I hope this in in the right thread, this is just something I wrote fairly quickly and I wanted to see what FC thought of it. It's a first draft but I'm considering sending it, anonymously, to the housing director of the university I attend. I'm in a prohibition state and a fairly strict one at that so the measures taken by my university are likely more extreme than other schools but that doesn't really hurt the overall point I was trying to make which is essentially "leave us alone, we aren't hurting anyone". Also I'm fine with anyone copying this to send to anyone or any institutions, we're all in this fight together. Home, a dwelling, a safe place, the second most important bar on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; it’s all I ever wanted, a place to come back and relax, a place to work, to study, to spend time with friends. The concept of a ‘home’ can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people but what we do know is that home is sacred. The founding fathers decided rights within the home were the third and fourth most important rights to be defined. After the freedom to think and speak, and the freedom to survive and defend one’s self, they established the freedom to dwell peacefully, unhindered by solicitation and harassment. Idioms are a key part of culture, none of them translate particularly well (fans of the show Archer already know this) and since they are unique among cultures they tell you a lot about the culture they originate from. “Every man’s home is his castle”. The first traceable use of this idiom was by the Roman poet Cicero. The freedom of a peaceful dwelling, dominion over one’s personal space, these concepts date back to the ancient Roman Empire. Individualism has sense been a central tenet of the world’s greatest empires, the Romans, the British, the Athenians, and last but not least the modern hegemont: The United States of America. So what’s the point of all of this? Obviously the idea of a home is an important concept. Surely a just institution, for the mental health and well being of its people would respect the rights and boundaries of a personal dwelling. Nervousness, anxiety, fear: words that don’t belong in the concept of home. Yet these are the words I’d use to describe the experience of living on a college campus. I’ve never been in any trouble, I don’t drink, and I have a shining A- average. Yet I’ve never felt like a paragon, my peaceful, inoffensive existence goes unnoticed and I’m treated more like a prisoner than a student. Random searches with thin probable cause, door checkpoints, room inspections, patrols, and a host of non-institution related issues I’ll get to later. These were the things that characterized my on campus experience; an experience the school forced me to have (freshmen are required to live on campus at many schools, a requirement that is not only draconian but is likely in place so the school can line its pockets). There was no concept of home, I never felt secure or peaceful. What you’re thinking now is probably along the lines of “if you’re not doing anything wrong don’t worry” which works very well for what I’ll call neutral police situations, a situation where officers (or some other form of authority) are there to protect the safety of the people present. What I’ve experienced here is an active police situation, students, regardless of what they do or do not do are treated as suspects and many of the actions taken tow the line of prevention. So besides discomfort at being constantly accused what’s the problem? The problem is the issues focused on by the school. I am of the opinion that an institution should do all that it can to foster a sense of home and a sense of community. Often times however the policies simply lead to the active police situations mentioned earlier. The non-institution related issues mentioned earlier of a shining example of the failure of the school to foster any sense of home. The noise in these residence halls, at all hours, are ridiculous, the plumbing is loud, the doors slam, and there are constant knocks and bangs from every direction 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Often I’ve heard students yelling and screaming in halls, often with little to no disciplinary action taken. Compared to possession of alcohol or marijuana these offences are very detrimental to the sense of home of the students within the residence halls. I would never condone anarchy in a residence hall. Smoking of any substance, noise, vandalism, and general harassment should be punished accordingly as they disrupt the sense of home that should be encouraged. However policy very rarely punishes these issues and instead insists on harassing students on their way to and from the dorm. A particular case at my university involved a freshman, 18, getting kicked out of housing after a walk back from smoking some marijuana with some friends (off campus). On his walk past the door checkpoint an RA smelled marijuana and alerted police who later searched his room and found .4g (about $5 worth here) of marijuana tucked away in an herb grinder. The punishment was swift and steady; he was immediately removed from university housing and no longer attends this university. This student, who surely assumed his dwelling would be a safe place to be, instead found himself kicked out of college and most likely has had his entire life ruined between the criminal charges and becoming an involuntary college dropout. So what’s the problem? The rules are posted, no drugs in the dorms, “instant removal from housing”; so why is this unfair? Noise, vandalism, and general harassment: things that don’t belong in a residence hall that is trying to build a sense of community and home. So let’s talk about something that breeds all three of those things, one of the most used drugs in America, responsible for thousands if not millions of assaults, vandalisms, rapes, and general misconduct. The drug of course is alcohol and at my university this drug is widely accepted in the dorms. Residents twenty-one or over are fully allowed to drink alcohol in residence halls. Residence under the age of twenty-one are in violation of the law and surely must be kicked out the same as the marijuana users right? Well under current policy a student gets 3 chances, per semester, if they are caught with alcohol in their dorms. Whereas our friend was peacefully walking home (probably to eat or watch tv) and was removed from housing instantly; alcohol offenders are given three chances to discontinue their loud, obnoxious behavior. What about other kinds of offences? Noise complaints rarely lead to disciplinary measures for the rowdy students and when they do the process is the same, three strikes and you’re out. Vandalism is handled the same way. In fact besides possession of a plant (and/or paraphernalia, things like pipes and vaporizers) the only other things that can get you instantly kicked out of a residence hall are: hard drugs, rape, assault, murder, and possession of weapons. I’m a model student, I’m a model resident, I’m quiet, I keep to myself and my affairs and never harass anyone or vandalize anything, and I’m a cannabis user. Home is something I’ve never felt at my university as it’s overwhelmed by nervousness. My reasons for using cannabis are my own but I’m not using in the building and I’m not hurting anyone. I don’t expect the school policy to change; the school’s hard stance on cannabis is in line with the federal and state government that fund it. What I hope for though is that one day students can actually feel at home here, that the employees in the housing department would focus on offenders that were detrimental to other people’s sense of home, instead of bothering me as I peacefully walk back to my room after smoking with some friends. I’m not asking for acceptance of my smoking, or even for the school to look the other way. I simply believe very strongly that someone’s life should not be ruined on their walk to their safe place due to the olfactory based hypothesis of a fellow student (I often wonder how RA’s magically know what marijuana smells like without ever having seen or used it themselves), I’m simply asking for my school and for schools around the country to end their hypocrisy on marijuana offences and to treat them the same as alcohol, I’m just asking for the ability to watch tv, to study, and to sleep in an environment where I don’t have to feel paranoid that every knock on the door will get me kicked out of college. Is that too much to ask for? Then let us live off campus.