To blaze or not to blaze?

Matt Park

Following election season, the Whittier College community is still processing the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. 

This year, there were also many propositions on the ballot that warranted heavy discussion, with Proposition 64 arguably being one of the most notable. 

Proposition 64 did end up passing with a 59-43 vote, effectively legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the state of California. 

With recreational marijuana legalized in the state, it remains to be discussed how this will impact the Whittier College campus. 

While there are no changes to the Student Code of Conduct for this year, there is still potential for changes to be made for next year.  Although nothing has been planned at the moment, Associate Dean Joshua Hartman described the implications of changing the Code of Conduct. 

Currently the Code of Conduct states that using marijuana on campus is prohibited.

“Our policies reflect both the state and federal laws,” said Hartman. “I would say though that it’s important to take a look at the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, because that’s something we have to abide by. We’ll have to see what that regulation says in regards to states legalizing marijuana, because that’s something that’s been happening a lot more lately.”

Law changes are recognized by administration, but a change to the Code of Conduct isn’t something that takes place during the middle of a school year. “The Code of Conduct is basically a contract that is put out at the beginning of the year that outlines all the policies in place for the entire school year,” said Hartman.  “So, in that sense, it would be really unfair for us [administration] to go back and change things during the middle of the school year in any way. We need to be consistent.”

Making changes this year is out of the question however, Hartman confirmed that there will be discussions about the marijuana issue taking place in the Spring.  “We’re going to have a bunch of focus group meetings during the Spring about the Code of Conduct and hearings, so that’s going to create a lot of opportunities for people to come in and have open discussions about this issue.” 

Hartman pointed out that the entire Whittier College community needs to take part in this discussion, and most importantly, faculty and administration. 

“Faculty will be particularly important …. and will allow us to talk about what this means for our campus, both academically and intellectually, and how this plays into our vision as a school,” said Hartman.  

He also elaborated on the importance of having a large and broad discussion to avoid any potential problems. “For example, the National Collegiate Athletics Association [NCAA] has very strict policies in place that they may not be willing to budge on,” said Hartman. “So we need to understand that if any policies contradict each other, that could be problematic.”

Between faculty, athletics, and administration,the most important voice in this discussion will be the voice of the student body.  “This is my first year here, so I’m not sure what the past process has been,” said Hartman. “But looking forward, I believe that this is something that students need to be involved in. And not just students who are super involved in things.”

The Associate Dean encourages all members of the Whittier College community to voice their opinions on the matter. “I think it needs to be a wide-array of students,” Hartman said. “We can get students who are involved in writing for the QC, who work for LEAP, or are involved in ASWC … but since we do want a broad student voice, I think the students who do not speak out as much are those that we need to hear from.”