Higher Education Act bill Reform by way of DRCNET

Mike Steindel (CLaw7MAn@webtv.net)
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 22:19:20 -0700 (PDT)


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Dear friends, 

We at the Drug Reform Coordination Network are writing today to ask you
to take two short minutes to raise your voice to Congress on an issue of
great importance. The Higher Education Act of 1998, signed into law last
fall, includes a provision that delays or denies all federal financial
aid eligibility for any drug conviction, no matter how minor. 

Regardless of how you feel about drugs or the drug laws, we hope you'll
agree that cutting off access to educational opportunity will be
counterproductive and detrimental to the future of tens of thousands of
young people and to our nation as a whole, and is an unnecessary and
vindictive second punishment leveled against people who have already
paid whatever price the criminal justice system demands. 

Please take a few moments right now to fill out our online Higher
Education Act Reform Petition, calling on Congress to enact H.R. 1053, a
bill that would repeal the HEA drug provision and restore judge's
discretion. Please visit: http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com to sign the
petition and learn more about the HEA drug provision and how and why
students and a wide range of national organizations, including the ACLU,
NAACP and the United States Students Association, are organizing to
oppose it. Our petition will send a letter from your e-mail address to
YOUR U.S. 
Representative and two Senators. Again, the web site is: 
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0
http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com 

Don't let the war on drugs become a war on education! Sign the petition,
and then take a minute to visit the "Tell Your Friends" page on
RaiseYourVoice or to forward this or your own note to your friends and
to appropriate mailing lists and forums. Here are some reasons the HEA
drug provision is wrong: 

=A0 * Judges already have the power to rescind financial aid eligibility
as individual cases warrant. The HEA drug provision removes that
discretion. 

=A0 * The vast majority of Americans convicted of a drug offense are
convicted of non-violent, low-level possession. 

=A0 * The HEA drug provision represents a penalty levied only on the
poor and the working class; wealthier students will not have the doors
of college closed to them for want of financial aid. 

=A0 * The HEA drug provision will also have a disparate impact on
different races. African Americans, for example, who comprise 13% of the
population and 13% of all drug users, account for more than 55% of those
convicted of drug charges. 

=A0 * No other class of offense carries automatic loss of financial aid
eligibility. 

=A0 * Access to a college education is the surest route to the
mainstream economy and a crime-free life. 

For further information on the HEA reform campaign, visit
http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com and click on "Why HEA Reform?" And visit
http://www.u-net.org to learn more about the student HEA reform campaign
and how to get involved! Visit DRCNet's web site at
http://www.drcnet.org for much more information on the impact of the
drug war on society.


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