New alcohol and drug policy to be implemented fall 2014

Posted by James Rider

Next Fall, Skidmore College will implement an addition to its Alcohol and Other Drugs policy regarding the odor of marijuana in dorm rooms. The current draft of the policy states that if items are found in a in a space smelling of marijuana that "facilitate the use or concealment of an illegal substance," students may be "may be found responsible for a Level II violation of the AOD Policy." 

Don Hastings, Director of Residential Life, was the drafter the new policy.  Hastings emphasized that the policy revision was in response to complaints from campus safety officers who could not intervene in rooms that consistently smelled of marijuana, and that it was part of a regular annual review of campus policies. Pointing to the top of conduct chart posted in all dorm bathrooms, he stated, "All policies are subject to change."

No student input was taken in drafting the addition to the AOD policy, nor was any input taken from the Skidmore Emergency Medical Services (SCEMS). David Goroff, Director of SCEMS (and a Managing Editor of The Skidmore News), said, "I did not help draft the policy. I am a member of the alcohol and other drugs task force on campus, but we did not have a role writing this new policy." Hastings stated, "In the long-term we take into account the student voice, but for annual revisions, no." 

The new policy is based upon similar policies at schools such as Becker College, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of California-Sacramento, and University of Rhode Island.  The policy was originally planned to be implemented this semester, but plans were changed because of the complications associated with notifying students of policy changes mid-way through the academic year. 

Students' response to the policy has varied. Some are offended by the policy, while others think it will improve the quality of life in the dorms.

One anonymous student stated, "No evidence means no crime. You shouldn't be able to issued points and harm a student's record without proper evidence." While another said, "I'm not very opposed to the policy. My old suitemate would smoke up the suite everyday. Hopefully the new policy will send some kids to Northwoods and keep that smell out of the dorms." One anonymous RA said, "I think everyone deserves to live in a clean environment; besides minimizing fire hazards, the policy will hopefully make the buildings more pleasant." 

Some believe there is a clear link between Skidmore's ranking as the number one "reefer madness and the implementation of the new policy. Hastings denied any connection stating, "It doesn't have anything to do with Skidmore's ranking; we were talking about this revision long before that came out." 

Below is a draft of the new AOD Policy addition:

Draft, January 2014, addition to AOD Policy Response Grid (Level II)

Items that Facilitate the Use or Concealment of an Illegal Substance

The presence of items that facilitate the use or concealment of an illegal substance are in violation of Skidmore College's Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs. Specifically, violations of this policy include but are not limited to:

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