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A dopehead on the job, and dopiness at UConn

Congratulations to state government on a rare triumph of public administration, the dismissal of a maintenance worker at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington who was caught smoking marijuana on the job in 2012.

According to the Connecticut Law Tribune, the UConn employee drove a state government van to a secluded area to smoke the dope, was spotted and arrested by a police officer and fired two months later. In an appeal brought by Local 511 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the worker argued that the state’s legalization of marijuana for medical use nullified any policy state government might have had against using the drug at work and that his use should have been forgiven because of “stresses” in his life. 

Predictably enough, a state arbiter found the worker’s dismissal excessive and ordered him reinstated after an unpaid suspension of six months. But state government appealed to Superior Court, where Judge Antonio C. Robaina last month overturned the arbiter and confirmed the firing, noting that the worker had no prescription for marijuana and that the arbiter was suggesting that “stress in one’s personal life somehow excuses use of marijuana in the workplace.”

Of course the judge’s decision was only elementary and the assertion of the fired worker and his union was ridiculous — the assertion of a right not just to be intoxicated on the job but to drive a state government vehicle while intoxicated. But one can only imagine how many thousands of dollars were spent by the government in the appeals process to defeat the ridiculous claim.

Public administration in Connecticut actually teems with such expensive nonsense. For example, also in 2012 dozens of state employees defrauded state government of emergency food assistance and were fired but then reinstated through arbitration — and, worse, they enjoyed concealment of their identities because the Malloy administration construed the law protecting the identities of welfare applicants to require protecting even the identities of state employees who steal welfare benefits.

In addition to the dopehead at the UConn Health Center, the SEIU represented some of the state employees who stole welfare benefits. The union describes itself as dedicated to “creating a more just and humane society” — an elegant way of saying, “Let’s take one of those EBT cards and the van keys and go get some reefer. The boss will never miss us. Maybe we can even get overtime.”

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While its nominal objective is to become “a great research university,” where professors can delegate to graduate assistants the instruction of mere students, the University of Connecticut’s real objective seems to be political correctness.

Lately UConn’s main campus at Storrs has been convulsed by a dispute between a white male fraternity and a black female sorority involving a confrontation over the painting of a “spirit rock.” The sorority accused the fraternity of racial and sexist insults, and anonymous insults to the sorority have been made on social media. The university is investigating. The fraternity denies any misconduct but has been ordered to undergo diversity and sensitivity indoctrination and to stop painting rocks anywhere, on campus or off.

UConn President Susan Herbst declared: “These are serious allegations that the university continues to thoroughly investigate, as it should. There is no room for hateful speech or incivility on our campuses. ... UConn students, faculty, and staff share a responsibility to reinforce the values of diversity, civility, and respect.” 

Serious allegations? A kindergarten teacher facing such childishness might have responded simply, “Oh, grow up.” A more conscientious university administrator would disband all sororities and fraternities because of their separatism and cliquishness. 

But Herbst gets $500,000 a year out of UConn, plus two houses, and will deliver all the politically correct and pious posturing necesssary to bring UConn into the top ranks of higher education.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.