Very simple, zero tolerance

By John Del Sordo
September 20, 2001

by John Del Sordo

staff writer

According to a new report from Harvard School of Public Health researchers, recent marijuana use among U.S. college students rose from 12.9 percent to 15.7 percent between 1993 and 1999, an increase of 22 percent. With side effects ranging from mood alteration, to the destruction of major brain cells, the damage that marijuana can potentially inflicts on college students can easily be seen. Colleges across the United States, both private and public, have begun to take more serious action against drug offenders in hope that all students will eventually get the message. At Cabrini College, in Radnor, PA, things are no different. The college clearly states in its student handbook, that Cabrini College is concerned with illegal and unauthorized marijuana use, and views it as detrimental to the achievement of institutional and individual goals. Unless, if an individual’s goal is to get high, then this does not apply. Illegal marijuana use on campus is being addressed by Cabrini College’s Public Safety Department. This department will show zero tolerance when dealing with the presence of marijuana.

Cabrini College also enforces a constructive possession policy. As stated in the student handbook, in a situation where the illegal possession or use of marijuana exists, everyone in an area can be charged with “constructive possession,” and all individuals may be held liable for the violation. However, how can one be sure that marijuana is present? The presence of the odor of marijuana, verified by two or more College staff members is considered evidence of drug use. Although these staff members are no drug-sniffing German Shepards, they are trained to be able to identify the scent and appearance of marijuana. If marijuana is suspected or present, with full respect for a student’s right to privacy, the student’s residence hall room may be searched by a College Official.

When a student is found guilty of breaking the college’s marijuana policy, the Public Safety department will properly cite that student. If a student found guilty lives on campus, after being cited, the residence life department will determine whether eviction is necessary. In most cases, the student will be evicted, and banned from all residence halls for the remainder of the college year. Students must keep in mind that Cabrini College does not take illegal drugs lightly, and the Public Safety Department will enforce the marijuana policy to its fullest extent. When Director of Public Safety Charles E. Shaffner was asked how he would describe Cabrini College’s current marijuana policy, and how it is being enforced, he replied, “Very Simple, Zero Tolerance.”

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