Alert: Tell Congress to Repeal the HEA Drug Provision in Full 3/15/02

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DRCNet, in partnership with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, is leading a major national campaign to repeal the Higher Education Act Drug Provision, a law that delays or denies students with drug convictions their eligibility for federal financial aid for college -- over 40,000 people this school year alone. But the author of the Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), is trying hard to divert attention from the repeal effort by focusing on one narrow change, limiting the law's impact to students who were enrolled in school and receiving aid at the time of their offense.

Such a change would help some small percentage of the people hurt by the drug provision and would be welcome for that reason. But it is a 5% solution to a law that is 100% flawed: Only full repeal addresses the serious education and discrimination concerns raised by educational, civil rights, religious, drug policy reform and other groups for the past three years. That's why we need you to help us send a loud and clear message to Congress that this law is fundamentally flawed and should be repealed in full.

Please visit http://www.raiseyourvoice.com to tell Congress you want them to remove the drug war from education and pass H.R. 786, a bill that would repeal the drug provision and which already has 57 Congressional cosponsors. When you're done, please call your US Representative on the phone to make an even stronger impact -- you can call them via the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or visit http://www.house.gov to look up their direct numbers.

Students, visit http://www.raiseyourvoice.com/students.html to find out how to get involved with the campaign on your campus. 87 student governments so far have endorsed our resolution calling for repeal of the drug provision. If you're already at work on this, please write us at [email protected] and let us know what's happening. Also, visit http://www.raiseyourvoice.com/download.html for an online copy of our activist packet. (Leave your e-mail address if you want to be notified of updates on the HEA campaign. Also, we will be updating the download packet within the next week.)

Please forward this alert to your friends or use the tell-a-friend form that will come up on your screen after you send your letter. And please consider making a donation -- large or small -- to keep this effort moving forward at full speed. Though our funding situation for 2002 is very promising, we've had a shortfall of the non-tax-deductible lobbying funds that are needed for the HEA campaign itself. Visit http://www.drcnet.org/donate/ to help, or mail your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. (Contact us for instructions if you wish to make a donation of stock.)

Again, visit http://www.raiseyourvoice.com to write to Congress and get involved in the campaign! Here are some reasons the HEA drug provision is wrong:

  • The vast majority of Americans convicted of drug offenses are convicted of nonviolent, low-level possession.
  • The HEA drug provision represents a penalty levied only on the poor and the working class; wealthier students will not have the doors of college closed to them for want of financial aid.
  • Judges already have the power to rescind financial aid eligibility as individual cases warrant. The HEA drug provision removes that discretion.
  • The HEA drug provision has a disparate impact on different races. African Americans, for example, who comprise 13% of the population and 13% of all drug users, account for more than 55% of those convicted of drug possession charges.
  • No other class of offense carries automatic loss of financial aid eligibility.
  • Access to a college education is the surest route to the mainstream economy and a crime-free life.

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Issue #228, 3/15/02 Editorial: What Is It About Opium? | DRCNet Launching John W. Perry Scholarship Fund for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions at NYC Event on March 26 | Alert: Tell Congress to Repeal the HEA Drug Provision in Full | DOJ Study Takes Ominous Look at Drug and Drug Policy Web Sites | Britain Continues Brisk March to Drug Reform | Drug War Drives Federal Criminal Court Cases, No Let-Up Last Year | Sentencing Reform Passes in Washington State, Governor Will Sign Bill | Danish Politicians Seek Cannabis Crackdown in Christiania | Canadian Doctors Call for Marijuana Decriminalization, Treating Addiction as Medical Problem | US Drug Warriors Lose Again at UN | Government-Commissioned Study of White House Anti-Drug Ad Campaign Says $1.50 Billion Program Fails to Reduce Teen Use | Resources: New York Magazine, UN on Afghani Opium, US on Colombian Coca | Alerts: HEA, Bolivia, DEA Hemp Ban, SuperBowl Ad, Ecstasy Legislation, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, Virginia | The Reformer's Calendar
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