The Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) club and OUSA are working together to get the club affiliated.
Affiliation would allow the SSDP to take advantage of OUSA’s resources and reach a wider audience, objectives supported by both parties. Originally, OUSA denied SSDP their application for affiliation because of an apparent “contradiction” in the SSDP’s constitution.
OUSA President Michela Waite-Harvey said that “one rule stated that supplying/dealing drugs would be immediate grounds for removal of a member, another clause then stated that ‘social supply’ would be discouraged but not a grounds for member removal.”
This prevented an affiliation from being granted. When interviewed for Critic Issue One, the SSDP exec said that if they hit any snags during their application, they expected it to be from this clause.
The OUSA Exec were concerned that the clause in question is “indication of intent”, that even if the clause were removed, “social supply may still be facilitated within the club.”
“OUSA has a core kaupapa of harm reduction,” said Michela, citing their partnership with, and advocacy for, KnowYourStuff over the years. They also continue to lobby for a change in disciplinary policy, aiming to prevent students from being excluded from the University and halls for non-violent minor drug possession incidents.
Brin Ryder, one of the exec members of SSDP, said that they sat down with OUSA last week “and made clear we were all on the same page”. SSDP is aiming to resubmit for affiliation.
OUSA has re-affiliated groups that have been declined in the past, but the reason why changes on a club-by-club basis. For some, it could be as little as “tidying up their paperwork”. For others, noted Michela, “if the overall value of the organisation can’t shift, and misaligns with our own, then they may not be welcomed back to re-apply.”