Thursday, September 23, 2021

If you find yourself in the position of trying to figure out what to do about a fellow student who is in medical distress due to alcohol or other substance use, you don't have to worry that doing the right thing will get you or the student in distress in trouble.

Under the University of Iowa's Responsible Action Protocol, also referred to as a "Good Samaritan Policy," the university won't penalize you for your own use of alcohol or drugs if we find out about that use because you called 911 or residence hall staff to help a fellow student -- or yourself. Thanks to Undergraduate Student Government, this protocol now applies to certain situations involving people under the age of 21, including those receiving citations for the possession of alcohol under the legal age, possession of a fake ID, as well as arrests for public intoxication. There are some exceptions (mainly you can't abuse the policy and you can't supply the alcohol or drugs), but the policy is set up to encourage you to seek help when it's necessary and appropriate.

Additionally, in cases when a student has been a victim of sexual misconduct while under the influence of alcohol, the Office of Student Accountability will not pursue university violations against the student (or a witness) for their improper use of alcohol or drugs (e.g. underage drinking) if the student is making a good faith report of sexual misconduct.

The best thing is to avoid these situations by being smart, staying safe, and helping your fellow students stay safe. However, if you ever need to call for help, don't let concerns about university policies get in the way.