UConn ranked No. 1 for student drug activism and school policy reform
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 9, 2012 22:09
The University of Connecticut is ranked first in the nation among marijuana activism and policy by High Times magazine.
The ranking, which was released in August, grades universities across the country in terms of efforts to legalize cannabis, raise awareness and reform drug policy.
The magazine lists the many efforts by UConn’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) as the main reason for their ranking.
According to High Times, “The Huskies of UConn SSDP have led the pack this year in reforming marijuana policy both on and off campus. Most notably, they played a huge role in helping pass medical marijuana legislation in Connecticut by hosting rallies, coordinating student-lobbying efforts and testifying before lawmakers.”
Sam Tracy, former president of Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Treasurer of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and Editorial Board member for The Daily Campus, played a large role in the effort to change drug policy at UConn and for the decriminalization of marijuana in Connecticut.
“This ranking is very important because we were ranked number one out of hundreds of schools with SSDP chapters across the country” Tracy said. “Last year, we were ranked number nine and the year before that number ten. This is the first time we have been ranked number one. This recognizes our efforts in decriminalizing marijuana and the lobbying, rallying, and organizing that went into reforming UConn’s drug policy,” Tracy said.
Last year, the university’s Office of Community Standards changed its drug policy by penalizing students found in possession of small amounts of marijuana the same as those charged with underage drinking. Also, the state of Connecticut decriminalized marijuana in the 2011 legislative session. These actions were cited in the magazines ranking criteria.
“This is not a ranking in how much UConn students do marijuana but shows how active the student body is politically. Our Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) body is very active in talking with representatives and coordinating with other lobbying groups,” Tracy said.
Salvatore Sodaro, a Senior Mentor on SSDP, has also been active in reforming UConn’s drug policy and raising awareness across Connecticut.
“SSDP is big in education not incarceration. In terms of outreach, we work with other groups to spread knowledge and awareness. In terms of policy, were at the Capital more than I can count talking to legislators and senators. We also work with other groups and schools across Connecticut and hold conferences…Drug policy effects almost every demographic and has widespread effects politically, socially, and economically” he said.
Northeastern University in Boston, MA, came in second place in the rankings followed by Oregon SSDP chapters, Brown University and Piedmont Virginia Community College.