chance to stay in the dorms until the hearing. Despite that though I’m not sure that schools should be allowed to evict a student from university dorms simply off the strength of something so small as marijuana possession. My advice? The school should just make a record of the incident, throw a fine and hours of service to the school at the students and move on from there.
[Image via College Board]