More than a 4/20 education
By | The Lumberjack Editorial Board
What is the first words that come to mind when you think of Humboldt State University? While it should be environmentally-conscience, often HSU is associated with marijuana culture.
Don’t let this issue’s dedication to 4/20, the nationally celebrated marijuana day, fool you. Although Humboldt county is a main hub of cannabis production, HSU isn’t as accepting of marijuana culture as our reputation suggests.
HSU may not actively promote this image — But HSU doesn’t do a thing to stop it either. Students come here thinking that the cannabis culture of Humboldt County will extend to HSU’s campus. Students are shocked when they get fined, suspended or even expelled for possession of cannabis.
Sure the HSU Student Rights and Responsibilities policy states that under federal law the sale or possession of marijuana are felonies carrying prison terms of seven years or more, but hey… HSU is located in the Emerald Triangle- the largest cannabis-producing region in the U.S. HSU collects on the persona of an accepting weed culture; a culture that attracts new students.
HSU’s conflicting views on marijuana was witnessed with the treatment of Christina DeGiovanni, a former HSU student and founder of Emerald magazine. In 2012, DeGiovanni was arrested for possession of marijuana sales, and being armed in the commission of a felony.
De Giovanni states in her first letter from the editor that the negative and ostracizing treatment she faced from HSU and the community during her trials encouraged her to start the magazine that embraces the stereotypes associated with cannabis users.
Not all look to weed culture as positively as Humboldt residents. Critics reject HSU as a serious academic university because of the casually flaunted 4/20 culture. While we are known for our Green initiatives, we are still mocked for being influenced by the marijuana industry that throttles Humboldt County.
If we want to be taken more seriously as a top University to potential students, we have to do more to address the stereotype that HSU is only about the weed. It attracts students to an area where they feel they will be welcomed into the throws of Humboldt Counties cannabis culture, often a risky and even dangerous endeavour.
Yes, Humboldt County heavily thrives on the Marijuana industry but HSU is more than just a community of growers, trimmigrants, and stoners. It is irresponsible and flat wrong for a university to benefit from a generalization about its campus, while simultaneously ignoring and demonizing that generalization. Weed: Either love it or hate it HSU.