Pell Grants, SEOG Grants, SMART Grants, ACG Grants, Work-Study, Stafford, and PLUS Loans. All forms of federal financial aid that help provide and pay for the college education of a large number of students at Wesleyan and across the country. Today, however, while appreciative of the programs, perhaps we aren’t fully appreciative of the situation students of yore (read: mid-eighties) had to put up with in order to participate in federal financial aid programs.
More detail, including vintage Argus archival finds, after the jump.
As stated by a front-page Argus article from fall, 1986, students receiving any form of federal financial aid across the nation were subject to mandatory urine tests for any form of illegal substances.
“According to Dean of the College Edgar Beckham, the testing will determine ‘whether the student has taken any illegal drugs within a six month period.'” Students who were found to have used any illegal drugs would have been barred from enrollment at Wesleyan, pending registration with a “certified drug rehabilitation program.”
The bill requiring such drug testing was passed by House and Senate Republicans, and signed into law by then President Ronald Reagan, immediately prior to the November, 1986, elections.
Urine cups with students’ names and social security number printed on them would be placed in students’ mail boxes. Students would then have to bring them to Registration, fill them, and submit them for screening. Apparently, in order to prevent tampering with urine samples, Public Safety would “‘verify the urination process.'” Personally, I’m glad they stick to just busting up parties these days.
Then President of the University Collin Campbell was willing to submit the first urine test, “thus symbolizing Wesleyan’s concern over the drug crisis.”
“Student reaction to the new law was mixed.” To quote Larry S. Sanders ’88, “The new law sucks. [. . .] Ronald Reagan always looks incredibly drugged. Why can’t I verify his test?”
This issue of the Argus also featured a full-page advertisement, featuring an Erlenmeyer flask, with the slogan “FILL IT UP For Financial Aid”.
See below for a photo of the whole article.
Also, check out an unrelated advertisement for what may be the neatest place in Middletown, Lunar Station II arcade. Show up on Friday night in an alien costume and get two free games! I wonder what took its place?