The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Drug policy widens divide between athletes and Guilford community

For years now, Guilford has attempted to bridge the gap between student athletes and the rest of the Guilford community. However, with the implementation of the athletic department’s year-round drug testing policy, that divide seems to be widening.Students at Guilford have the privilege of partaking in various activities ranging from community service to sports. Targeting athletes for random drug testing sets a double standard.

Why shouldn’t a student who tutors children, or moderates activities, not be held to the heightened level of responsibility of an athlete?

Illegal substances create a slew of potential safety issues and health complications. This is true for the entire Guilford population, not just athletes. If a project coordinator transports volunteers to work sites and is under any kind of drug influence, they create a hazard equal to, if not greater than, athletes who abuse drugs.

It is apparent that the athletic department is only trying to ensure the welfare of their athletes. However, implementation of athletic drug testing sends the message that an athlete is suspected of doing drugs until they prove otherwise.

Some students do not feel slighted by the implementation of drug testing.

When asked how he felt about the new drug testing policy, senior football player Blake Underwood said, “drug testing should not matter as long as you are abiding by the rules.”

Other students challenge whether this policy is in line with Quaker Values.

“I’m a Quaker, and a big part of Quakerism is telling the truth,” said Zack Pinsky, a junior and intramural soccer player. “By athletes receiving drug tests upon telling the truth, Guilford is breaking Quaker testimonies.”

A decrease in drug use and an improvement in discipline have been noted under the implementation of some drug testing policies, but there is no evidence that these policies encourage healthy behaviors in the long term. Studies from The Journal of Adolescent Health in 2007 found that drug testing is not always a reliable deterrent from drug use. “While the goals of athletic drug testing may be laudable, I’m not at all sure that positive long-term behavioral development takes place as a result of a testing program,” said Bob Malekoff, assistant professor of sports studies.

While safety is imperative, now is an appropriate time for students, student-athletes, and the athletic department to come together in search of a “Plan B” that respects personal rights as well as upholds Quaker values.

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