Drug Free: The Standard

Introduction

The men of Delta Kappa Epsilon hold themselves accountable to many high standards and membership in the fraternity is a rare privilege and honor.  One of those standards is to keep oneself free from the use and abuse of illegal drugs.  All pledges and actives have signed a Membership Agreement promising to live up to this standard in spirit and in letter.  Failure to abide by this promise will not be tolerated by the chapter.

Illegal drug use is prevalent at the college level and has significantly risen in recent years[1].  Surveys at colleges and universities across the country indicate the percentage of students who used various other drugs within the past year: marijuana (32.3 percent); amphetamines (6.5%); hallucinogens (7.5%); cocaine (3.7%); and designer drugs such as Ecstasy (3.6%).[2] Additionally, the use of “study drugs” is on the increase.[3]  The reasons given include to experiment, to get high, and to have a good time with friends among others.[4]

The following is an outline of the drug testing program designed to assist the pledges and actives of Psi Chapter in their effort to live up to the standards of Delta Kappa Epsilon.  The goal of the drug testing program is threefold: 1) to deter drug use by members of the fraternity and 2) to assist in the identification of students in need of help and 3) to provide a protective program in which all will participate for the good of the chapter and in support of each individual brother.  Additionally, the chapter must abide by University rules prohibiting the use of illegal drugs and comply with the federal laws regarding illegal drug use (Drug Free Schools and Communities Act & Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended in 1998) at institutions of higher learning. This drug testing program is not intended to catch and punish those students who use illegal drugs, but rather to provide a disincentive to drug use and a convenient excuse for fraternity members to use when pressured by peers to use illegal drugs.  It is expected that every DKE will cooperate with and support fully the testing process, report for sample collection in a timely fashion and accept all consequences determined by the chapter for failure to remain drug free.

It should be noted that failure to submit to a drug test for any reason will be recorded as a positive test result.  The only exception to the defined program will be for an emergency as outlined in the plan below.  The program’s third party administrator will be solely responsible for determining whether a request for exception has merit.

Drug Testing Plan

  1. All students “entering” the Psi Chapter are required to submit to mandatory drug testing. This includes all incoming freshmen and any members who have been inactive for any amount of time.
  2. Random testing of a specified percentage of the entire chapter will be conducted throughout the school year. The percentage is established at 60% of the entire population of the chapter but may be increased for any reason including, but not limited to, an excess of positive test results. Testing of an individual member may occur more than one time throughout the school year.
  3. The first date for testing will be scheduled as early in the school year as possible, but no later than the end of September. Additional test dates for administration of mandatory and random testing will be scheduled at approximately 50 day intervals throughout the school year.
  4. The particulars of testing (location, date and times) will be prearranged by the third party administrator (TPA) in conjunction with Student Health Services. Testing will be by hair sample conducted by a professional testing lab and following their procedures and chain of custody protocols.
  5. Testing dates shall be communicated by the TPA to the Chapter as soon as they are determined. This information shall also be shared by the Chapter with those contemplating pledging DKE and their parents as soon as they are placed on the rush list.
  6. Students selected for testing will be notified by email by the TPA and given a two week window to report to the Student Health Services for hair sample collection. All hair samples will be tested by the testing lab for a 90 day window of detection of use of illegal drugs.
  7. Students will identify themselves at all required testing using their driver’s license and will be given a written confirmation following the sample collection. This confirmation should be retained by the student for future verification.
  8. Students who are unable to be tested during the specified testing times should make other arrangements with Student Health Services to be tested before the deadline. Exemptions will be granted by the TPA on a case by case basis (rarely) and only if prior arrangement was impossible or if an emergency precluded the ability of the student to be tested.
  9. Failure to report for sample collection will result in an immediate chapter suspension and the resulting actions as if the member had failed a second drug test (parental notification, chapter suspension for a minimum of 100 days while the DKE House is open, etc.). The member will remain suspended until such time as the member passes a drug test. The member must arrange to be retested by contacting the TPA and report to the Student Health Services for hair sample collection at the time assigned by the TPA.
  10. A student who goes inactive after being sent a notification to report for a test will be presumed to be going inactive to avoid a positive test. A letter to the student and his parents will be sent notifying them of this situation and the student will be required to pass a drug test before being allowed to become active in the chapter again but must remain inactive for a minimum of 100 days while the DKE House is open.
  11. All test results will be sent by the testing lab to the designated TPA. Student and parental notification will occur with each positive test result generated, whether that result is generated by an actual test or the failure to take a test.
  12. Notification will be made by the TPA solely to a student and his parents if the student has a first positive test result. The student will be assigned a new date for testing approximately 100 days from the original day assigned to submit a sample.
  13. In the case of second positive test result by actual failure of a test or by a single instance of not providing a sample, the TPA will notify the member and his parents, the Chapter’s representatives, and the House Corporation of the member’s violation of the membership policy.
  14. The second positive test a student receives will result in the student’s suspension from the chapter for a minimum of 100 days while the DKE house is open. If a student has been readmitted to the chapter and fails a third test, the student will have his membership terminated.
  15. Under no circumstances will specific test results be shared with the University. Summary statistics alone will be provided with no ability to identify individual students.

Third Party Administrator (TPA)

The TPA plays a critical role in the continuation of this important drug testing program.  The TPA’s responsibilities include:

  • Providing notification of the testing dates and deadlines to the Chapter.
  • Selecting those members who are required to submit to a drug test as chosen through a random process.
  • Coordinating test samples and results.
  • Reviewing student appeals for emergency exception and ruling on whether the request has merit.
  • Maintaining a confidential list of members, when they were tested and the test results.
  • Notifying students and parents of the first positive results.  The TPA will communicate only with the student and his parents at the first positive.
  • Notifying students, parents and the Chapter’s representatives of subsequent positive results.
  • Providing a summary report of the testing results with no traceability to individual members to the Officers of the Chapter and to the House Corporation.
  • Communication to parents, members and prospective members including the chapter drug testing policy and testing dates including reminders as the dates draw near.

Officers of the Chapter

Officers of the chapter are expected to…

  • Educate the chapter and particularly the pledge class on the drug testing program;
  • Ensure that the penalties are enforced on those students who have been suspended or expelled from the chapter or fraternity and supervising the reinstatement policy; and
  • Personally support the drug policies of the house and serve as a positive example to the rest of the chapter and the university.

Reinstatement

A student who has been removed from the chapter for a second positive test result may apply for reinstatement after a minimum suspension of no less than 100 days.  In order to qualify for reinstatement, the student must demonstrate his commitment to live by the chapter’s drug-free policy by voluntarily submitting to counseling either through the Student Health Services or a private provider. Additionally, the student must submit to and pass a drug screening by the designated testing lab after his suspension but before being reinstated.  Upon completion of the suspension period, entry into a counseling program and successfully passing the drug screening, the student must receive a 66% chapter approval for reinstatement. Once reinstated, the student will be placed in the full chapter pool for random testing.  Any additional positive test result will result in permanent expulsion from the chapter and removal of the member’s name from the rolls of DKE International.

Summary

This program is the cumulative result of the experiences and issues encountered during the program’s implementation at Psi Chapter.  This program will help protect our young men, save lives, get help for those students in need, strengthen Psi Chapter of DKE, and serve as an example to other fraternities at UA and throughout the nation.  It is up to the men of the Psi Chapter to lead the fight against illegal drugs which will ultimately strengthen the chapter, protect our brothers and further establish DKEs leadership at the University of Alabama.

[1] “College Drug Use, Binge Drinking Rise”, http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-03-15-college-drug-use_N.htm

[2] “Alcohol and Drug Abuse on College Campuses”, http://www.yic.gov/drugfree/alcabuse.html

[3] “More Students Turning Illegally To ‘Smart’ Drugs”, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100254163

[4]“ Reasons for Use, Abstention, and Quitting Illicit Drug Use by American Adolescents”,  http://monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/occpapers/occ44.pdf

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