Pubdate: Thu, 11 Sep 2003
Source: Columbia Daily Spectator (NY Edu)
Copyright: 2003 Spectator Publishing Company
Author: Leah B. Rorvig


To the Editor:

I was very saddened by the news of my friend Rich Lipkin's arrest on Aug.
19. However, I was even more saddened by Spectator's poor coverage of the
arrest ("CC Senior Arrested for Marijuana Possession," Sept. 4, 2003).
Spectator failed to investigate how the NYPD obtained a search warrant to
enter Rich's room in Broadway, to my knowledge an unprecedented event in the
history of undergraduate student arrests. Certainly the Columbia
administration has a vested interest in keeping the notorious NYPD out of
Columbia dorms for fear of the negative publicity it might cause.

Second, Spectator failed to address the context of the arrest. Rich Lipkin
is a model student: a talented composer, dedicated psychology researcher,
academically successful student, and active member of WKCR, Students for
Sensible Drug Policy, and the marching band. Any criminal justice system
that takes an active member of a community away from that community is
clearly flawed and ultimately far more harmful than Rich's alleged criminal
act: possession of marijuana. Rich Lipkin has never harmed anyone, but his
arrest hurt an entire community of students. I have faith that Columbia
students will rally behind Rich Lipkin's cause and continue to work to end
the harms caused by the unjust war on drugs.

Leah B. Rorvig,

CC '03

The author is a former president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh