Student HEA Reform Campaign Garners First Endorsements of Semester 10/27/00

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Student governments on opposite coasts have provided the Higher Education Act Reform Campaign with its first endorsements of the school year: Amherst College (western Massachusetts) and Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Oregon). These two schools join over 20 others that have called on Congress to repeal the new law that delays or denies federal financial aid to students convicted of drug offenses.

The latest count found that nearly 7,000 students or would-be students, have lost some or all of their aid as a result of the Higher Education Act drug provision in this first semester that the law takes effect. Hundreds of thousands of students, however, left the relevant question on the federal financial aid application blank. They have received financial aid because an enforcement loophole, but students leaving the question blank in future years will be ineligible for aid.

"It doesn't make sense to deny federal aid to a student with a minor drug offense, but permit violent offenders to receive aid," said Joe Bielecki, president of the Associated Students of Lewis & Cark (ASLC). "This law is only going to make things worse for students who could benefit from a college education, and it's not going to do anything to solve the problem of substance abuse on campuses."

"If enough schools around the country could get their faculty and student body to speak out against this educational injustice, the politicians must listen," said Andrew Epstein, president of Amherst College Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), who brought the resolution to the attention of his student government. "The resolution passed overwhelmingly. This shows me that the students are way ahead of the politicians on this issue. Now we've got to let Congress know that we aren't going to sit down quietly while they use our educational opportunities as cannon fodder for their so-called 'War on Drugs,'" Epstein added.

Please visit to send a letter to Congress, get involved in the campaign or learn more about the issue.

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Issue #157, 10/27/00 War on Drugs: Coming to a Bookstore Near You | One Down, Who's Next? AP Bolivia Correspondent Resigns Following Exposé | In Britain, Seismic Shift Toward Cannabis Decrim Shakes Blair's Anti-Reform Policies | Drug War Oakland-Style: Rogue Cops Nailed, Car Seizures Okayed | Richmond, Virginia Police Chief Calls for New Drug Policies | Student HEA Reform Campaign Garners First Endorsements of Semester | New Proposition 36 Television Ad Now Viewable Online | Report Deems Oregon Medical Marijuana Patient Directory Successful | The Reformer's Calendar

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