Reed Clarifies What the U.S. Attorney Said

April 28, 2010

Reed College has clarified just what laws were cited when federal and state authorities summoned its president last week to a meeting to request that he crack down on drug use at the institution. Only one statute -- known as a "crackhouse" law -- was cited, and not another statute that could result in a loss of federal eligibility for student loans, college officials now say. In an e-mail to students after his meeting last week, Colin Diver, the president, said "In the course of the conversation, the U.S. Attorney pointedly referred to a federal statute that makes it a criminal and civil offense for anyone knowingly to operate any facility for the purpose of using illegal drugs. We were also reminded of federal legislation that allows all federal funding -- including student loans -- to be withdrawn from any college or university that fails to take adequate steps to combat illegal drug activity." The U.S. attorney contacted Inside Higher Ed and said he never threatened to invoke any law involving federal student loans. Diver now says that while the U.S. attorney "referred to .. federal legislation that could be applied to the college if it failed to crack down more forcefully on drug use," he never cited the Drug-Free Schools Act, which is the legislation that could have resulted in loan eligibility ending. Diver said he sent the U.S. attorney's office a copy of his e-mail to students before distribution and that no one flagged a problem with his mention of the other law. All parties now agree that only the crackhouse law -- under which Reed could face large fines, but not any loss of loan eligibility -- was cited.

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