In the eyes of UCF’s Office of Student Conduct, violations of alcohol
and marijuana may soon become one and the same.
On April 1, the Golden Rule Review Committee voted 5-1 in support of a
change of campus policy that sets the punishments of marijuana use at
the same level as that of wrongful use of alcohol.
According to the proposal, the disciplinary sanctions assigned to
students for “unlawful minor possession of cannabis,” will match the
sanctions for “alcoholic beverages possession violation.”
Students will have three strikes at these violations before more
strict sanctions are taken.
The next step in the process of this change is an administrative
review of the recommendation made by the committee, and then approval of
Maribeth Ehasz, vice president of Student Development and Enrollment
“The review will accept, reject or modify the recommendation,” said
Grant Heston, assistant vice president of UCF News & Information.
“In this instance, UCF will manage this review as it does all others,
and will communicate the result once a decision has been reached.”
The Golden Rule Review Committee is composed of students, as well as
members of the administration, and is responsible for recommending
updates for the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule acts as UCF’s official handbook for rules and
regulations students must follow.
Brittany Lane, a student who sat in on the meetings as an ex-officio
member, said that she feels the committee made the correct decision.
“Some of the issues that came up were very complex and touched upon
some of the systemic issues with the Golden Rule as a whole, but the
committee chose to follow respectable logic . . . ” Lane said.
While the original proposal for the April 1 decision was filed on
March 18, the process of fighting for equalization has been lengthy.
An equalization referendum went to the student vote in February 2008
during the Student Government Association presidential elections and
passed by 57.77 percent.
The referendum said: “Do you support revising the Golden Rule to
include an equal maximum punishment guideline for minor, on-campus
marijuana and alcohol offenses for first, second and third time
offenses, as defined by the Office of Student Conduct?”
In December 2008, the Golden Rule Review Committee met a 3-3-1
stalemate vote on the topic of equalizing marijuana and alcohol. That
policy was presented by then SGA Senator Brendon Rivard.
During the recent equalization debate, Lane said, members of the
committee and audience were able to keep their opinions about marijuana
itself out of the debate.
“Most of the debate this year was very objective,” Lane said. “I was
pleased that most committee members did not discuss their personal
feelings about cannabis and instead respected the democratic support of
the student body.”
Tyler Smith, president of the UCF chapter of the National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law and SGA senator, said he
worked hard to frame the debate as not a battle between students and
administration, but rather a chance to work together.
“There were some people who don’t understand the nature of the debate
on marijuana,” Smith said.
Smith said that NORML will be conducting a photo petition to present
to Ehasz before her decision on the rule change.
The photo petition will consist of making a paper speech bubble and
asking students if they support the equalization rule. If they do, a
member of NORML will take their photo with the speech bubble.
Students can also get their photo taken at the NORML table in front
of the Student Union from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
“Hopefully we’ll have a stack of photos to drop off and show her,”