Students at University North Texas successfully defend right to advocate pot law reform
The fall 2013 school year started out fantastic for the University of North Texas chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The chapter’s first two meetings drew in the largest crowds the organization has seen to date.
The first meeting was a casual meet and greet where the chapter’s officers introduced themselves and announced plans for the organization. The second meeting was dedicated to the endocannabinoid system and a great discussion that followed. UNTNORML had the original founders of the organization – and UNT Alumni – present at the meeting.
About forty minutes into the meeting, a professor swung the classroom door open and promptly asked the chapter to leave. The interruption caused quite the discussion between UNTNORML officers and alumni, revealing three semesters worth of issues between the chapter and the university. For each semester prior, enrollment paperwork has come up missing, organization information was deleted from the school “orgsync” program, and meetings are consistently interrupted by poor scheduling on behalf of the school’s student activity offices.
On September 25, 2013, Tristan Tucker, the director of UNTNORML, received an email from one of the alumni present at the meeting stating that she had called the student activity office and they told her NORML was, once again, not in the “orgsync” program, effectively making UNTNORML nonexistent.
Tucker called the office and confirmed what he was told, and asked the student employee to please look into the issue and contact him back with a way to remedy the situation. After five hours had passed, Tucker called a student journalist and the UNTNORML photographer to come with him as he presented the student activity office with hard copy records of registration, attendance to class, etc.
When the UNTNORML envoy arrived at the student affairs office, Tucker was told that there were no supervisors present, so Tucker explained that audio and video recording was taking place and that if the issues weren’t resolved, video and press releases would be sent out to various media outlets across the state.
They promptly brought a supervisor to speak with Tucker.
Once again, Tucker explained to her that she was being recorded. After explaining the mission statement of NORML and forcing her to understand that NORML doesn’t advocate the use of drugs nor the cultivation of drugs, but rather, the reform of the laws to allow people to do so legally, NORML’s registration was accepted and a meeting space was assigned.
Tucker had the office send emails of the grievances aired and the remedies taken to have additional evidence of compliance with school regulations in case this happens again in the future.
For now, the chapter is planning to continue developing an industrial hemp display for the environmental science building on campus. UNTNORML is also currently drafting a petition to incorporate a set of county laws similar to Travis County, which would dramatically curtail the amount of marijuana-related arrests in Denton County.
For more information about UNTNORML, please check out www.facebook.com/untnorml.
By: Tristan Tucker
Tristan is the Executive Director of University of North Texas NORML