Let's be blunt

By Kelsey Par - Staff Reporter

Getting busted for a drug crime can cost you your federal financial aid.

While marijuana was legalized for recreational use in Washington state in 2012, there are still a number of rules and regulations.

Highline is a public institution, which means it is illegal to use marijuana on campus.

"Marijuana or any controlled substance is not allowed on campus because we receive federal funding," said David Menke, director of Public Safety.

"If a student is caught using [marijuana] on campus, they would be referred to student conduct and non-students would be asked to leave the campus," Menke said.

In addition, being convicted of a drug crime may limit, suspend or terminate your eligibility to receive federal student aid.

"Federal student aid eligibility is suspended for students convicted under federal or state law of sale or possession of drugs that occurred while they were receiving federal student aid," said Shareka N, a representative from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Support Center.

"The length of the suspension is based on the type and number of offenses. A student can regain eligibility by satisfactorily completing an approved drug rehabilitation program," she said.

Those who have committed drug offenses prior to receiving financial aid or in the past may not be eligible and may also lose their financial aid.

"Federal aid eligibility may also be suspended for students who received a judgment under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which includes provisions that authorize federal and state judges to deny certain federal benefits--including student aid--to persons convicted of drug trafficking or possession," Shareka said.

Aside from losing financial aid, people who are convicted of drug offenses may face even bigger consequences.

There are specific rules and regulations regarding marijuana and failure to follow these laws may results in significant legal penalties ranging from tickets to felonies.

Only adults aged 21 or older can purchase or possess marijuana; those who are 21 and older can't purchase more than one ounce of usable [dry] marijuana, more than 16 ounces of edibles, 72 ounces in liquid form, and 7 grams of concentrates; a person can't drive with more than five nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood in their system; and it is illegal to use it marijuana public places.

Since the legalization of marijuana, there has been an increase in reports at Highline.

"We have received an increase of complaints and we try to educate students and guests on the policies," Menke said.

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An individual was found sleeping in a crawl space in Building 26 on May 4 around 7:40 p.m. The suspect woke up to the sound of Public Safety officers and bolted from the scene. Highline crews arranged for the crawl space to be blocked off to future nappers.

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Public Safety officers made contact with an individual who was yanking on multiple car doors in the East Lot at 11 a.m. on May 5. The individual did not have a ID and claimed he was just waiting for a friend to get out of class, Public Safety said. There is no word if the individual faced charges or met up with their friend.

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Nominations are due May 26 for three annual awards given to Highline employees. The Highline College Foundation provides $1,500 awards to the oustanding employee of the year, the outstanding tenured faculty member, and the oustanding adjunct faculty member. The employee of the year award seeks to recognize “an employee whose performance is outstanding and whose impact on a department or the broader institution is substantial,” according to the nomating material. Only full-time tenured faculty are eligible for the second award, while the final award goes to part-time or adjunct faculty. Nominations can be made by any student, staff member, faculty member or administrator at Highline. A person may make only one nomination for each award. The nominations need to consist of written statements from both the nominator and then a second reference that gives specific emphasis to the nominee’s contribution to education at Highline.

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