The University of California, Davis, is introducing a new medical amnesty protocol so fear of getting into trouble won’t keep students from calling for medical help in an emergency related to alcohol or drugs.
The new protocol, in some places called a 911 good Samaritan policy, is part of a trend at colleges toward safeguarding instead of punishing students who misuse alcohol or drugs. And at UC Davis, it builds on recent efforts that encourage students to care for their peers in critical moments.
Under the new Aggies Act, neither a student calling for medical help nor a student receiving it would be subject to the university’s formal student conduct processes if certain conditions are met.
“The major goal is to remove one of the barriers to getting help in life-threatening situations,” said Raeann Davis, a UC Davis health promotion specialist for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. “We want to foster a responsible and caring community.”
The protocol becomes effective on Sept. 25, the first day of the fall quarter.
After an incident, a student would be referred to the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs or, in the case of residents of university housing, Student Housing staff. The student might be required to complete an assigned activity such as participating in an alcohol education group or meeting with an intervention consultant. A record of the incident would be part of an administrative, rather than a disciplinary, file.
For the protocol to apply, a student must not have committed any other major Student Conduct Code violations — beyond the illicit use and/or possession of alcohol or drugs — during the incident. Also, students may not have used the protocol within the last two years.
Other efforts at UC Davis encourage students to be, not bystanders, but “upstanders” who help their peers. The Red Watch Band Program is a workshop on how and when to take action and call for help in alcohol poisoning and overdose situations. A campaign against sexual violence uses the Aggie nickname to tell students to Act, Get Help, Give support, Intervene in a safe manner and Encourage others to speak out.