Criticism too harsh for mishap

Impeachment should be reserved for extreme cases, not for minor offences carried out in private.

The President of the Dalhousie Commerce Society (DCS), Colin Beiswanger, was recently scrutinized through an impeachment vote after being caught smoking marijuana in a hotel room at a conference. He partook in the event as a delegate, not as an official representative of the DCS.

While the vote didn’t pass, the DCS executive’s decision to vote on impeachment implies grave circumstances — circumstances that weren’t there.

The use of marijuana, while illegal, is extremely common among university students. The fact that Beiswanger was smoking weed shouldn’t be a total shock, especially since it wasn’t in public nor while he was officially representing the DCS.

At Queen’s, it’s a common practice for our student leaders to drink at public functions. They receive little to no criticism for their actions. The only difference here is that Beiswanger was using an illegal substance, however socially accepted it may be.

Beiswanger should’ve been weary of his actions, especially given his position as a public representative. His position implies that he should set an example at all times, not just when he’s officially fulfilling his job.

Engaging in illegal activities, however minor, put him at risk of criticism. Being in the public eye inevitably puts your misgivings, however minor, under a harsh spotlight.

It’s not that he doesn’t deserve reprimand — however, impeachment takes this issue to a higher level than needed. The fact that Beiswanger was caught doing what countless other students do shouldn’t be shocking. An apology would’ve sufficed.

Impeachment should be saved for the grossest offences, not for a relatively minor misdemeanor.

The DCS could’ve saved Beiswanger and their organization plenty of time by calling for less harsh measures to be taken against Beiswanger.

— Journal Editorial Board

This article has been updated to reflect the following correction: Colin Beiswanger was taking part in the Jeux de Commerce as a delegate. The Journal regrets the error.


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