The following letter was written in response to “One-Strike Policy is More than Neccessary” (April 3, 2008, The Bullet:)
I couldn’t tell if the article written last week by Mr. McCrumb was a joke or not, but the UMW Zero Tolerance policy is a serious topic. Being expelled is a life-changing experience. It can destroy friendships, financial situations, and years of hard work. I agree that the “’One-Strike’ policy is more than necessary.” It goes too far. It threatens a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime.
I also was ashamed by the article, because it makes our school look bad. Much of the article is lacking an understanding of introductory level statistics, logic, and grammar. The use of drugs is something that is a personal choice with personal consequences, the argument that it affects the society as a whole is untrue and based on faulty logic and statistics.
It is important when writing in an institution of higher education to be careful not to disregard the principles of the area of study to which you are attempting to discredit. McCrumb stated that, “Maybe that one is a statistical outlier, but it illustrates a good point.” However, outliers in statistics are usually removed from statistical analysis, because of the random chance of error that may lead to a result that doesn’t make sense.
Therefore, a statistical outlier should not be used to illustrate a point, because that point runs counter to what the rest of the data predicts is actually happening.
In the following sentence look-alike McCrumb states, “Responsibility, willingness to accept that one has broken the law and accept the consequence.” This must be a rare occurrence, because said person is considered an outlier. It is obvious that people do not respect the law when they or their friends are the victim of it.
The law is, in and of itself, incapable of ensuring that people will respect or follow it. That is because the process of democracy has traditionally been to break down laws that are no longer viewed as legitimate by the people.
There have been, and still exist, many racist Jim Crow laws. Many consider these laws to be illegitimate, so they are not followed. Almost two-thirds, enough to ratify the constitution of the United States, feels that this law is unfair and therefore illegitimate. “Yet if you feel compassion for someone, would you wish evil on them?” I would not wish evil upon them by enforcing an illegitimate and undemocratic law.
The article states that, “according to the survey, 21 percent have violated the policy on not using illegal drugs which is a violation of the honor code which, last I checked, we still pretend has some hold on us,” is appalling to me, because, like McCrumb said, “some people do still hold honor in high regard.”
I still hold honor in high regard. And isn’t it dishonorable to say that something is a violation of the Honor Code, when nowhere in the Honor Code or the application for admission into the University of Mary Washington does it ask whether the person has used an illegal drug?
Therefore, stating that the 21 percent of the population of Mary Washington that have tried an illegal drug have violated the Honor Code by lying, is itself a lie and a violation of the Honor Code, especially when McCrumb explicitly states, “last I checked.” This is because he obviously did not check to make sure his information was factual before he submitted it to the Bullet.
If you are in support of changing the Zero Tolerance policy to treat cannabis the same way that alcohol is treated, you should show your support on Monday, April 21, at the Drug Policy Reform Rally outside of Monroe. Here’s how you can help change the drug policy:
1) Email SGA president Krishna Sinha (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Board of Visitors (email@example.com) that you want the policy changed.
2) Join our campaign at Students for a Democratic Society, Wednesdays @ 9:30 p.m. in Monroe Lobby
3) Sign the Drug Policy Reform and BOV Reform petitions.
Jeff May is a senior.