CVCP just says no

April 10, 1998

Your article on the "drug-dealer student" (THES, April 3) wrongly accuses United Kingdom universities of "sweeping under the carpet", "turning a blind eye" and being "complacent", in their treatment of illegal drug abuse on campuses.

Universities are greatly concerned that those found engaging in drug abuse should be dealt with swiftly and by the proper authorities, namely, the police. In recent years the Council of Vice-Chancellors and Principals has twice addressed this issue at the request of its members.

The 1994 report on disciplinary procedures (Zellick report) was explicit in its advice that "all offences relating to controlled drugs which come to the attention of universities should be notified to the police". This was based on helpful discussion with the police, prosecution offices and the National Union of Students.

In June 1997 the CVCP, in conjunction with the Standing Conference of Principals and the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education, published guidelines on higher education drug and alcohol policies. This was aimed at providing greater awareness, accessible support and clear disciplinary practices and procedures.

The CVCP will continue to review university policy in this area. The clear impression you gave that nothing had been done so far, either by institutions themselves or by their representative bodies, could not be further from the truth.

Diana Warwick Chief Executive, CVCP

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