Pubdate: Mon, 28 Apr 2003
Source: Rebel Yell (Las Vegas, NV Edu)
Copyright: 2003 Rebel Yell
Author: Matthew Atwood


To The Editor:

I wish to clarify the motives of Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 
revoking chapter status from its UNLV chapter, called into question by your 
April 21 article "Students for Sensible Drug Policy loses funding." The 
actions taken by SSDP were necessary because the UNLV chapter disregarded 
the SSDP organizational bylaws and values statement and appears to have 
engaged in behavior that could have subjected SSDP to criminal and/or civil 

On March 17, 2002, the SSDP Board of Directors became aware of UNLV SSDP 
materials including a cartoon titled "How to Roll a Joint," and other 
images of students smoking marijuana in conjunction with the SSDP logo. At 
that point in time, SSDP UNLV was told to immediately stop using such 
images. SSDP's Board of Directors and National Office learned later that 
the UNLV chapter had entirely disregarded its demands.

Furthermore, UNLV SSDP fliers advertising our National Conference contained 
the words "Free Marijuana," with a picture of a marijuana leaf, imagery and 
language which could easily be construed as promoting illegal drug use. The 
Board of Directors did object to the video distributed by Fresh Poop, 
referred to in the article, as it contained footage of UNLV students 
apparently smoking marijuana and consuming alcohol under the auspices of 
this SSDP National Event. This video was a clear violation of SSDP's bylaws 
and values statement, and could have resulted in criminal and/or civil 
liability to SSDP and severely jeopardized the future of our organization. 
Because of this risk of liability, and UNLV SSDP's continued disregard of 
our demands, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors was forced 
to revoke its chapter status and request the resignation of former Board 
Member Lewis Whitten.

SSDP is an advocacy organization interested in changing harmful policies. 
Our reputation and credibility - which we have worked hard to build and 
maintain - enable us to have a voice in national and local politics, and 
allow us to sit down to discuss changes in current drug laws with officials 
from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, as our 
National Director and Legislative Director were able to do just two weeks 
ago. We can not and will not allow the irresponsible actions of a single 
chapter to jeopardize this hard won credibility through its repeated 
glorification and promotion of illegal drug usage.

Regardless, we recognize and applaud the work done by members of UNLV SSDP 
in raising awareness of drug laws' destructive consequences on the UNLV 
campus. We wish these individuals the best of luck in their future efforts 
to end the War on Drugs and hope that the UNLV student government will 
continue to fund the group under another name. We also hope that future 
students at UNLV will re-establish a chapter of SSDP which recognizes the 
values that have led to our growth and success as an organization.

Chairman - Students for Sensible Drug Policy Foundation
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MAP posted-by: Beth