Ithaca College has green-lighted a pilot program that will give students medical amnesty if under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in a drug-related emergency.
With the program in place as of last week, students who call Public Safety or an emergency line to report a drug-related medical emergency will not face judicial action for being under the influence of a substance.
Junior Benjamin Malakoff, director of public relations for the college’s chapter of SSDP, said the pilot policy, endorsed by the board of trustees this May, was enacted to curb students’ reluctance when seeking medical help for fear of judicial consequences.
“We are trying to get word out to students, especially incoming freshmen,” he said.
While drafting the policy last semester, SSDP worked closely with Michael Leary, assistant director of judicial affairs, to ensure the plausibility of launching it on campus. Leary said part of the reason the policy was approved was because it was a direct effort of a student organization.
For example, the student needing assistance is eligible for medical amnesty only once, and most students who use their amnesty will be required to participate in a program designed to help educate them about the dangers of substance abuse. The pilot policy also doesn’t supersede state and federal laws.
“We’re very hopeful that students really take advantage of this,” he said. “It’s brand new for our campus, and I hope students feel comfortable and call.”