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Punishment must fit crime

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thank God someone finally started this discussion.

We would just like to voice our complete support for Ben Linskey’s discussion of the Michael Phelps case in the Feb. 19 Observer (“Phelps scandal is reefer madness”). We have been considering writing to The Observer for some time regarding marijuana, and the University’s overall policy towards it.

We feel that the University is unfair in its differing policies between underage drinking and the possession of ganja. While most people know that if a student is caught drinking and is under the age of 21, it means a ResLife, and probably community service. It is a slap on the wrist.

In contrast, possessing the sweet Mary Jane is, in the words of Du Lac, “a serious violation. Students who possess or use such substances shall be subject to suspension or dismissal.” Is it fair that students who drink alcohol excessively, become obnoxious, start fights, scream in the quads at 4 a.m., are disrespectful to police officers and school staff and put themselves and others in danger should get the college equivalent of a detention (ResLife), while students who make the, as Linskey puts it “private and harmless decision” to smoke weed are subject to dismissal from the University?

These students will most likely spend the evening sitting in a room, listening to “No Woman No Cry,” watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force and laughing to themselves at pretty much everything; they are not throwing up at Legends or screaming at everyone they meet.

Reefer is a drug that mellows out people and makes them more aware of their surroundings, whereas alcohol makes people get aggressive and lose regard for anyone other than themselves. Smoking the sticky icky is non-addictive and there are no known cases of death directly due to an overdose of the bud. Alcohol is highly addictive and thousands die every year from it, whether directly or indirectly.

So why is lighting up the chronic considered such a terrible offense, in the minds of the general public (as Linskey so adeptly pointed out) and in the mind of our administration? Why is the penalty for smoking the herb so severe when the penalty for drinking alcohol excessively, clearly a graver and much more ubiquitous problem is so mild? We do not know.

We would only like to thank Linskey for putting forward this issue for the consideration of the student body and the administration. We think the administration needs to reevaluate this “arbitrary standard set forward by the federal government.”

One Love,

Dan Parker

Anthony Bonadio


Keenan Hall

Feb. 19