UPDATE: Medical Amnesty Policy on Its Way

By Danielle Emig

The Student Association passed a medical amnesty policy that will allow students to call for help in drug and alcohol related emergencies without the fear of judicial action.

“Previously, students had been afraid to call for help because they themselves may have been intoxicated or been on drugs,” said Dan Scorpio, SA’s director of public relations.

Now known as the Good Samaritan Policy, SA overwhelmingly passed it at a meeting Monday night. It is in the final stages of being drafted with the Office of Judicial Affairs, Division of Student Affairs, and the Options program at SU. Part of the counseling center, Options is an alcohol and drug education, referral and assessment program at SU.

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SA has been working with Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, a campus organization, to extend SU’s amnesty policy since the beginning of the semester, though it has been on the table for a couple years.

“It’s often difficult to make these types of changes at the university level,” said Scorpio.

But SA began working hard with Thomas Wolfe, senior vice president and dean of student affairs, to make it happen at SU. They began by looking at other university’s policies, most notably Cornell University’s. They analyzed the causes and effects of their amnesty policy to see if it made sense for SU.

“At colleges that had the policy in place, calls for medical help, transportation, or assistance increased greatly,” said Scorpio. “What became clear to SA and SSDP was that it works, which is why they pushed so hard to get it here”

Although the amnesty policy will encourage students to call for help without punishment, it is just a university policy and does not supersede laws in Syracuse or in the state of New York.

SU will be the 92nd college nationwide to implement such a policy. It would cover the entire campus, including dorms, off-campus houses, and greek houses.

SA hopes to implement the amnesty policy in fall 2010.

Look for more in-depth coverage in the next print issue of the Student Voice.

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