Blasphemy: College Reporter Quotes Us in Defense of the HEA Drug Provision

Ordinarily a lame anti-drug editorial in a college paper would escape our attention. Not this time. Nicki Croly of The State Hornet in Sacramento uses statistics from our website in defense of the HEA drug provision:

Some people would argue that this law makes it even harder for minorities to get a college education. This argument is invalid because according to www.stopthedrugwar.com, there are no statistics indicating that African-Americans use drugs at a higher rate.

Croly’s interpretation of this statistic is just plain wrong. It’s true that drug use among African-Americans is equal on average to that of Whites. But arrests, convictions, and punishments such as the denial of financial aid for college are imposed upon people of color at alarmingly disproportionate rates.

Furthermore, I highly doubt that our site mentions drug use rates among African-American without also noting the disparity with regards to arrests, convictions, and sentencing. For example, here’s a statement from our HEA talking points page:

Minorities are disproportionately affected by the HEA drug provision. While African Americans make up 13% of the population and 13% of drug users, they account for 55% of all drug convictions. The disparate racial impact of drug law enforcement will inevitably spread into the realm of higher education via this law. Accordingly, minority groups have far higher percentages of their members who are ineligible for federal
financial aid than whites. Currently, more African American men are in prison than in college.

So yes, the HEA drug provision absolutely hurts minorities more than anyone else. But that’s just one of a whole host of problems created by this counterproductive law. Here’s ten more:

  1. College education is proven to reduce drug use. Therefore, forcing students out of college obviously and undeniably increases drug use overall.
  2. The HEA drug provision only affects good students. If you’re getting bad grades you can’t get aid anyway.
  3. Students arrested for drugs get punished in court. It’s not like they’re getting away with anything.
  4. Many students misunderstand the rules and give up on college even though they’re actually eligible. Their lives are changed forever.
  5. Taking away opportunities from students sends a message that we don't want them to succeed in life. All students must be encouraged, not pushed down.
  6. Regaining eligibility by completing rehab is often impossible because it’s more expensive than school. Nor does getting busted for drugs necessarily mean that you need rehab.
  7. Most HEA victims were busted for small time marijuana possession. Casual marijuana use has nothing to do with success in college. Trust me.
  8. The HEA drug provision fails to address the most significant drug problem on college campuses: alcohol.
  9. The HEA drug provision only targets low-income students. These are the very people the HEA is supposed to help.
  10. Judges already have the authority to revoke financial aid. If a judge meets the student in court and doesn’t want to revoke aid, we should respect that decision.

The HEA drug provision causes drug abuse by driving students away from school and towards drugs. If you support the HEA drug provision, you support drug abuse.
Location: 
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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A note from the Opinon Editor of the State Hornet

Nicki Croly's article was well-written and accurate when it was submitted to me. Due to an EDITOR ERROR, erroneous information was added, post-submission. Though this information was supposed to be cut, it was not and the fault rests on the Opinion Editor. The incarceration statistics were originally included in the article, but were cut due to spacing issues. What I failed to do was cut the quote about minorities and drug use. For that, I apologize. The quote was wrong, as was the blame. Croly did nothing unethical, only stated her opinion and backed it up to the best of her ability. I hope you will take this into consideration, as I have already contacted your organization via telephone and apologized personally. I hope you will continue to allow the Hornet to use your website as a source of information, assuming there are more precautions taken during the editing process. Thank you.
Lauren S. King
Opinion Editor
Sacramento State Hornet
(916) 278-7300
[email protected]

"well-written and accurate"

Speak for yourself Ms. King.

Nicki's article was her responsibility. I realize in this day and age we can make simple airs to shift the blame but in the thinking world that just doesn't work. We are tired of your defamatory "mistakes".

We're going to have to agree to disagree when it comes to what is ethical as well. Is it ethical to write a piece full of government propaganda and pseudoscience to back up your own waspy, judgmental view of the rest of your student body? Are phrases like "If you choose to ruin your life" and "students who do the right thing" really within the realm of opinion or do they sound more like judge and jury? The misrepresentation of the facts here at StopTheDrugWar was only the icing on the cake you see.

Nicki should consider herself a lucky girl. She goes to school, has a job, a fancy cell phone, and a roof over her head. It's the latter she doesn't pay for and by her own admission. You know, I know people that smoke pot and pay for those things all on their own without having to ask mommy and daddy or "the man" for help. Now that would be worthy of an article though it might take some actual work.

Anonymous?

Do you feel cool now Mr./Ms Anonymous? It's easy to attack a columnist who puts their name out there and their opinion while you hid beyond anonymous. You can disagree with Croly's points and make educated arguements but to make assumptions about her personally is just plain ignorant. Ms. King's comment made it pretty simple to me- it was an editor error, not a columnist error. King took responsibilty for her addition of misinformation. End of story.

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