The dean of students is optimistic that the recently-instated interim medical amnesty policy for alcohol cases will become a permanent policy in the fall.
As of Tuesday the University implemented a temporary medical amnesty policy to give protection and help to students who have been found drinking underage while seeking medical attention. Any student who receive or seek medical aid for themselves or others will be exempt from University discipline.
“I’m very optimistic our University Senate will look at this proposal as a good samaritan policy,” said Danita Brown, dean of students. “This not a free range to go get drunk without consequences.”
The policy will be apart of the University’s strengthened efforts toward alcohol education and safety in this year. Starting this year, all incoming freshmen will have to take online alcohol education classes and all current students will be encouraged to do so as well.
“The programs will show the risks associated with alcohol, having too much alcohol, being underage with alcohol,” Brown said. “We want to help students understand the risks they are taking.”
According to Jeffery Stefancic, associate dean of students in the office of students’ rights and responsibility, the policy “currently speaks to cases involving alcohol, as this was the primary concern raised by PSG.” This means the policy does not apply to students who may need medical attention because of drug overdose.
There are still risks that will exist for students as far as reprimand, even with this medical amnesty policy in place. Students will still be fully responsible for consequences from the law for underage drinking, although Brown thinks reprimand may not be as severe for students seeking medical aid for themselves or others.
Both the Purdue and West Lafayette police departments will participate in the policy so even those student who are off-campus will be under the medical amnesty’s policy.
Jason Dombkowski, the chief of the West Lafayette Police Department, said that he has wholeheartedly supported the policy from the start.
“We have operated for a long time encouraging students to contact us for medical attention for their friends,” Dombkowski said. “We’d hate to have someone not to call us for fear of reprimand.
“The most important thing is safety and the safety of students is paramount.”
Brad Krites, the former Purdue Student Government president, ran for PSG presidency with medical amnesty on ticket in Spring 2010. This year, Brett Highley, the current PSG president, campaigned with taking medical amnesty for students to the state and plans to pursue this in the fall.
The interim medical amnesty policy will be introduced at Boiler Gold Rush this year as apart of the alcohol education program, even though the policy will still be in its interim period.
The medical amnesty policy will be officially voted on in September by the University Senate.
“Students should not hesitate to give assistance to their friends if they truly care about them,” Brown said. “Even if the situation gets out of hand to give us a call ... we’d rather save a life than not.”