Way back in June, we posted about an all-campus email announcing two amendments to Wesleyan’s Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Policy. Then, the student uproar was over the ban, despite WSA consensus, of open containers of alcohol on University property. Today, the debate continues over the other element of that revision: a ban on the misuse of prescription drugs, particularly for academic performance enhancement, which many regard as a form cheating.
Specifically, some students think the policy should go further. Is using Ritalin, Adderall, or similar “smart drugs”—without a legal prescription—tantamount to seeking an unfair advantage, “much like steroid use in sports”? Why is this any different loading up on caffeine right before a test, or any other substance believed to enhance academic performance? Should the use (and misuse) of these drugs to increase alertness or concentration be treated as an honor code violation?
CBC radio show Q posed these questions on Monday, using Wesleyan’s honor code as an example (somewhat inaccurately—as Spahn points out at 1:39, Wesleyan’s policy does not currently treat study drugs as cheating, or as distinct from other illegal use of prescription drugs) and interviewing 2010 WSA presidential candidate Bradley Spahn ’11 on the use of these drugs at Wes. Spahn, according to the show, “led the campaign to get the use of prescription stimulants recognized as cheating”; he relates one anecdote in which he took an exam at Wes and later “found out probably most of the class had been taking these drugs.” (Natural question: how did he become privy to this information?)
A new week at Wesleying typically means a new issue for Wes students to get angry about, and the summer’s no exception. The Tour de Franzia debacle blew over and Mytheos’s trademark vitriol lost its edge, but Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Whaley flies to the rescue with an all-campus email announcing an amendment to Wesleyan’s AOD (Alcohol and Other Drug) Policy: a ban on misuse of prescription drugs and, more controversially, a ban on open containers of alcohol on University property:
Wesleyan policy also will prohibit open containers of alcohol on University property beginning this fall. This change brings our policy more in line with our peers, and should help us address problems associated with transient public drinking, clarify expectations for alcohol use on University property, and resolve discrepancies between University policy and existing City ordinances. The new policy will not prevent students of legal age from responsibly consuming alcohol in their residences (or in the backyards of senior houses); nor will it apply to registered events, such as University-sponsored activities, approved student parties, Spring Fling, etc. At the suggestion of some of the student leaders with whom I’ve consulted, members of the Wesleyan community who are of legal age will be permitted to responsibly consume alcohol on Foss Hill during daylight hours.
Previously, public consumption of alcohol by students of legal age was only banned in Usdan, academic buildings, and within 15 feet of a sidewalk or street. The possibility of an open container policy was discussed in an April 16 Argus article, wherein current WSA President-Elect and then Chair of the Policy and Accountability Committee Micah Feiring ’11 stated his firm opposition to the proposal: