Editorial: Don’t let housing go up in smoke

There are times in life when we all take risks — it’s human nature to want to test the limits of a rule or boundary. As students, we tend to play a lot with the restrictions of campus policy, thinking we can usually get away with our actions and come out without a scratch. Yet lately, more and more people are getting caught with marijuana and other paraphernalia on campus, which results in large consequences for all students.
We’ve read it in The Rider News’ security briefs, we may know a peer it has happened to, or maybe we witnessed Public Safety run off to bust someone. It seems that students are increasingly turning a blind eye to campus rules and New Jersey laws. In return they’re getting kicked off campus and possibly put in handcuffs.
Director of the Office of Community Standards Keith Kemo believes there has been a rise in incidents of marijuana possession and smoking, which can lead to many sanctions — a crucial one being the loss of on-campus housing. With a more serious charge, financial aid can also be taken from you. Though in the grand scheme of things, these consequences may seem small compared to being arrested, housing is a big deal for students.
It seems as though Rider is starting to take more action against smoking pot on campus now than ever before. While there may have been a rise in the number of incidents lately, Kemo explained that campus marijuana issues are cyclical at Rider.
In accordance with this recent “reefer” crackdown, the Office of Community Standards has tried to reinforce the policy with two posters around residence halls. One flier dons a marijuana leaf and reads, “Do Drugs, Lose Housing,” which explains that the lowest sanction to that violation is the loss of housing. The other has a picture of Uncle Sam pointing and says, “BEWARE Marijuana is still illegal for you to smoke,” and cites the pertinent New Jersey law and Rider policy.
These posters address a serious and relevant topic on campus, and have certainly attracted students’ attention. Kemo believes that there is probably a mixed reaction to the posters and some students may have laughed and hung them in their room, but he hopes that most take them seriously. Although a more creative approach, the message is presented in a way that students can relate to. It makes them aware of the huge risk that accompanies getting high on campus.
These consequences have always been a part of Rider’s policy, yet they are now being posted on walls and put into action more for students to see. Even though students may see this punishment as harsh for a first offense, it is beneficial to the overall campus well-being that Rider is trying harder to nip marijuana smoking and possession in the bud.
Many people, including students, don’t see smoking pot as a serious drug or issue. Regardless of your view on the subject, smoking or possessing pot on campus is against Rider policy, period. Educate yourself on the campus’ Code of Conduct and know what you could be losing before you decide to light up on university property.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Kristy Grinere.

Printed in the 3/1/13 edition.

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