Ski Trip’s upcoming event in Colorado raises questions about Northwestern’s marijuana policy

Emily Chin, Reporter

Marijuana use will be prohibited on Ski Trip despite the drug’s legal status in Colorado, a Northwestern administrator told The Daily.

The trip, which is sold out for the first time this year, will take more than 900 students to Copper Mountain in Colorado, a state where marijuana use is legal for people over the age of 21. However, the Student Handbook’s stance on whether use of the drug is permitted on the trip is unclear.

The Student Handbook states the use of illegal drugs is prohibited “except as expressly permitted by law.” The handbook also states in a separate passage that marijuana usage “at University-related activities is and shall remain prohibited.”

Despite the drug’s legality in Colorado, NU’s drug policies “are enforced no matter where students are,” said Tara Sullivan, director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

“We expect that if (students) are on a school-sponsored trip, that they are not participating in drug use,” Sullivan said.

Ski Trip President Harris Goodison said the group is not funded by the University, but it is an Associated Student Government-recognized organization. Tickets were sold through Norris Box Office, and students must sign a University waiver before participating on the trip.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy co-president Daniel Hurwitz said students should be allowed to use marijuana on Ski Trip if they are over 21. He said smoking marijuana in Colorado is safer than in other states because the state can regulate the drug.

“I feel that if students are going to be in Colorado and they follow the law in Colorado, they have the right to do that,” the Weinberg senior said. “I feel that individuals have the right to decide whether they’re going to use drugs or not.”

A Weinberg sophomore going on the trip, who asked to remain anonymous, agrees that marijuana use during the trip should be allowed.

“I’d say if it’s ‘expressly permitted,’ Northwestern students on Ski Trip should be allowed to smoke with no consequences if they’re over 21,” she said.

Goodison, a Weinberg senior, said when students are on the trip, they are acting under the University’s name, and they are representing themselves and the school. He called Ski Trip “a signature Northwestern event.”

“Their actions on the trip represent both themselves and the Northwestern brand, and we just hope for responsibility and really make that push for responsible action on the trip,” Goodison said. “We have a sense of Northwestern community there, and we hope that Northwestern students know how to conduct themselves. And we hope that they conduct themselves the same way on campus and represent themselves under that Northwestern banner.”

The Weinberg sophomore said she thinks people will still smoke marijuana on the trip because of the novelty of its legality. She said that if the opportunity to smoke comes up for her on the trip, she will do so, even though it’s still illegal for her because of her age.

Editor’s note: The headline and lead of this story were edited for clarity Nov. 19 at 1:30 a.m.

Email: [email protected]