Senate to discuss campus drug policy

Amye Buckley

Discussion has started on a resolution put before Student Senate to give Missouri Southern a “Good Samaritan” policy.

Under the resolution, which will receive a second reading next week, students experiencing a medical emergency from alcohol or drugs would not be subject to University discipline for calling emergency medical help. Amnesty would also be granted to the caller.

“Not every time people drink is there a medical emergency,” said Kyle Tucker, English instructor.

Tucker and several students who support the resolution talked with Senators after Wednesday’s meeting. He plans to return for the next Senate meeting where the bill will receive its second reading.

Tucker says the measure would strictly address medical emergencies and the repercussions for students involved. If adopted changes would affect only University policy, not state or local ordinances.

“What’s more important, possibly saving somebody’s life or punishing that student for a minor offense which students are still going to do on campus whether this is enacted or not,” said Kyle Maddy, sophomore public relations major, and student of the resolution.”

Organizers for the petition brought a list of other schools with a similar policy in place and say it is important for schools not to penalize students who may be in a life or death situation.

“It’s going to make it a safer place,” Maddy said.

The group cited a study at Cornell University where calls for medical assistance doubled after a similar policy was put in place, but Student Senators worried about student abuse of the policy.

“People drink on campus – regardless of the rules,” said Senator Jeff Walker, senior graphic design major.

Walker worries that students would become repeat offenders, abusing the policy if there are no consequences. Although he supports a one-time amnesty, he says if students have consistent drug or alcohol problems they need help.

“I would hate for that person to come back on campus and do it again,” Walker said.

Tucker compared students trying to abuse the policy to pulling the fire alarm as a prank. He believes potential for abuse is small.

“It’s kind of hard to fake a medical emergency,” Tucker said.

Discussion on the Student Senate floor is scheduled for next week’s meeting. The rule, if passed, would still have to go through Faculty Senate to make its way into University policy.