Candidate for the position of Vice President Communities

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Dan Mccallum

Help not Harm!

Trigger Warning: References to sexual violence


In 2019, Scotland saw over 1,200 drug related deaths – a nationwide disaster. As this number grows, it’s more and more obvious that the current system of criminalisation does not and will not work, but the University of Stirling still maintains an approach prioritising punishment over support. How can the University call itself a ‘community’ when those who fall through the cracks are met with vindictive punishment rather than a helping hand? Let alone the seeming ignorance towards far worse issues – the University’s appalling rate of sexual harassment first among them.


Drug use happens for many reasons, and often reflects deeper problems in many people’s lives. Instead of helping people improve their lives and recover from addiction or problem drug usage, the University just chooses to punish – while making money off the very same punishments! After all, the University’s disciplinary code categorises drug use as a ‘level one’ offense - meaning those accused a fine of up to £200, a three-month suspension, and even eviction from University accommodation. It’s blatant that this must change – because who does it help? Not the student body, that’s for sure.


We already know the University cares more about profit than its students, just look at the travesty over accommodation as students who left during a pandemic, as they were advised to do, were met with exorbitant fee that many could not afford


I’m running as a representative of the Help not Harm campaign, and if elected I pledge to push for our demands whenever and wherever I can – these are:


  1. That possession of drugs (with the exception of those notoriously misused for date rape i.e. GHB and Rohypnol) be removed from the University’s and Student Union’s disciplinary code.
  2. That the University offer counselling and support for students found in possession of drugs
  3. That the University adopts a Help not Harm approach to campus control/supervision and adopts a Help not Harm campaign on drug use.