Student Government voted against legislation Tuesday that would ask UTPD to make marijuana possession a lower priority offense.
The legislation encourages UTPD to issue citations instead of arrests, arguing it will save UTPD time, energy and money, and would encourage the enforcement of the campus-wide tobacco be a higher priority than marijuana. The legislation also states this lower priority would help limit disproportionate treatment under the law, based on race or ethnicity.
Perry Pickei, public health junior and natural science representative, said his constituents in the College of Natural Science are not in support of the legislation. Pickei said the legislation is insufficient and Student Government should wait until the next term starts April 4, with new representatives to continue researching the topic before pushing for similar legislation.
“Students come to this university to change the world, not to get high,” Pickei said. “This resolution is hurried and rash.”
Several representatives said the legislation overstepped Student Government’s responsibility and power to try to impact police policy.
Robert Love, public affairs graduate student and an author of the legislation, said the purpose of the legislation is to promote police efficiency and more equal treatment under the law.
“This makes sense as far as saving money and police resources,” Love said. “We’re not trying to change policy; we are encouraging what they already are doing, [which is] issuing citations.”
UTPD Chief Robert Dahlstrom said according to Travis County law, officers have the option to arrest or issue a citation to those in possession of fewer than four ounces of marijuana, at the officer’s discretion.
“A resolution from [Student Government] doesn’t mean legally we have to change our policy,” Dahlstrom said. “I’m in support of citations when possible.”
Dahlstrom said officers will abide by state law regardless of any campus policy or legislation. He said in cases with less than two ounces, citations are almost always issued.
In 2012, UTPD had 58 controlled substance cases, although not all involved students.
Although Texas weather is struggling to make up its mind, Saturday’s reopening of Barton Springs Pool is a sure sign that summer is on its way.
The pool, which is fed by a natural spring, remains at an average 68 degrees throughout the year, according to the City of Austin website. It has been fully closed since December for repairs to the bypass tunnel and dam.
Victor Ovalle, public information officer for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, said Parks and Recreation staff had hoped to have the pool open before spring break, but they are still working to prepare for Saturday’s opening.
“We expect the pool to be open this summer during its normal hours, and we’re glad to have our park patrons back to enjoy the pool in the normal way that they do,” Ovalle said. “We’re hoping that the repairs will help us keep the pool open for a long time. I know our staff is still continuing to work on cleaning to pool in preparation for Saturday.”
Adult admission to the pool is $3, and it is closed on Thursdays for cleaning.