In a bold move, Emerson College has instituted a medical amnesty policy to encourage students who abuse drugs and alcohol to seek potentially life-saving medical treatment without the worry of disciplinary reprisal from the college.
“The overarching priority of Emerson College with respect to alcohol and other drugs is to ensure the safety and well-being of our students,” said Ron Ludman, dean of students at Emerson, in an email to the campus. “The College is committed to providing guidance so that students can learn to develop a responsible approach to social challenges, including whether to use alcohol, how to do so in moderation, and how to comply with local, state, and federal laws governing alcohol consumption.”
Ludman said that the college expects students to abide by the law and respect college policies governing drug and alcohol possession and consumption. “However, the College acknowledges there may be times when students may face medical emergencies involving excessive drinking and/or drug use. In these situations students are expected to call for assistance when concerned for their own health or welfare or that of another student,” Ludman said. “In order to encourage students to seek prompt and appropriate attention for alcohol or any other drug intoxication the College has instituted a “Medical Amnesty” policy.”
According to the policy: “Seeking medical assistance for oneself or a fellow student demonstrates responsible student behavior. When evaluating an alcohol violation the College will consider whether a student sought medical assistance for oneself or another person in need, and in most cases view the act of seeking medical assistance as good judgment and accordingly, not deserving of typical disciplinary sanctions.”
Therefore, Emerson students will not be subject to a disciplinary fine, hearing, probation, suspension or other punishment if they exercise good judgment and act in the medical best interests of themselves and their fellow students.
Students’ parents will still be called and students could be required to meet with the Emerson Counseling Center and Wellness
Educator in these cases.