Orwellian tactics?

University officials are looking into the possibility of acquiring drug-sniffing dogs, which would strengthen its already tough stance on drug use on campus. With the dramatic increase of undergraduates in the past few years, the University has fallen behind in providing adequate services for its enlarged student population, but University administrators still find it pertinent to look into investing in an expensive drug-detecting apparatus.

GW already has an aggressive drug detection and prosecution system in place. Students are routinely kicked out of their on-campus residences after surprise searches that produce drugs or drug paraphernalia. University policy states that students can be kicked out of on-campus living, without a refund, if illegal drugs are found in their room. GW should be careful what it wishes for – the addition of drug-sniffing dogs could mean many more student evictions than they are ready to handle or afford.

The main issue with the addition of dogs is not that we disagree with providing new avenues by which the University Police Department can promote safety and enforce the law, but that the University seems to have its priorities in the wrong places. Students should feel that the University is making an attempt to make GW better for students. To be fair, GW is attempting to improve student life on some fronts such as additional 4-RIDE funding and the new Colonial Cash system, which combines Debit Dollars and Points. The addition of dogs, however, is not a student-friendly measure, and will serve to make students even less happy than they currently report to be. Reports of drug offenses have not noticeably risen on campus, but if the University wants to deal with drug abuse on campus, it would be better off to invest in drug education, not costly Orwellian measures such as video cameras and drug-sniffing dogs. This can create an atmosphere of distrust that bleeds into other avenues of student-administration interactions and tends to be reciprocal.

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