Monday, March 20, 2006

Franklin Pierce College SGA Rejects CHEAR Resolution

Two weeks ago, I brought a resolution to the Franklin Pierce College Student Government asking them to join the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform and endorse the full repeal of the HEA Drug Provision. To my suprise, the SGA voted not to endorse the repeal, some claiming a negative image for Franklin Pierce and others even claiming that, despite the facts, this law deters drug use among college students. The FPC student government could possibly be the first student government to ever turn down this resolution.

I was honestly suprised to see so much resistance from a student government. Our SSDP chapter tabled for weeks, distributing information about this coalition and the Drug Provision's many flaws. We also obtained, at the request of our student government, more than 350 student signatures asking the SGA to endorse repeal and join the 120 other student governments that make up this coalition. 350 students do not even turn out to vote for our SGA members during elections. Still the SGA voted no, 14-17, with many abstaining from voting at all.

I was told that even if the FPC Student Government did pass this resolution, the administration would have to approve of the Franklin Pierce name becoming part of CHEAR. However, they were not able to prove this and I cannot see how this could be possible. What would be the point of a student government if they're voice was silenced by the school's administration? The issue of funding being removed from the student government's budget was also brought up, but once again not confirmed by any students or faculty present at the meeting.

We are bringing the resolution back to a new senate in April and hoping for a better outcome. While I was greatly disappointed with our student government's decision, I feel that it only further verifies the need for an SSDP chapter on our campus. As you all know, our mission is to promote an open, honest, and rational discussion about alternative solutions to our nation's drug problems and I feel many members of our SGA were unable to do so.

If anyone has experienced a similar situation at their school, please contact me.


Justin Holmes said...

Did you get a roll call on the vote?

Sounds like a great issue around which
to run a drug policy reform ticket for Student Government! :)

Jonathan Perri said...

Yes, we did indeed get a roll call. We are making packets full of info to put into the mailboxes of SGA members, and will be bombarding those that voted no. Also made a facebook page "FPC Students who Support Equal Access to Education" for students join and get info.