SSDP takes action on campus


Submitted photos.

Caitlin Restelli

Students lay on the Esplanade in front of the MAC Center and had their bodies outlined with chalk Monday.

Emily Haft, Students for Sensible Drug Policy president, said the goal of the demonstration was to bring awareness about the Mexican drug war and border violence.

“A lot of people who are not from the Southern states are not aware anything is happening in Mexico,” said Haft, sophomore zoology major.

Every person outlined on the Esplanade represented 100 people killed in Mexico. SSDP’s goal was to outline 350 people to represent the approximately 35,000 people who have died due to the drug war since 2006.

SSDP member David Goldshtein said they outlined 50-60 people during the four-hour demonstration.

“It’s taken on a sort of cartoony feel, but it’s interactive; it is engaging,” said Tom Zocolo, SSDP member. “This is probably one of the more effective informational events that we’ve put on.”

Student reactions varied from being interested to not paying attention to the demonstration.

“They range from complete apathy to ‘where do you want my corpse,’” said Zocolo, junior exploratory major. “People have been pretty supportive overall, and if they aren’t supportive they’re generally apathetic.”

According to a BBC News article, in 2006, Felipe Calderón was elected as Mexico’s president. Soon after entering office, he declared war on the drug cartels, which are criminal organizations with a purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations.

Haft said fewer than 100 of the 35,000 deaths have happened on U.S. turf, but violence is still spilling over the border into the U.S. She said SSDP believes the drug war is the main factor causing the border violence and deaths.

Haft said that by ending drug prohibition in the U.S., the drug war will die off because the cartels get 60 percent revenue from marijuana sales in the U.S.

“With these laws we are creating a black market,” said Goldshtein, junior political science major.

If the marijuana laws are changed in the U.S. it would stop the violence in Mexico, Goldsthein said.

Contact Caitlin Restelli at [email protected].