While there are and have been alcohol task forces and alcohol steering committees at Radford University, none have passed a resolution to compel the administration to adopt an alcohol-related policy. As such, the Student Government Association deemed it appropriate to develop the framework for one, and it passed this week with an overwhelming majority.
Good Samaritan Policies and the closely related Medical Amnesty Policies work to reduce student fatalities related to alcohol and drug use. Oftentimes, students will delay or not make a call to emergency services for fear of getting in trouble due to a conduct violation that would be discovered if the call were made.
A GSP/MAP offers students directly involved with a medical emergency an exemption from getting a strike and being charged with certain conduct violations.
If a student is caught drinking underage, they could get multiple strikes, or even suspended. There are times when consumption is happening, or has happened, that a medical emergency exists.
Students involved in conduct violations during a situation that might warrant a trip to the emergency room are faced with a dilemma: call for help and get in trouble, sometimes to the point of suspension, or don’t call for help and hope for the best.
The Medical Amnesty Protocol addresses both the students who make the 911 calls and the people who get medical attention. It outlines an alternate path for someone in violation of alcohol and/or drug policies so that strikes aren’t part of the deal.
The introduction to the MAP states: “This protocol does not condone under-age drinking, excessive drinking, or illegal drug use. Adoption of it encourages more students to make the appropriate decision to call for help when emergency medical attention is needed. The conduct process must emphasize education, not academic penalties and to do so requires focus on growth and development.”
The framework of the proposal was developed in a special committee, which included current student body President Randi-Lyn Randall, Chief of Staff Jon Mitchell, First Year Council Chair and SGA President-elect Lee Hicks, CHBS Senator and Vice President-elect Justin Blankenship, School Spirit Coordinator Daniel Testerman and others.
Joining the students were RU Assistant Dean of Students David Horton, Vice President of Student Affairs Mark Shanley, Substance Abuse Violence Education Support services Director Lee Carter, RU Alcohol Task Force member and communications professor Dr. John Brummette and Sgt. Scott D. Shaffer, a certified crime prevention specialist with the RUPD.
“I applaud my fellow SGA members that recognized that this Medical Amnesty Protocol would not only encourage students to call for medical assistance when needed, but this protocol would also save lives,” Hicks said. “I look forward to seeing this protocol become policy before the end of the summer. It is now in the hands of the administration here at Radford University and I am anticipating their support of this life-saving measure.”
Shaffer echoed Hicks’ desire for expediency, saying “I’d like to see it in place before Quest.”
Horton and Shanley expressed the feeling that the proposed policy should be circulated through several different bodies within the university to give more interested parties the chance to weigh in and revise it as they deem appropriate. After the circulation, it would be passed to the presidential cabinet, including the Board of Visitors, for review, voting and possible implementation.
“Personally, I joined this organization to make a difference” said Justin Blankenship, a rising sophomore who shared the sentiment with over 80 percent of the voting body in saying that this MAP was one way to do so.