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Student Senate debates marijuana policy

Nov. 8, 2007
By Jessica Alfrey

Student Senate voted 26-11 Wednesday night in favor of a proposal that would create distinctions between student alcohol and marijuana violations following a discussion that Vice President for Student Affairs Kent Smith said gave him great pride in Ohio University's students.

Last week, Smith presented two possible protocols to the senate. Under Protocol A, if a student on probation for an alcohol offense were caught with marijuana, or vice versa, it would count as his or her second offense. However, under Protocol B, such an infraction would count as a first offense. Both approaches drew comments.

Academic Affairs Senator Chris Diehl said it was the senate's duty to act in the best interest of the student body, and he felt Protocol B would best do that. Diehl's concern with Protocol A was that it wouldn't allow enough room for judiciary discretion.

"Mandatory minimums are very helpful at lower level cases, but it doesn't take into account the human element," he said. "I think that's one of the major reasons that we have hearing boards."

Chauncey Jackson, senator for South Green, spoke against Protocol B.

"Look at the message that we'll be sending to the student body and the university community," Jackson said. "We must take into account not just what the students want, but what's in their best interests; at some point you have to take responsibility for your actions." 

Smith said he was pleased the protocols received ample debate.

"My proudest moment is to witness student debate in a very pure form," Smith said after the meeting. "As a Student Affairs professional, it is good to see this depth of discussion and debate regarding an issue that is important to students."

He said he would take the senate resolution into consideration in his decision on a protocol for marijuana offenses. He also will factor in a 4-3 vote favoring Protocol A by the Review and Standards Committee, a standing university committee. He hopes to announce a decision on the protocol within two weeks.

In other action, the senate passed a resolution calling for the emerging Five-Year Academic Action Plan to include mention of the 340-plus student organizations on campus and "increase the wherewithal of the Student Activities Commission to enhance student programming across campus." A separate resolution requesting that the university extend discussion about the academic plan also was approved.

In an informational presentation to the senate, College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean Jack Brose provided details on the college's history, accomplishments and research endeavors.

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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