February 23, 2005

Does everyone share this opinion?

Follow-up to Front–page Boar from We're ranting and raving here in Pedants' Corner...

I have two main questions:

1) Why should people who clearly have no respect for the rules/law be given a second chance? (Here, one might argue that they are already being given a second chance in being allowed to continue studying at Warwick.)

2) When the policy was passed in the Union General Meeting last term, it was passed with overwhelming majority. Does this result accurately reflect people's opinions on the University's current policy?

Please let me know.

- 17 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. I think the issue here is that the universities policy is out of line with the rest of society. If the police catch you smoking cannabis you will recieve a warning. The police however will leave the university to deal with warwick students on drugs matters because the universities policy of 0 strikes and you're out (i.e. thrown out of accomodation) is much hasher than anything they've got.

    While not condoning drugs use, it just seems reasonable that the university move in line with a general change in society and give students at least a second chance when caught smoking.

    23 Feb 2005, 12:03

  2. 1.) Why should people receive the most stringent punishment for a first offence? Even in places like Texas you get two chances before the really big guns are trained on you.

    2.) I don't know what the student body as a whole thinks of the policy, but I can't imagine they would be as out of step with the policy as you suggest.

    23 Feb 2005, 12:13

  3. Instead of actually answering James' questions, I'll respond to some of the responses.
    1) As James says, it's not "The most stringent punishment" – that surely would be expulsion from the University. It is the punishment as laid down in the tenancy agreement, and therefore an offence should incur it, whether it is the first time they are caught or not.
    2) This relates to James' second point, and what Daniel has said. If, for sake of argument, everyone in society answered this question: "Please state, in £, an ideal fine for cannabis use", there would be a mean fine as decided by society. My answer could well be above this mean fine – that presumably makes me "out of line with the rest of society". Does that mean I should change my opinion? No, of course not.
    The University has every right to proscribe tenancy conditions based on its opinion of the law on cannabis use. If people sign this, and then break the rules, then tough luck.

    23 Feb 2005, 12:41

  4. I think the issue is not whether people should have to abide by their tenancy agreement but whether the tenancy agreement is right in the first place.

    Also as the university is not an individual but a public educational body it has more of a responsibility to respect the will of society as a whole and its students.

    23 Feb 2005, 13:24

  5. One problem with the current system is that some tutors think the punishment is too harsh, and hence don't report students who are caught. Meaning that they just carry on undeterred.

    23 Feb 2005, 14:03

  6. You are probably right. If that is the case, the tutors should have more pride/respect for their university.

    23 Feb 2005, 14:26

  7. I guess you could also say people should stand up for what they believe in?

    23 Feb 2005, 16:17

  8. "Stand up for what they believe in" – that being the right to smoke illegal substances, breaking both the law and their tenancy agreement as laid down fairly at the start of their time on campus.


    24 Feb 2005, 14:45

  9. ..No. That being the belief that people deserve a second chance.

    I was refering to the tutors who allegedly choose not to follow the universities policy, and exercise their own judgement to give their students a second chance.

    24 Feb 2005, 14:59

  10. There's standing up for what you believe in – which is fantastic, and a result of our freedom of speech – and then there's taking the "law" into your own hands, and standing up for what you believe in and actually doing it to prove a point. The latter is not acceptable – it is a breach of rules by the people who are supposed to be upholding the very same rules. It would be like a policeman beating someone up… Oh wait…!


    24 Feb 2005, 15:59

  11. Sometimes there are unjust laws; see apartheid.

    24 Feb 2005, 16:08

  12. Doesn't mean they should be broken, does it?

    Anyway, my two original questions still remain.

    25 Feb 2005, 17:13

  13. 1) People should be given a second chance in this case because a) its not overlly harmful to most people other than the smoker themselves and b) as students people are still young and experimenting. Just becuase they sample drugs once does not mean they are full blooded anarchists who believe in no laws.

    2) I think it broadly does yes.

    And to reply to your question above. Yes, an unjust law should be resisted or else it will never change.

    25 Feb 2005, 18:56

  14. Let's just consider the implications of the suggested change for a second.

    Currently, if you're (stupid enough to be) caught smoking cannabis in halls, you're thrown out. I say stupid enough because, lets face it, it's very difficult to detect something that can be quietly done in your own room with no lasting evidence.

    The Union is proposing that the punishment for a first offence should be downgraded to a stern written warning. Let's be honest here, a stern written warning has no immediate implications. It's not really a punishment, and therefore not a deterrent.

    If the University changes it's rules as suggested, the message that sends out is: "You're free to smoke cannabis until we catch you once!" and with the detection rate as low as I imagine it to be then it almost equates to a license to toke.

    I think it's entirely fair that the University doesn't want its students sitting around all day smoking pot. I don't think anyone would reasonably argue that the law is unjust. The punishment for breaking the law must then be set so that it acts as a deterrent, and I can't think of anything else the University could impose that would be less harsh than expulsion from campus accommodation.

    Let's summarise:
    1) University doesn't want stoned students.
    2) University therefore needs deterrent.
    3) Only real sanctions are expulsion from course or accommodation.
    4) University chooses less harsh of the two.
    5) A written warning would encourage a culture where people smoke freely until they get their written warning (since it has no consequences) and then we're back to square one.

    Just my £0.02

    01 Mar 2005, 11:25

  15. Fair.


    01 Mar 2005, 11:58

  16. Kick them out and I hope the door doesn't hit their ass as it bangs shut. Drugs are more than a little pathetic, and frankly as Jon so rightly points out to get caught you'd have to be spectacularly dumb. Oh wait,, you were caught smoking pot, you ARE spectacularly dumb. To be fair though Warwick has much less of a drugs problem than I've seen elsewhere (e.g. my home town is worse) and I'm sure its the minority making noise. But that's the same as anything else. The union likes to stand up for minorities. I can think of no other reason for this other than because the feel they ought to.

    02 Mar 2005, 12:15

  17. shivangi

    i have a problem and ill be extremely grateful if u would be able to help me with it. i m planning to live off campus wen ill be studying in warwick university from september 2005. and ive found this house 10 minutes from warwick university @47 pound sterling per week… its an apartment of 4 people… can u tell me of a 4th person who might be interested in it. as despite trying really hard v have only been able to find 3 people. shiwangi_sinha@rediffmail.com

    16 Jul 2005, 09:27

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