Face-off: Drug policy: too harsh or not tough enough? – too harsh

We’ve all seen the fliers hanging in the residence halls and around campus, and they all tell us the same thing: If you are caught with drugs, you’ll lose housing.
Being kicked off of campus is a severe punishment. If a student lives far away from campus, what is he or she supposed to do now? Many questions go unanswered by that simple, unassuming flier. You lose housing — but then what?
Usually you don’t hear about a student possessing drugs in comparison to other offenses. Yet, the school has such a strict punishment for this. They don’t openly threaten this level of punishment for anything else. Rider is fairly lax about many things.
Fines are given freely for anything that fits into the category of fire-code violations. You have a bamboo corkboard in your room? For shame. Yet for noise violations, which can really interfere with the sleep or studying of other students, it seems as if nothing substantial is done beyond the issuing of vague threats every so often.
It doesn’t make sense to give such a harsh punishment to someone caught with drugs, when the policies on everything else are lax in comparison and seem less actively enforced. Think about the difference in the drug and alcohol policies.
According to The Source, the policy for alcohol goes by something like a “three-strike” rule. It becomes more complicated than that when you consider the “tiers” within this policy. If you abuse alcohol, you get three chances with different results depending on the exact violation that is perpetrated. Therefore, it takes considerably more violations to lose housing because of alcohol-related offenses.
While the consequences of abusing alcohol on campus are sometimes discussed, but not threatened to us by every passing flier, the consequences of using drugs on campus are shouted from the rooftops. In fact, those posters could be accused of exaggerating the actual punishment. The various levels of punishment for drug use on campus are listed in The Source, but instead of mentioning any other repercussions, these fliers are all made to jump to the harsh and scary-sounding threat of losing housing.
When a student is vomiting in the bathroom, nobody jumps to the conclusion that he or she probably smoked too much weed. Until I see people staggering through the hallways, throwing up in the bathroom or yelling slurred profanities across the hall and think “drug abuse,” maybe Rider should calm down with the harsh punishment.
-Meghan Meehan
Sophomore journalism major


Printed in the 2/29/14 edition.

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