Changes needed to arbitrary drug policy

by The Simpsonian

With the Des Moines Area Community College president facing drug charges, other area colleges have been taking a second look at policies on staff and faculty member drug infractions.

Simpson College has been preparing to revamp their policy since before the incident, the idea stemming from an earlier weekly cabinet meeting.

The current system is deemed “adequate,” although the policy requires no formal background checks. The system acts on the assumption that people are truthful and honest when applying for jobs. References are called upon for character testimony, and all past suspicious activities are investigated. While this system may have worked thus far, the college cannot continue this naivete for long without serious problems arising.

The system does not have uniform guidelines for determining the course of action taken when charges are pressed. The current standard looks at whether or not the staff or faculty member’s illegal actions affect his or her job performance. However, this system has the potential to be arbitrary and inconsistent.

A policy to fully address this issue needs to be developed to hold all members of the Simpson community to the same standard. This policy would need to establish a uniform background checking system and an ethical standard for all faculty and students to adhere by. It should also describe the course of action taken in all possible situations, regardless of position of the person being charged.