Friday, July 20, 2007

New 'Get Tough' Policy at Ohio University Saw Increase in Pot Use

The Frat Boy News Pause for the Cause for the Weekend

Ohio University
(compiled by The Intelligencer)

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis has been the target of criticism by some disgruntled students and faculty members, but it appears he’s on the right track concerning at least one issue of importance to the institution.

We suspect that McDavis’ “get-tough” policy concerning alcohol abuse by students was behind some of the criticism he has weathered this spring and summer. University trustees reviewed his work and last month gave him a positive performance evaluation. They also reappointed him to the presidency for the coming year.

Last week, university officials released information concerning the number of alcohol-related offenses involving students during the previous school year. It happens that the numbers were recorded at the same time as OU launched a new, tougher policy concerning alcohol abuse by students.

The school recorded 32 percent fewer alcohol violations last year than during the previous year. “We not only saw a downward trend, we saw a significant downward trend,” noted Dean of Students Terry Hogan.

That should please students at the university’s main campus in Athens — the vast majority of whom aren’t there to major in Partying 101.

The new policy indeed is of the “get-tough” variety: Students caught violating it are subjected to a no-questions-asked $100 fee. They are required to attend alcohol education classes and, if the offenses are serious enough, can be suspended for a year. Repeat offenders can be expelled.

Clearly, the policy championed by McDavis is doing some good at OU.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the number of marijuana-related offenses at OU was up last year — by 24 percent in comparison to the previous year. Three hundred thirty-one marijuana-related offenses were recorded during the past school year.

University officials have responded to that by announcing that a new policy concerning use of marijuana by students will be in place for the 2007-08 school year.

No doubt that will draw a rain of new criticism down on McDavis. But, as has been the case with the alcohol crackdown, a tougher response to marijuana use will make OU an even better place for most students.

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