CONTACT: Jonathan Perri, SSDP Associate Director – (401) 265-9445 or email@example.com
Erik Haslinger, NIU SSDP Publicity Chair – (815) 575-9420
Northern Illinois University Student Group Denied Recognition for Views on Drug Policy
Students for Sensible Drug Policy claim the NIU Student Association Senate violated their First Amendment Rights.
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy have been denied recognition as an official student organization for the second time after the group refused to classify itself as a political group and asked to be considered a social justice advocacy group. The decision means the group cannot meet on campus, post flyers or apply for funding. However, groups involved in similar advocacy work but on different issues, including anti-abortion groups, are eligible to receive funding.
“It’s clear that the NIU Student Association Senate is incapable of fairly imposing it’s policies on student groups and after speaking with lawyers and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), we believe that the NIU Student Association Senate is in violation of the First Amendment,” explained Jonathan Perri, Associate Director at SSDP. “Unfortunately, it also seems that some members of the Senate are simply opposed to SSDP’s mission to promote an open and rational discussion about alternatives to current drug policies, including marijuana legalization, and that this may be the basis for their decision.”
FIRE and SSDP believe that the Senate has specifically violated all five of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Perri explained that it is uncommon for SSDP to have such difficulty with becoming an official group. “We have chapters on almost 150 campuses around the country and have been active for 12 years. This is the first time I’ve seen such blatant unfairness from a student government and we ask that NIU President John G. Peters immediately intervene and protect NIU student rights.”
SSDP hopes to work with NIU administrators to ensure that student speech and rights are protected for all groups on campus. A petition hosted at Change.org has been created, asking NIU President Peters to take action.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society. SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.
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