No need to drug test students

Editorial board

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that all 1,200 students at Linn State Technical College in Missouri this institution were required to submit urine samples in the most extensive drug-testing policy at a public college or university in the US.

The test was conducted in response to a survey of an advisory council of industry and business leaders. More than 80 percent of the respondents supported drug testing, saying it might serve to better prepare students for the drug-free work environments they will be in after graduation, according to Richard R. Pemberton, Linn StateâÄôs associate dean of student affairs.

Pemberton argues that the process is intended to ensure the safety of the students, given that this particular college provides hands-on training with heavy machinery, high-voltage electronics and even nuclear technology.

âÄúItâÄôs not a matter of catching them doing something wrong and kicking them out of college,âÄù Pemberton said. âÄúThe whole process is meant to be educational.âÄù

This new practice is wrong and could create a precedent for other colleges to submit all of their incoming freshmen to drug testing. Even if students are not kicked out as a result of this particular policy, it is possible that failure of the drug test could go on file as part of the studentâÄôs permanent record.

Dan Viets, a lawyer working with the Missouri Civil Liberties Association, says this is the first time heâÄôs seen a public college require drug tests for the entire student body. This includes students taking classes where they do not deal with dangerous equipment, such as accounting and communications courses.

âÄúThey seem to be on the cutting edge of violating studentsâÄô civil liberties,âÄù Viets said.

Many promising students could potentially be rejected if this policy were implemented at other universities. We must make sure the rights of students and individuals applying to institutions of higher learning are protected.


This editorial was originally published by the Central Florida Future at the University of Central Florida.