Drunk on Campus? Seek help first and worry about the consequences later..

Jessie Hellmann

 In 2009, 23 individuals were arrested on campus for underage drinking, and 278 individuals faced university discipline for breaking the university’s dry campus policy according to USI’s security office.

 The Student Government Association (SGA) is working on a policy that would keep students free from severe consequences if they call for help because they, or someone nearby, experiences severe intoxication or a severe injury after consuming alcohol.

“We’d like to see a formal bylaw set up in USI’s drug and alcohol policy where it allows students to seek help first and worry about the consequences later because safety is more important,” SGA President Jordan Whitledge said.

 Whitledge and SGA Chief Justice James Fidler are currently working on the research stage of the project.

 The policy proposal will eventually go to a group that reviews the university code of conduct. Housing staff, security staff, faculty and students make up the group. The group will then decide whether or not to implement the policy.

 If implemented, the policy will be put into effect July 1.

While the university does not have an official policy on medical amnesty, it does have an “unofficial” policy, the Dean of Students Barry Schonberger said.

 Schonberger said if someone calls security, a resident assistant or any other university official for help in an alcohol-related incident this will be taken into consideration.

“We certainly take into consideration the fact that they stepped up and informed us and did the right thing,” Schonberger said.

 While a student who steps up and calls for help may not face severe consequences, they may be asked to have a discussion about decision making.

 Schonberger said he is not sure the Good Samaritan Policy would significantly increase the number of students disciplined for drinking.

 “I’m sure there would be some (increase), but we’re very fortunate that we have a caring community,” Schonberger said.

 Purdue University already implemented the medical amnesty policy. The policy ensures students they will not face university discipline if they seek medical assistance when someone they help is intoxicated.

 Schonberger said the Good Samaritan Policy is a national campaign.

Schonberger said if the policy is implemented, one of its main focuses will be making the policy public and visible so students know they can ask for help.