Responsible Action Procedure cements UO policy of medical amnesty

If you’re drunk on campus, and you or a friend seek medical help from the university, you will not receive a citation or any disciplinary action.

Part of a campaign to increase student safety and trust, the University of Oregon officially enacted a policy this week guaranteeing that students will not be disciplined if they seek help for themselves or a friend while under the influence of illegal intoxicants. The policy is designed to increase reporting of sexual assault and dangerous substance use.

“The main purpose is to show that we value safety, the safety of our students, over everything else,” Sandy Weintraub, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, said. “You can’t be a student without feeling safe.”

UO is calling the practice the Responsible Action Procedure. While it was only given that name and officially added to the Student Conduct Code on Monday, Jan. 3, the practice has been informally in effect for many years.

In 2014, the Oregon House unanimously passed a bill for Medical Amnesty.

UO already had an informal reporting policy similar to the Medical Amnesty

“We hope the policy will encourage students to feel more confident in reporting sexual misconduct,” Weintraub said.

University of Oregon Police Department has also adopted the policy. Kelly McIver, Public Information Officer for UOPD, says that officers already value student safety over issuing Minor In Possession citations.

“We don’t issue MIPs if someone is seeking medical help for themselves or a friend, whether that help is related to their intoxication, or another issue like an accident or a violent crime like sexual assault,” McIver said. “This is not a new practice, it has been around since long before medical amnesty.”

According to UOPD’s 2015 Clery Crime Report, forcible sex offenses, and liquor and drug related arrests steadily decreased from 2012 to 2014. 2015 data is not yet available.

While the practice promises immunity for victims and reporters, there are a few exceptions. If the intoxication of any involved individual is deemed to have endangered others, the intoxicated individual will be cited.

The official policy also specifies that “alcohol and drug amnesty do not apply to conduct that involves plagiarism, cheating, or academic dishonesty.”

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Jennifer Fleck

Jennifer Fleck

Jennifer is a head correspondent for the Emerald focusing on politics and research. She also specializes in coverage of marijuana legalization in Oregon.