You and some friends decide to drink together in your dorm room on a Saturday night. You’re not 21, but you’re not driving so you’re not too concerned. Things get out of hand and one of your friends gets sick. Really sick. You’re scared of what’s going to happen to your friend if you do nothing. You’ve heard about what’s happened to other people, so you know it could happen to them.
We hear these stories every day, and most people would do the right thing and call 911. What happens with the people that are afraid of calling 911? The people that are afraid that they’ll get arrested and spend a night in jail and will possibly never recover from having that on their record? They probably won’t call. I fear for the person who is friends with someone like this, but truthfully I bet most of us have these friends.
The state of Florida has a Good Samaritan Act (sometimes known as Medical Amnesty Policy), meaning that if you were to call 911 in this instance, you and your sick friend wouldn’t be arrested for being drunk because you rendered emergency voluntary aid.
Florida Gulf Coast University, however, doesn’t share this policy.
At FGCU, if you call the police because you are in the aforementioned scenario, you might not be arrested, but you will be sent through conduct.
Currently, more than 240 universities have enacted Good Samaritan policies nationwide, including two in the state of Florida — Florida Atlantic University and Florida State University.
The problem that many administrators at universities have with this policy is that they believe that it looks like a “get out of jail free” card for irresponsibility or binge drinking. They also fear that it will make people believe that the university condones this behavior.
The reality of the issue at hand is that Good Samaritan policies do not depict this. Instead, they show that a student’s life is more important than disciplining a student for doing the right thing in that situation.
I’m not saying that underage drinking is the right thing, but it happens. This is college, so believing that students aren’t going to drink is not realistic.
Believing that students want to do right by a friend that is in a bad situation is a completely other statement.
Good Samaritan policies work to eliminate these problems. With these in place, students are significantly more likely to do the right thing. A 2006 study at Cornell University showed that emergency calls increased while the alcohol abuse rates remained the same when a Good Samaritan Law was implemented.
Good Samaritan policies save lives and make our campus a safer place. It’s time for FGCU to care more about student’s lives and less about our image in the public eye.
Eagles, watch out for your friends.