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The Blue & Gray Press | September 24, 2017

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Administration Responds to Drug Policy Proposal

JOHANNAH O’KEEFE

In response to the March 26 Bullet article on student endorsement of a ‘second-chance’ drug policy, Ray Tuttle, director of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility, shared some administrative arguments against the new policy.
Tuttle’s concerns over the implication of a ‘second chance’ policy toward marijuana lay mainly in what he sees as misperceived benefits, and in the negative effects the policy might have on the greater UMW community and Fredericksburg.
At Mary Washington, any judicial violation, not just those that are drug-related, for which a student is found responsible remains on the student’s record while he or she is a student at UMW, and then for at least three years afterwards.
“A ‘second chance’ drug policy does not mean that the first incident wouldn’t be documented and adjudicated, and that it would have no practical impact on the student,” Tuttle said.
Under a second chance policy, a student found responsible for a marijuana violation would carry that violation on his or her educational record, but he or she would not be expelled from the school until found responsible for a second offense.
“Even if students are given a ‘second chance,’ Tuttle said, “and allowed to remain at the institution, they will need to ask themselves if potentially having a drug violation on their educational record is acceptable to them.”
According to Tuttle, many students charged with a drug violation at UMW choose to withdraw from the university rather than go through a judicial hearing and risk the violation appearing on their educational record.  He does not see how a ‘second chance’ policy would change this in a substantive way.
Tuttle also stressed that those students in favor of the new policy need to take into consideration how it might affect the greater UMW community.  He feels that a ‘second chance’ drug policy at the university might lead to an increase in drug use and drug trafficking in the area.
“Our current policy helps students and other members of the UMW community feel that this is a safe place to be,” he said. “That’s not a small thing.”

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