By Colton Williams
After meeting with student representatives on August 20, and presenting a revised student drug policy proposal to the Board of Regents, Vice-Chancellor Brigety announced today that the enforcement policies originally laid out on July 30 in an email and detailed in a video on August 18 are no longer in force. All students suspended under those policies have been reinstated.
Brigety said: “Effectively immediately, we are ending the enforcement of the zero-tolerance policy as outlined in a July 30 email. We are placing a moratorium on University student-conduct enforcement related to use and misdemeanor possession of drugs and alcohol until we have a full review of the student code in this regard. The student suspended under the July 30 policy have been reinstated as of today. As always, any applicable state and federal drug and alcohol laws may be enforced for drug and alcohol possession and use violations on campus, as they would be anywhere else.”
He continued, “Please know that I care about each of you and am committed to your development and growth during and after your time at Sewanee. Sometimes, challenging circumstances that cause anger, pain or disappointment can lead to even further enlightenment and growth. I hope, in this particularly challenging time, we can continue to dwell together in unity.”
Brigety added that beginning in January there will be a formal review on the entire student code.
On August 20, student leaders – including representatives from Student Government Association and the Honor Council – met with Vice-Chancellor Brigety to discuss the new enforcement procedures of the University’s drug and alcohol policy.
The student leaders said that Brigety expressed openness to revise the policy. The students drafted a new proposal for the drug and alcohol policy, and Brigety presented it to the Board of Regents on the morning of August 21.
Ivana Porashka (C’21), SGA president, and Mandy Tu (C’21), Order of the Gown president, sent an email to students on Friday stating that “Vice-Chancellor Brigety was more than willing to work with us as your elected representatives and has expressed a deep interest in continuing the collaboration with the student body.”
In the late afternoon of August 21, Vice-Chancellor Brigety released a video to students and parents that detailed the changes.
You can argue, and I would, that zero-tolerance creates problems while solving others. But the other side of the coin is that it is perhaps the only time when justice can lay claim to being blind. A more forgiving approach with various exceptions and places for discretion, while probably the better option, always unfairly favors privileged folks, who in extreme cases see themselves above the law and create an environment that endangers both themselves and others. I appreciate the VC’s willingness—anybody’s willingness, actually—to reconsider decisions made in good faith that may need further review. But I also very much appreciate his underlying firm commitment to make Sewanee an even more consequential place known for academic excellence and learning and ranked accordingly. There is, as we all know, a significant demographic shift in college-age students coming in about five years, and the higher our standing when it hits, the more likely it will be that we will weather that storm well and a Sewanee degree will maintain its unique value.
Professor of Classics and Ancient Christianity
I’m struck by the fact that the students and some alumni have risen up in solidarity to protect their sacred right to get drunk and high. Does this support the idea that college students in general are unserious and childish? Maybe the parents should think twice before shelling out obscene amounts of money on often useless degrees.
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