Student-Workers on Drugs During Work

Last Friday, Pomona College’s Information Technology Services (ITS) Director of Client Services Julianne Journitz sent out an email warning student workers employed by ITS to adhere to federal drug policy amid observations that some student workers were showing up to work at ITS under the influence of controlled substances. ITS employs students to man its help desk along with other responsibilities.

“It has been observed by visitors to ITS [the ITS building, which includes a computer lab] that some student workers are coming to work under the influence of controlled substances. This is a reminder that Pomona College maintains a drug free workplace policy in compliance with federal law,” Journitz wrote in the email.

“Student workers are subject to the same policy as full time workers. If you are found to be at work under the influence of alcohol or weed or other controlled substances, it is grounds for an immediate termination,” Journitz warned, adding, “[t]hat this has been observed at different times and of different students is deeply disturbing and very painful for me.”

Referencing controlled substances, Journitz concluded by stating that “[i]f you feel that you need this to be able to to work, please work with the Dean of Students office so that we can get you assistance.”

Attached to the email was the college’s drug-free workplace policy, which states that “[i]n compliance with federal law, Pomona College maintains a drug-free workplace policy. Employees, as well as those who perform work for the College but are not employees (e.g., independent contractors, temporary agency personnel, authorized volunteers), are prohibited from unlawfully manufacturing, distributing, selling, offering to sell, dispensing, possessing, purchasing or using controlled substances on the premises of the College, at any time during working hours, including meal and break periods.”

According to Clery Act reports released earlier this month, Pomona College, and the Claremont Colleges Consortium as a whole—which also includes Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges—have faced an increase in reported drug offenses.

One student told the Independent on the condition of anonymity—given the sensitivity of the topic—that lack of drug offense enforcement at college campuses, including Pomona, may have lead to this behavior:

“Yeah, it [student workers high on controlled substances during work] is probably a result of lax enforcement…ultimately I think it’s the responsibility of the students to restrain themselves but honestly it may be a matter of addiction if you’re high 24/7 in which case Pomona should be involved.”

According to the college’s drug-free workplace policy, employees who need help with curbing drug use have the opportunity to do so through substance rehabilitation. The policy states that “[t]hose who are not terminated from employment will be offered the voluntary option of enrolling in a rehabilitation program.”

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