Last week, UCF’s Golden Rule Review Committee voted on a new policy
that would equalize the consequences of marijuana and alcohol use among
students. The Future has supported this cause with endorsements
in our paper since 2008.
Despite the work of several student organizations lead by the
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, UCF has yet to
change school policies.
Since the cause won the vote of the Golden Rule Review Committee, it
can advance to administration for approval. The next step is to move the
proposal to the desk of Dr. Maribeth Ehasz for approval at the end of
this semester. We are hoping that the constant support of this cause
will motivate Ehasz to get these changes into effect as soon as
UCF students who have been charged with marijuana citations have been
unfairly scolded in comparison to students who have been cited for
alcohol abuse. The administration needs to see that this stops.
The debate over marijuana laws in the United States has been a heated
debate. State laws in California and Colorado are adapting to the
acceptance of marijuana, especially in medical cases. It is time for
public universities to change, too.
Several independent studies have come to the same conclusion —
alcohol has more severe effects than marijuana. It does not make sense
that the use of a less harmful substance would result in worse
consequences to one’s academic career.
We are not saying students should use marijuana, but the number of
college students abusing alcohol is in the millions. Initiatives like
the one that just passed through the Golden Rule Review Committee aren’t
about showing support for marijuana, but instead implementing fair
consequences based on the nature of the infractions.
UCF is the third largest public university in the nation, and its
policies should be as progressive as its students. By implementing new
rules UCF would be sending a message to other schools throughout the
country that treating citations for similar drugs in different fashions
is unfair. We say similar drugs because the new policies would not
lessen the consequences of being caught with hard drugs — a distinction
we fully support. Drugs like cocaine should not be under the same
umbrella as marijuana and alcohol.
Your university would not be the first school with policies that
equalize the consequences of alcohol and marijuana. Florida State
University, University of Maryland, University of Texas-Austin,
University of Washington, and George Washington University are just a
few colleges that have successfully implemented policy changes.
It is time for the UCF administration to approve policies that their
students and the Golden Rule Review Committee support.