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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Texas University Changes Drug Discipline Policy Amid Suggestion of Racism

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Monday, December 19, 2022   

A fledgling Texas newspaper is claiming credit for a change in policy by the Texas State University System regarding penalties for students found to have illegally possessed, used, sold or distributed drugs, including marijuana.

The year-old Caldwell/Hays Examiner sued the higher education institution in San Marcos to find out the race of students suspended and expelled due to marijuana infractions.

Jordan Buckley, publisher of the paper, said until recently, a student with one drug offense, on or off campus, was subject to discipline ranging from mandatory counseling to expulsion. A second offense meant permanent expulsion. He explained the newspaper believed racism was involved.

"We've heard for a long time in San Marcos that the people being impacted by this policy of 'two strikes and you're expelled' have disproportionately and perhaps exclusively been people of color," Buckley reported.

Texas State previously told Austin's KXAN-TV it does not comment on active litigation. But during a meeting last month, the Board of Regents eliminated the second offense of expulsion from the system's policy.

In the November election, nearly 82% of San Marcos voters approved decriminalizing marijuana possession within the city limits.

Buckley noted the Caldwell/Hays Examiner sued after the school refused to provide requested information, citing students' privacy. He believes the policy change enacted by the Board of Regents is a successful example of grassroots organizing to expose systemic racism.

"It's also, I think, a victory for journalism and for the Open Records Act," Buckley asserted. "The university refused to comply with the Open Records Act and we pressed on."

The newspaper serves Hayes and Caldwell counties, an area between Austin and San Antonio.

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