ISG supports University Housing opt-out for students prescribed restricted medication

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ISG supports University Housing opt-out for students prescribed restricted medication




By Cori Lippert, Staff Writer

The Illinois Student Government passed a resolution that will let students out of their housing contracts if they have prescribed drugs not allowed in University Housing.

Senator Tara Chattoraj, senior in LAS, originally proposed this bill to change the Student Code to allow individuals with a prescription for medical cannabis the ability to use it in their dorms.

Senator Walter Lindwall, junior in LAS, said this resolution was proposed the second or first week of the semester and has been in limbo for awhile to work out any legal issues and wording.

“(We) realized that the Student Code doesn’t allow you to have medical cannabis anywhere on campus,” Chattoraj said. “On top of that, there is all sorts of federal regulations with the department of education and federal funding.”

Chattoraj reached out to others about finding another solution, and she looked into what other universities have done.

“University of Colorado at Boulder actually just allowed people out of their housing contracts as a way to get around that or the housing requirement … so they weren’t forced to be in housing if they were a first -year student,” Chattoraj said. “I figured that was the best solution after talking to the University council and housing.”

Toni Pantone
Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine

The bill was then changed to its current form to say that students will be able to get out of housing contracts and live off campus if they require medical cannabis or other restricted drugs, even in their first year at the University, said Chattoraj.

“Landlords aren’t forced to allow you to actually smoke medical cannabis or otherwise consume medical cannabis on their property, but they’re not allowed to not let you keep it on the property,” Chattoraj said. “So, by moving to private housing they’re at least allowed to have a place to store it without breaking any rules.”

Lindwall said the rewording “was to define specific types of medication that are prohibited but have more of a legal gray area we are able to work through more easily, more specific policy proposed around that.”

The Student Code is behind on these issues that the state law is not, Lindwall said.

There wasn’t a reason to highlight medical cannabis, said Senator Bryan Parthum, Ph.D. student in ACES. The resolution has been opened up to be accommodating to other prescriptions being discriminated against.

“I feel as though the current housing policy is not inclusive to students who had prescriptions that were perfectly legal within the state of Illinois,” Parthum said.

There are a lot of people in support of the resolution, but there is concern coming from parents and older people, Chattoraj said. 

“I am in support of it; I agree with both the intent and the actual goal of its implementation and I hope that the administration follows through on implementing this policy,” Lindwall said.

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