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The North Wind

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Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

Mandatory drug testing at schools is unconstitutional

Imagine if all students attending Northern Michigan University had to take a drug test in order to be allowed to continue enrollment. I for one would feel this was an invasion of privacy and against the Constitution.

Students at Linn State Technical College in Missouri may have to start taking a urine drug test post-enrollment. The college of 1,200 students is the first public college to require its students to take a drug test. If students refuse to take the drug test, they will be withdrawn from the school.

Linn State says that no students have refused to take the drug test yet. Incoming students, along with some returning students, must take the drug test after the start of fall semester 2011 and may have random tests in the future. The 11 panel screening will detect cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamines, marijuana, opiates, oxycodone and several other drug types.

If a student tests positive to the first screening, they will be allowed to take another within 45 days and will be put on probation. A failure of the second test will result in being withdrawn from the school.

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It is absurd that students will be kicked out of college for something they do in their private time. If students are withdrawn from Linn State they will not receive a refund for their classes if it is past the refund date.

This on top of the $50 fee to take the initial drug test, the fee for additional tests and other costs students will have to pay if tested positive. Bottom line, it is very expensive for students. If a school is going to force their students to take a drug test, they should at least pay for it. College is expensive enough; this makes it even more challenging for students to afford.

According to the Linn State’s website, students who test positive on the first screening, but then negative on the second, will be required to complete an online educational program at the student’s cost of $35 or other appropriate activities. Also, those students may be referred for professional assistance. I understand drugs are illegal, but a mandatory test is a little overboard for college students.

I do not understand why students are being punished and treated like they already committed a crime, when they are trying to better their lives and their future by going to college. I could maybe understand if a student was caught using drugs a previous time on school property, and the university wanted to drug test the student because of that.

I also agree with the drug testing of athletes, since health is very important to their performances and drugs often affect it. Usually the university is also paying for an athlete to go to that college, or at least a portion. However, to make every single student take a drug test is against our Constitution. I think if the students have to be tested, the professors and other faculty should be, too.

Around 540 students have already taken the test, which consisted of all incoming freshmen and students who have not previously attended the college for a semester. No students have refused to take the test, although some are taking action.

The drug testing of students has been postponed temporarily because the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have sued the school on behalf of several Linn State students, according to the New York Times. I think this is only the beginning of mandatory drug tests for colleges.

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