To whom it may concern,

I am a first-year at EMU, but the school is not new to me as my older siblings have all come here for college. One thing that has interested me over the years is EMU’s changing policies in terms of substances. As the general public’s opinion and usage of substances change, so must the university’s guidelines in terms of how they react to students’ possession and usage. To be very clear, I am not requesting that EMU support students’ drinking, smoking, or otherwise — simply that we as students understand the consequences if we partake in illicit substances.

As far as I understand, in the past the school has had a zero-tolerance policy in terms of all substances, and being caught with anything would result in fairly strict punishment. However, recently they have opened up the doors for a more restorative justice route to consequences. After reading over the code of conduct — which can be found on the EMU website under student life, student conduct and conflict worksheet — I do not have many critiques of it. One of my arguable issues is the fact that possession of alcohol paraphernalia is a level 2 offense automatically. This is unfair in my mind simply because you cannot get drunk with just a shot glass, you actually need some sort of alcohol as well; a glass is just a glass. On top of this I would argue that it is safer to drink with a shot glass than without because you have a measurement, whereas when taking swigs from a bottle you do not know how much you have drunk.

Putting the actual code of conduct aside, my original purpose with this editorial was to request that EMU release a list of consequences, as I did not know that they had one. I had asked many other students, as well as my transitions professor if they knew what the actual punishment for being caught with a substance would be, and no one had any idea. This included the people, my transitions professor as well, who searched the EMU website attempting to find it. My RD finally emailed me the link when I requested it.

Thus, my call to action for EMU is no longer to publish a list, it is now to have EMU make students aware that it is published. This is not a call for EMU to endorse drinking. I realize that they are a university and thus rules must be in place, but because substance use will occur, I believe that we as students should not be left with an open-ended fear of consequences. Especially as an incoming student, I for one would have appreciated a brief addition to the orientation meetings in which we look over the list of offenses and corresponding punishments. Please consider solutions to this issue, as I believe it to be a simple fix.

Thoreau Zehr

Staff Writer

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