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Letters to the Editor

A rebuttal to “Is Our Retention Problem Actually A Perception Problem?”

by Aaron Smith, guest writer

Read Christian Diaz’s piece, Is Our Retention Problem Actually A Perception Problem?


Speaking as a sober student, this school has a substance problem. There is no illusion in my mind that other colleges are sanctuaries of sobriety but, from speaking with friends who attend University of North Carolina in Asheville (UNCA) and Western Carolina University, Warren Wilson is a hub of substance abuse that is bordering on excess.

As far as marijuana is concerned, anyone who has attended classes or worked here for more than a month knows that it is a huge problem on this campus. My friends who attend UNCA have stated that their friends who smoke marijuana travel to Warren Wilson to buy their weed because “…it’s just top-notch there.” Every night of the week my roommate and I smell weed roll in through our window while we are trying to do homework or sleep. Many of my peers at this school seem to believe weed is on the same level as food and water as a means of survival. I even have friends who travel up to four hours from their home just to get the “top-notch” weed that is sold here.

When I toured Warren Wilson and applied here I didn’t realize that I would be attending a never ending party that just happened to have work and classes and cost $30,000 a year. Warren Wilson ranks within the top 20 (at spot number 13 on one list and at number 1 on yet another) on “The Princeton Review” of marijuana friendly campuses.

Alcohol is another buzzword around campus. Those of a legal age want to get drunk and most don’t have any moral problems with buying alcohol for someone who is underage. I was told that students calm down after freshman year because they are used to the environment of college and they haven’t just been released from a near 18 year lockdown by their parents—I was told wrong. Either the consumption of alcohol has increased in the upperclassmen or the freshmen were better at hiding it.

As soon as Thursday looms near underage students are making their way “over the bridge” to the rooms of upperclassmen who can legally buy alcohol to stock up for “Thirsty Thursdays” and the upcoming weekend. Of course if you are an introverted freshman you can always mosey over to Sage Circle and hang out for a bit until someone offers you alcohol. The amount of injuries that I’ve seen come from drinking are numerous and they have occurred mainly to those who are not of legal drinking age.

The survey referenced in last issues “Is Our Retention Problem Actually A Perception Problem?” is, in my opinion, not representative of the student body. I know many students who didn’t even know the survey was sent out and I know many more who, as soon as a survey appears in their inbox, delete them. The information gathered through the survey that supplied the statistics “1/3rd [of Warren Wilson students] have never smoked in their lives.” and “only 10% [have] smoked tobacco”, is flawed. The article does point out that this information is “[from] those who participated [in the survey]” but the article goes on to state that “This points toward a disconnection between perception and reality, much like it manifests in the perception of increased enforcement, that negatively affects retention.” The latter statement is made with the false assumption that the survey represents the entirety of the student body, therefore flawing the facts.

That being said, Warren Wilson does have a substance abuse problem and our retention problem may very well be a perception problem.

Read the Echo’s response to Aaron’s rebuttal

More in Op/Ed


One Response to “A rebuttal to “Is Our Retention Problem Actually A Perception Problem?””

  1. No one has a “problem” except those who are trying to control others who engage in refreshing their mind with an herb. If you’re so worried about if other people are drinking or smoking, maybe college isn’t the right environment for you, it’s not a place where dictating the choices of others is tolerated. Smoking pot isn’t a substance abuse problem, it’s only a problem from your perception. If you know about Warren Wilson’s ranking in the pot-friendly campuses and you’re not a pot-friendly person, why did you want to go there?

    Posted by -____- | February 4, 2013, 12:18 am

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