Pubdate: Wed, 14 Apr 2004
Source: Daily Lobo (U of NM, Edu, NM)
Copyright: 2004 Daily Lobo
Author: Mandi Kane
Photo: Photo: From left, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy members Alicia 
Haynes, Christina Haynes, Gabrielle Guzzardo and Emily Schriber collect 
signatures for a petition to repeal the drug provision of the Higher 
Education Act at Smith Plaza on Tuesday. The ID cards on the front of the 
booth represent the more than 140,000 students who lost financial aid due 
to drug convictions since 2000.
Bookmark: (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


Students For Sensible Drug Policy Call Politicians

Members of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy inspired more than 80
students to make phone calls to state legislative offices Tuesday as part
of a national "phone slam" to repeal the Higher Education Act's drug provision.

"We wanted to raise awareness and have as many phone calls go in to the
offices as possible," said Gabrielle Guzzardo, president of SSDP.

The drug provision denies federal funds to students with past drug
convictions and was passed as an amendment to the Higher Education Act in 1998.

Question No. 35 on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid asks about
drug convictions.

Depending on the offense, students can be denied funding for various
periods of time.

"It depends on the conviction," she said. "For petty offenses, you are
banned for a year. For a felony conviction, you are never eligible."

Since 2000, 140,000 students have been denied financial aid because of the

"Anyone who genuinely wants to better themselves should have the chance to
do so," Guzzardo said. "Education is the best way to do that, and we should
support that."

The group set up a booth in front of Zimmerman Library with cell phones and
written scripts. The members asked passers-by to make phone calls to the
offices of Sen. Pete Domenici, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Heather Wilson.

Guzzardo said more than 50 calls were made to Bingaman's office Tuesday
afternoon, and by the end of the day, his office confirmed the senator
would support the bill.

Guzzardo said she was happy about the progress made with Bingaman, but was
disappointed with Wilson's office, which hung up on students four times
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom