Drug policy update

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The smoke spots around campus are classic social areas, especially during the warm seasons. It’s perfectly common to see students and the occasional professor here, but these areas may soon become non-existent.

Policy work is in place to make MCLA a smoke-free campus and the movement is backed with a $15,000 grant from the American Cancer Society. With this money its been suggested that they could provide specialized health service councilors and anti-smoke educational services.

Twice a semester, MCLA meets with its Board of Trustees Student Affairs Committee to discuss matters like these. The first meeting took place on Oct. 12 on which Theresa O’Bryant, Associate Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator, gave an update on the plans towards a smoke-free campus.

The policy is planned to take place in September 2018, though it was previously planned to take effect in fall of 2017. A complete draft of the policy is to be released later this year.

It’s speculated that the students won’t take well to this new rule. The Beacon newspaper released an editorial earlier this year stating beliefs that students would continue their smoking habits regardless of the rules.

Enforcement of even the current smoking rules is a difficult task for the College, with nearly every student on campus having accounts of different violations to these policies.

The smoke-free policy will affect many student groups but none so much as the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and their president Cedar Robideaux 18’.

“SSDP does not condone or condemn drug uses but we encourage learning about what you might choose to take or not,” said Robideaux in an email interview.

SSDP mainly works on combating the “War on Drugs” through education and positive policy changes instead of simple eradication and banning of substances from college campuses.

“In the upcoming semester we hope to bring speakers to campus,” Robideaux said. “We also are planing to have a panel discussion and film screening on clean injection sites to help address and educate about the ever growing opioid crisis in the U.S.”

Earlier this year they hosted a special training session on Narcan, a lifesaving drug used to help those in overdose situations.

A smoke-free college brings interesting potential for SSDP. A chance to do more than just educate students, but to actually change the College and its drug policies.

“For me personally I’ve always been involved in different types activism and social change and when I came to MCLA my RA, who was SSDP’s former president, told me to check out the club,” said Robideaux.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the SSDP may contact Cedar Robideaux with questions, visit their MCLA chapter Facebook page or attend one of their weekly meetings on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Bowman 208.

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