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May 17, 2015 | by  | in News |
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Stoners safe for now

Victoria students remain safe from the scourge of random drug testing, while students down south are not so lucky.

Otago Polytechnic is considering extending drug testing to most students and staff, after testing around 100 engineering students earlier this year.

Currently, the polytech has a policy of only testing arboricultural students—meaning they can prune, but not inhale, trees.

The proposed new policy would allow the polytech to test if staff had reason to believe someone was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as tests after an accident.

Pam Thorburn, Director of Student Academic Services, said Victoria University is not considering drug testing.

“We have not previously considered it and are not currently considering it. No specific concerns have been raised with us around this matter.”

While this is great news for anyone who spends time in the cemetery, spare a thought for those studying design, arts or hospitality down south—they could be tested, as Otago Polytechnic has deemed those faculties “safety sensitive areas”.

In fact, the only students whose sobriety Otago Polytechnic won’t test are those studying business and IT.

Tertiary Education Union (TEU) President Sandra Gray said random testing was “highly invasive”.

“Under what they’ve called safety sensitive areas, they have included a huge range of programmes.”

VUWSA President Rick Zwaan said the testing was “bizarre” and he was pleased Victoria was not considering implementing a similar policy.

“If Vic decided to follow suit I would be worried at the drop in staff and students coming to class.”

Thankfully, there is no New Zealand tertiary institute that currently tests whether you’ve turned up still in last night’s clothes, smelling faintly of Fat Bird and suffering from scurvy because you’ve eaten nothing but KK Malaysia for a week. Happy days.

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