420 Magazine Background

Students Celebrate Cannabis Holiday On Skidmore Campus

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
About 100 Skidmore students and others took to the campus green Monday afternoon, smoking marijuana joints and inhaling from a homemade papier mâché bong to celebrate, as some put it, their sense of community and 420, the unofficial national holiday devoted to cannabis consumption.

Of Skidmore’s 2,400 students, the hundred or so who gathered to toke up on the lawn didn’t seem concerned about possible consequences stemming from their illegal activities.

There weren’t any.

Campus police, city police and the college administration were all aware of the event. None made any attempt to break it up.

“It’s 420, so if you’re on any college campus, it’s going to happen anywhere. If there’s freedom for people to express their interests and it’s safe, then there’s no problem,” said Sarah Hangartner of Portland, who is on the Skidmore wait-list for admission. Monday was also the visiting day for admitted students.

Director of Campus Safety Dennis Conway said the annual event has been going on for at least the past 10 years, since he’s been at the school. Last week’s Skidmore News reported that the event would be occurring. Conway said that, as he has in years past, he contacted the Saratoga Springs Police Department so that it could make patrols in the area, in addition to the campus safety vehicles that circled the lawn during the afternoon.

“Skidmore did notify us earlier in the day that this was occurring,” said Lt. Greg Veitch, who is head of the investigations unit at the Saratoga Springs Police Department and serves as its press liaison. “It’s no secret to law enforcement that April 20 is a day used by college students and people in the city to smoke marijuana.”

However, he said there were no calls for the police to come to the campus, no arrests were made and no one interfered with the event.

“It’s very difficult for an officer in full uniform to walk across a field and catch someone smoking marijuana,” Veitch said, adding that the department doesn’t have the resources for undercover officers that could alternatively be used in this type of situation.

The Saratogian sent a reporter and photographer to the campus with permission from the Skidmore administration, as is standard practice for any press coverage at the college. It wasn’t hard to see and smell the marijuana being openly smoked. One student asked the photographer not to publish his name because he was applying to law school.

Despite the wind, rain and chilly temperatures, students lounged on blankets and in tents on the South Park green, some passing joints from hand to hand. Others gleefully wheeled a shopping cart containing their homemade water pipe contraption down a hill to Haupt Pond. As a crowd gathered at the water’s edge, students explained the bright pink, octopus-shaped creation was actually two triple-chambered bongs housed together in the shopping cart.

The college’s drug policy states that possessing, using or selling illegal drugs is a Level III offense, the highest offense in the Student Handbook. For a first offense violation, a student would face alcohol and/or drug assessment by a certified provider (at the student’s expense).

“Anytime we have a violation of our policies, we take action,” Conway said, adding that Skidmore often collaborates with city police to investigate drug and alcohol use on the campus. A second offense would result in the student being referred to an Integrity Board for administrative discipline, or even suspension or dismissal from the school in some cases.

“Skidmore works hard to make students take responsibility for their choices,” said Director of Media Relations Andrea Wise.

Further comment from administration at the college was unavailable, Wise said.

Some students viewed the event as harmless, although they abstained from smoking because they were applying for post-graduation jobs.

“Marijuana gets looked down on more than it should,” said senior business major Brittany Pettit, adding the event was meant to celebrate the drug, but not promote it.

Sophomore Andrew Cantor, who is news editor of the student newspaper, said because that Monday was a day for prospective students to visit the campus, they and their parents would “likely see the campus getting high at 4:20 p.m.”

He didn’t endorse the event.

“I basically think that for a school with a rich academic tradition, it is immature of the student body to embrace smoking marijuana, especially when many students are apathetic in participating in any one of our 100 clubs,” Cantor said. “ … I think smoking is a private thing and shouldn’t be celebrated by a whole institution.”

This year, Skidmore College is ranked 13th by the Princeton Review in a list of the top marijuana-smoking colleges in the nation. In 2003, it was ranked as the number one “marijuana-friendly” campus.

News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Saratogian
Copyright: 2009 The Saratogian
Contact: The Saratogian : Serving the Saratoga Springs, N.Y. region (Saratogian.com)
Website: Students celebrate cannabis holiday on Skidmore campus - The Saratogian News: Serving the Saratoga Springs, N.Y. region (Saratogian.com)
Top Bottom