Understanding marijuana on campus


Photo illustration by Jack Lambert

Violations with marijuana on campus have increased over the years. The Wellness Center is looking to increase education on regulations and policies.

The Observer Staff

To kick off Marijuana Awareness Month, the Wellness Center has brought back Marijuana Mondays. On Feb. 1, Mackenzie Knowlden, a health education intern for the Wellness Center, kicked off this series talking about policies and important legal information regarding marijuana.

Guest speakers Jennifer Rentz-Hammond, coordinator of student rights and responsibilities at CWU, and Doug Fulp, med health educator from the Wellness Center, joined Knowlden by speaking on how marijuana affects  CWU.

CWU is funded by the state, which means that it must follow federal laws. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so therefore marijuana is not allowed on campus.

If the campus were to decide that it wanted to follow Washington state law rather than federal law, that would result in loss of funding for the university and much of that funding would immediately come from financial aid, possibly leaving students unable to attend college.

This school year there have been around 500 violations solely involving marijuana on campus.

“Since fall quarter of last year, the number of students with marijuana violations on campus has doubled,” Rentz-Hammond said. “Who knows what the cause of this increase was, but the numbers show something has changed.”

Day in and day out, Rentz-Hammond reads reports of students who have violated the student code of conduct. This includes not only drugs and alcohol, but also academic dishonesty. Her job is to uphold the student code of conduct and assist students with making the right steps forward after a violation. When it comes to drugs and alcohol, Rentz-Hammond and Fulp work hand in hand.

As Rentz-Hammond works on the legal side for students, Fulp works on the health side. When it comes to violations, it is not something that is taken lightly by Fulp. Everyday he takes time to educate and help students who come in with violations, but students do not always follow up with him. On average, of the students with violations, only 50 of them actually show up for their required meeting, he said.

At the Wellness Center, Fulp and other staff members continue to make efforts to come up with new programs to assist students with a positive direction forward. The biggest struggle that they have found is that alcohol-related violations and marijuana-related violations are not held at the same standard. The Wellness Center is working to change that perception.

The next three Mondays of February, Knowlden will discuss different marijuana related topics at 5 p.m. in SURC 140. For more information, you can visit the Wellness Center in SURC 139.