Student senate proposes bold change to campus pot policy

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Student senate proposes bold change to campus pot policy

Courtesy of Tom Clement

Courtesy of Tom Clement

Courtesy of Tom Clement

It’s no secret that Guilford College leans further to the left than most of North Carolina. However, it may surprise students to know that North Carolina’s marijuana policies are more liberal than Guilford’s.

“If you have what is considered a slap on the wrist, and it has been expunged from the record in (North Carolina), should that count against you (at Guilford)?” asked Aaron Fetrow, dean of students and vice president for student affairs.

Guilford’s current policy is, quite frankly, ridiculous and hypocritical. Students are given two strikes over their four years at Guilford and they’re out. This is even more unreasonable considering that having a marijuana violation in North Carolina is equivalent to drinking underage ­— an act students can be charged with at Guilford multiple times before suspension.

The student senate has been working on a proposal to change this policy.

“The idea behind the proposal is that Guilford’s marijuana policy be no harsher than the North Carolina legislature’s and keeps up with the current political climate,” said Julia Draper, junior and chair of judicial affairs.

Students all over campus are enthusiastic about the proposed change.

“Students here have been hospitalized (for alcohol poisoning),” said first-year Madison Giles. “It’s not fair for someone who’s smoking and gets caught to get more points than someone who’s drinking. They’re pretty equally bad, so they should be judged equally.”

The proposal is even supported by the administration.

“I’m glad that this committee is working so hard to solicit student input,” said Director of Student Leadership and Engagement Steve Moran. “I think the great thing about Guilford is that all students have an opportunity to be heard on issues that they are passionate about.”

As for the old marijuana policy, Fetrow has some insight as to why it’s so outdated.

“Times have certainly changed,” said Fetrow. “Part of the background of the rule is that we have been way up on the list of the biggest marijuana schools. At that time, it wasn’t legal in any other state in the country. The legal landscape around it was different.”

The one fear seems to be Guilford’s reputation.

“We could take some criticism from conservative alumni groups,” said Fetrow.

However, one anonymous student thinks this shouldn’t be an issue.

“There’s a lot more to Guilford than that ‘stoner vibe’ that we were known for years ago,” said the student.

Another fear is that students will get no punishment, but that’s not the case.

“We’re still going to enforce the rule,” said Fetrow. “We’re still going to put students through education as a result of a violation.”

As long as said rule becomes more reasonable, students don’t see a problem.

“Having some kind of punishment is not a bad thing in an educational setting, but it should be around what it is for alcohol,” said the anonymous student.

Students and faculty are hopeful that this proposal will prevail. Why shouldn’t it? It will change Guilford’s judicial system for the better.

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