College tweaks policies on guns, booze, pets

By Jillian Gamache - Staff Reporter

Highline is in the process of changing some campus policies involving drugs, alcohol and animals. However, that does not mean you will be able to smoke marijuana and hold a gun while riding your pet llama on campus.

"Currently, the three policies under discussions are animals on campus, weapons on campus, and drugs on campus," said Michael Pham, vice president of Administrative Services.

Pham proposed that the new policy involving weapons on campus at Highline should include some of the language from the Highline College Student Conduct Code. Specifically, it should define weapons as prohibited conduct. 

"This is a difficult policy to develop in that we have to balance legal right to possess weapons with ensuring the learning environment remains nonthreatening," said Erik Scott, chairperson of the Faculty Senate and Highline professor. 

The change in the drug policy is related to the unlawful possession, use or distribution of controlled substances on campus. This policy also includes marijuana, even though it is legalized in Washington state for those who are over 21. 

In the current drug policy, there is language that explains penalties. The revision of the policy will make it more consistent with other policies by removing the penalty from the actual policy. 

Regarding animals, Highline does not allow animals inside any Highline building unless it is a service animal. The American with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as a dog or miniature horse that is harnessed or leashed and is "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities."

 Emotional support animals are not considered service animals by the ADA and therefore are not allowed inside campus buildings. 

Highline does allow animals which are used for educational or programmatic purposes. Earlier in the quarter the Highline Psychology Club and International Leadership Student Council held an event in Building 8 which included four therapy dogs for students to interact with. 

"The Policy Development Council has been reviewing and updating various policies over the past few years. It is a process to ensure that all policies are up to date," Pham said. 

As these changes take place they follow the process of the Policy Development Council on campus. A proposed policy revision by any staff member or student group can be submitted to the council and other organizations for their approval. The council will consider the revisions and vote on it. 

If the revisions are agreed upon the proposal will be sent to the college president within two weeks. After receiving the proposal, the president then has two weeks to take action by accepting or rejecting the finalized proposal of the policy. 

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