Feb 252002

The U.S. Department of Education granted CSU $350,000 this semester to implement an unprecedented drug and alcohol policy course – one which would give students an option other than expulsion.

In years past, CSU students with serious alcohol- or drug-related charges have been dismissed from the university, resulting in the loss of millions of tuition dollars for CSU and the loss of education for those students.

The new program, dubbed “Day IV: Drugs, Alcohol and You,” would offer an alternative for students who have violated the university’s substance abuse policies. Students must first qualify for the “drug court” according to a series of state and university regulations, and they must meet with a case manager who would monitor their progress.

The program is the first of its kind in the nation, and we commend CSU’s innovation in creating such a student-friendly option.

While students certainly shouldn’t be allowed to roam around campus intoxicated out of their minds, studies show that most expelled students caught in substance abuse cases are out-of-state freshmen. A lot of these kids are living away from home for the first time, and are faced with greater access to drugs and alcohol. Some are probably overwhelmed by their freedom and don’t know any better, but that’s no reason to expel them from school.

The drug court would prevent undeserving students from being forced out of the university, while at the same time ensuring their safety and the proper repercussions for substance abuse.

At the same time, however, the university must be aware that as a pioneer in this area, it has room for error. Program leaders should look for ways to improve the system in the future as they implement this interesting strategy.

The drug court program was in its pilot stage last semester and rapidly increased the success rate for student retention from zero to 86 percent. This is great – obviously, the system is working – but we hope CSU finds a way to maintain the safety of all its students while working to keep them involved in the university community.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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