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December 2010
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Good news at Northern Illinois University

Jacob Sullum at Reason’s Hit and Run:

Today John R. Jones III, associate vice president of Northern Illinois University, informed Jeremy Orbach, president of the school’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, that NIU’s administration is stepping in to recognize SSDP as a “social justice, advocacy, and support organization,” which means it can use campus facilities and is eligible for activity fee funding. The administration is thereby overriding the Student Association Senate, which twice voted against recognizing SSDP based on vague, constitutionally suspect criteria. In a letter (PDF) to Orbach, Jones writes:

I have made the determination, under the unique circumstances of this case, to administratively recognize SSDP as a student organization at Northern Illinois University. Your application appears to be in order, and the other documentation that I have reviewed is not sufficiently clear to identify a justifiable reason for the denial of such recognition….

This is not a big surprise. As a state university, NIU is the government as far as the 1st Amendment is concerned.

Once this story hit the news, their legal counsel probably told them that the student association actions were leading to an legally actionable result.

Congrats to NIU for such a prompt response and for going the step beyond to fix the process.

In addition to this action, the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management is establishing a task force comprised of University officials and Student Association members to review and revise the recognition and funding processes as they relate to student organizations…

Lastly, the SA is collaborating with the University to develop a more formal training module for use by the Student Association on the applicable legal standards that have been established by the court systems regarding student recognition processes in public university settings.

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12 comments to Good news at Northern Illinois University

  • DdC

    Unfortunately, it also seems that some members of the Senate are simply opposed to SSDP’s mission to promote an open and rational discussion about alternatives to current drug policies, including marijuana legalization, and that this may be the basis for their decision.”

    In addition to this action?

    So a crystal clear case of censorship and no reprimand for the drug worrier punk who turned them down? Changing the policy when absolutely nothing in the policy should have banned SSDP is closing the barn door long after the horse ran down the road. Mucking around with kids and the First Amendment can lead to the Supreme Court. Not that they are any different than the punks. Good news just the same…

  • darkcycle

    This is good news. I gotta agree with DdC though, they blocked it for as long as they thought they could get away with it. Thank you to the NIU legal counsel.

  • with every rose must come a little prick

    paraphrased that from somewhere (either that or I just made it up, who knows? who cares?;). Here’s to standing up to little pricks.

    Good for NIU and props to the SSDP.

  • DdC

    G&R had every rose has its thorn but I like your version better…

    Youth Activists Push Marijuana Reform

    On November 7 a group of student activists gathered in a room on the University of Colorado campus to discuss strategies for how to run a marijuana legalization campaign in the 2012 elections. Five days earlier, voters in California had defeated Proposition 19 by a margin of seven points. Although the vote represented the largest percentage a US legalization measure has ever garnered (46.5 percent), many in the drug policy reform community were discouraged. Young activists who had spent the past several months encouraging students on California campuses to register, and who worked furiously in the final days to get out the vote, were exhausted. There were a lot of sullen expressions in downtown Oakland on election night. But for the students in Boulder, and in some ways for the legalization movement more broadly, the fight is just beginning. continued…

  • vicky vampire

    Yes its so mondo bizaro to me how these folks like you folks said in posts above has long has they could get away with it in this age of cellphones internet and facebook someones bound to make a hullabalo about everything these days able to conceal much but then, I remember the evening news has on many ocasions omitted facts and other pertinent parts of certain stories and sometimes that spreads to more outlets and yes they do get away with it. but this time they did not good. Good wishes to all SSDP.

  • mmm… here’s a thought (I know I know…):

    In a more ideal world something as backwards and fucked up as Cannabis Prohibition could be pointed out to the head guys (remember, in a more ideal world…) who could look at our side’s presentation and statements and say, like John R. Jones III, associate vice president of Northern Illinois University did with the SSDP situation, “duh. This ends now.”

    Sounds like something out of one of those themes the speculative fiction writers way back in the last millenium the last century might have touched on, like out of Harlan Ellison’s “Dangerous Visions” anthology… That fiction was as good – or better – than any drug I’ve ever done. Ideas rock.

    aaah… in contrast to the simple administrative correction made at NIU… I got off on a tangent the other night and was looking back at the ’68 Dem Convention in Chicago. Damn. That was the shit… that is the mild face of revolution… think of the image of the girl holding the student just shot by the Nat’l Guard at Kent State… think of Donald Scott waking up to an armed home invasion by men in black…

    … go take a cruise thru the Drug War Victims page… the litany, the wailing of injury and death. It isn’t enough to throw facts and science around. The heart strings have to be plucked once in a while. We pretty much all know, but too many don’t and it is the suffering meted out to innocent people (think Ronnie and Charity Bowers) while we bail out banks and have them (hello Wachovia!) get busted laundering cartel cash:

    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n1019/a02.html?

    and then they use the bailout to pay their fines for money laundering…. is that a sweet deal or what? We are just too kind with our money. Seems most of it goes to those who don’t need it, but that may just be my skewed view.

    Speaking of skewed views… a new, free cannabis quarterly was published last month in Montana:

    http://www.cannabisnowmag.com/

    I had a 1300 word original piece published (pg 40) and I contributed the original structure to the economic piece (I believe one of the editors has a masters in economics, but I poke smot and may be wrong) you’ll find in there. It was only an 8,000 print run and is distributed in the northwest and parts of CA, the 200 I distributed in Eugene got sucked up fast.

    … but back to the ’68 Convention and the police riot. I kind of wondered for just a sec why nothing like that happens nowadays… Doih! I’ve seen the security around one of those gigs and these days the centers are surrounded with cement barriers, chain link fence and razor wire with young stern looking fellas in their black 21st century ninja warrior outfits armed with automatic weapons. Shotguns are spooky too…

    But it’s a different world than 1/2 a century ago. We need to regrasp that small government credo and whittle this monstrosity back. The drug war is a great place to start.

    And it was just the NIU easy solution I was gonna spout about… chips and fresh guacamole sounds good right about now. I’m hungry for some reason… [drifts to kitchen…]

  • Matthew Meyer

    >Changing the policy when absolutely nothing in the policy >should have banned SSDP is closing the barn door long >after the horse ran down the road.

    DdC, isn’t it more like closing the barn door after the inbred neighbor kid snuck in the window and killed the horse?

  • darkcycle

    Allan. 1990. Seattle. The battle of Seattle. WTO. The mild face of revolution just doesn’t gather the TV cameras the way it did then.
    I had my little part too. I was manager of a treatment facility at that time with a dozen employees, all working poor (‘counselor’ is a job title that won’t make you rich). One of my employees was working with Greenpeace and another was with our Union, SEIU. Both were part of the planning for the WTO protest. When the protest finally came around I gave every employee who wanted to the three days off to protest (it was only supposed to be one, but the thing wasn’t over, was it?). In the process, I and my wife provided coverage for nine chronically mentally ill adults in that Tx facility. 72 hours straight while all my employees were out raising hell and dodging rubber bullets. I wish I had been able to be there, but in a way I was, times ten. I was a great enabler.

  • Ben

    The children at this particular university have proven themselves incapable of administering a rather simple public responsibility. Disheartening, but Illinois has proven itself rather socially conservative for some time now.

    Let’s not forget that they just elected Mark freaking Kirk: http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2009/jun/19/marijuana_us_congressman_mark_ki

  • DdC

    When I get to the bottom
    I go back to the top of the slide
    Where I stop and turn
    and I go for a ride
    Till I get to the bottom and I see you again…
    Look out Helter skelter…

    When things start going right, the right get nervous…
    University overrides the Student Association Senate and then recognizes Students for Sensible Drug Policy as a “social justice, advocacy, and support organization. Then the Trenton Democrat-controlled Senate may defy Gov’s more strict plans as not fulfilling the lawmakers’ intent. While a Superior Court Judge issues an injunction against L.A.’s “faltering drive” to limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries. Hey Good News, don’t be a stranger…

    Trenton Senate May Defy Governor’s Plans for Medical Pot
    By Angela Delli Santi and Geoff Mulvihill
    CN Source: Courier-Post December 11, 2010

    New Jersey’s state Senate is considering defying Gov. Chris Christie over his plans to regulate medical marijuana more strictly than lawmakers say they envisioned when they voted to allow pot for some patients. A vote on a resolution to declare the regulations not fulfilling the lawmakers’ intent and force the undoing of some of the Republican governor’s proposed rules is scheduled for Monday. Sen. Stephen M. Sweeney, president of the Democrat-controlled Senate, said it has the votes to pass.

    Judge Issues Injunction Against L.A.’s MMJ Law By John Hoeffel
    CN Source: Los Angeles Times December 11, 2010

    A judge handed Los Angeles a setback in its faltering drive to limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries, granting a preliminary injunction on Friday that bars the city from enforcing key provisions in its controversial six-month-old ordinance. The decision, issued by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, leaves the city with limited power to control pot stores, which opened by the hundreds, angering neighborhood activists when city officials failed to enforce a 2007 moratorium.

  • Tim

    Good news.

    I was talking with people at the CSSDP (Canadian SSDP) conference and while they have had recognized campus groups, the administration at some universities won’t let them run harm reduction awareness campaigns as they deem them “political.”

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