Panel explores race relations and higher education

By Andrea Cheng

Members of the campus community examined the interplay of race relations, higher education and crime Tuesday evening at a panel held at Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall.

The purpose of hosting the panel was to educate and enable people to look at legislative policies, specifically drug policies, with a more critical eye.

“Our drug policy is flawed,” said Walter Boyd, a panelist and member of Protestants for the Common Good in Chicago, Ill.

Panelists discussed the Higher Education Act, which provides financial assistance to students. Any student with drug convictions can no longer have access to financial aid for college despite the fact that convicted criminals can still apply for financial aid. Panelists claimed the act forces low to middle income students with any drug related background to drop out of college, consequently not helping the drug issue since college students use less drugs than people who are of the same age and not in school.

The panel was presented by the Illinois Drug Education and Legislative Reform and the Coalition of Students for Social Change along with 10 Registered Student Organizations at the University.

“I don’t have much faith in the federal government at this moment,” said Adam Wolf of the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Reform Project in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Dorothea Galdo, senior in LAS, attended the panel and said she was surprised to find the judicial system to be discriminatory toward minorities.

“I’m really interested in social stratification, so learning about the disparities within the drug usage and arrests and drug crimes was very educational, very surprising,” Galdo said.