In defense of Fogel

I wholeheartedly support any action that President Fogel has taken to prevent a 4/20 ‘protest’ because it will be best for the university. The pro-marijuana reputation a 4/20 event will stain the school’s reputation in the eyes of alumni, donors and future employers because marijuana smoking is commonly viewed negatively. On Wednesday, a small minority of people on campus will celebrate their love for cannabis and an even smaller minority will attempt to make a political statement against unfair drug policies in the US which generally punish rather than rehabilitate. In the end, this minority is lost in the chaotic drug induced euphoria and instead of being viewed as civil rights activists (which some are) they are seen as ‘stoners’ and UVM as a whole becomes the ‘stoner’ school in the minds of many Americans. Smoking marijuana is a risk that some take because the benefits of getting high appear greater than the costs associated with the lawful penalties. Unfortunately, those of us who do not smoke receive the costs of 4/20 and none of the benefits. I agree that marijuana should be legal but in no way do I agree with some members of the community speaking for me because they will never be able to say what I would nor will they ever create any positive change following the route they take. By projecting to the nation a negative image of the average UVM student as a proverbial pothead my voice and abilities as a student are silenced and a ‘negative’ connotation is placed on the diploma that many of us have paid dearly for. Maybe stonerdom should not carry a negative connotation. Maybe the 4/20 festival should be seen as an act of peaceful, civil obedience against ‘unjust’ laws and be praised throughout America but unfortunately, for all of us, it is not applauded and never will be. President Fogel is absolutely correct when he asks for your help and for you to consider UVM’s reputation. If you publicly involve yourself in this act of civil disobedience, you are doing much, much more harm than any good you could ever hope to accomplish. Whether or not 4/20 protesters are stoners or activists does not matter, in the end, any celebration of their type on campus will only adversely affect the collective and that will always be wrong.