When I went back to Wesleyan for a reunion a few years ago, I came across flyers urging students to stop using cocaine. Not because cocaine is, you know, dangerous and illegal … but because it makes its way to American noses by way of oppressive labor practices in the third world. If you knew much about Wesleyan—it was the model for the movie “PCU” and its genius scene with the marchers shouting, “No more protests! No more protests!”—you wouldn’t be surprised.
Given that Wesleyan is a sort of Reed East, I read this Inside Higher Ed piece on drug use at Reed with interest and noted with familiar bemusement the U.S. attorney and county D.A.’s attempt to liberal-guilt students into sobering up. They wrote in a letter to the student body, “The fact is that the drug trade is now fueled by one of the most potent forces in the West: greed.”
The promised crackdown on illegal drugs at Reed does not seem to mention the most prevalent illegal drug of all: alcohol. I suppose on a campus dealing with heroin overdose, focusing on the illegal illegals is somewhat of a gateway intervention. I went to college at a place and time where Public Safety pushed wasted students home in Waldbaum’s shopping carts rather than attempt to enforce any laws. I am quite curious about this culture shift at schools that have long been tolerant of substance abuse and would like to read more about it.