A recent article from USA Today mentioned 31 states that have developed medical amnesty laws in which students under the influence of substances can contact authorities without having to worry about their own state. However, Plattsburgh State has already developed a medical amnesty policy in the Good Samaritan Act.
PSUC Director of Student Conduct Larry Allen the college understands that students who are under the influence of alcohol or other substances could be hesitant to report incidents of violence because they fear the ramifications of being caught while under the influence themselves.
However, Allen said PSUC strongly encourages students to report violent incidents.
“A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of those types of violence to SUNY Plattsburgh officials or law enforcement will not be subject to SUNY Plattsburgh’s policies.”
According to Allen, the policy was put in place “to encourage students to report, and we don’t want students fearful of doing so,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re notified, so that we can provide proper services.”
PSUC education major Jill Buckley had an experience with someone who was dangerously intoxicated when she noticed a man stumbling in the streets clearly intoxicated.
“I asked him if he was OK, and he asked me to marry him.” Buckley, who lives in the college suites, found out that the student also lived in the College Suites building at the time of the incident and brought him back to his room.
Buckley didn’t know about the Good Samaritan law but said she probably would have still brought him back.
According to Allen, Plattsburgh’s policy parallels the SUNY legal guidance and legislation. “We’ve been practicing that already, but now it’s saying that all campuses both private and public must practice that and have it in their policy,” Allen said.
PSUC English and education major Cody Fulmer approved of the Good Samaritan policy.
“It’s very good that we have it. It helps people get the medical attention when they need it. They shouldn’t be afraid to call the police, they should just do it,” he said.
When going out, early childhood special education major Rachel Feldberg drinks responsibly. “I like watching over my friends and making sure that they’re OK,” she said.
Feldberg said if she sees someone else in trouble, she will evaluate the situation. If she feels safe, she checks up on the person. In these moments the Good Samaritan law doesn’t occur to her.
The USA Today article reported that the University of Michigan’s creating a new program, effective for the freshmen class of 2019, which will notify parents after their student receives two or more alcohol violations or violations that result in destruction of property or medical attention.
The parents will be notified by Michigan’s wellness center as opposed to the school’s conduct office or dean of students.
However, Buckley found problems with Michigan’s approach.
“They would be afraid to seek help because their parents would find out,” she said. “I don’t think it would reduce drinking. People are going to do what they want to do. They’re just going to hide it more.”
Buckley believes underage drinking is definitely a health issue, as well was a disciplinary one. She explained that if someone doesn’t get help it can become a health issue.
“We are required for any underage student found responsible for alcohol or drug violations or anything that would be recorded into the Clery act to notify parents,” Allen said.
He explained if a student admits responsibility for being in the presence of alcohol containers as an under-aged student, Student Conduct & Judicial Affairs sends a copy of the sanction and violation to the student’s home address.
“I believe the parents should be involved if they’re (the students) abusing alcohol. It’s a good way to stop addiction. Parents should have a say in what their kids are getting into,” Fulmer said.
Fulmer agreed the practice would deter people from underage drinking. “It’s the same way you don’t want your parents to know your sexual history. It’s the same way with alcohol.”
“What happens in Plattsburgh stays in Plattsburgh,” Fulmer said.
Email Patrick Willisch at firstname.lastname@example.org