Recently, Ithaca College’s Medical Amnesty Policy (MAP) has caused significant confusion for students who used the policy but were confused by their initial guidance. The MAP is a relatively complex policy that requires review and approval from the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards when it is used. This review assesses the validity of the claim, decides if there are any violations unprotected by the policy (like assault under the influence) and checks if the students involved completed the Balancing Alcohol & Substance Use to Improve College Success (BASICS) program. Of course, the majority of students would not know all of these details because they are mostly reserved from the purview of students unless they specifically seek it out.
The resources available online for MAP information are misleading to students. When one searches “Ithaca College Medical Amnesty Policy,” the first link they will find leads them to a page that briefly describes the MAP and provides them with a link to the “full MAP,” which instead redirects to the main Center for Health Promotion website. They will find more information on the second link, which leads them to a full description of the policy. This link can also be found under “Health Information” then “Medical Amnesty Policies: Ithaca College and NYS” through the Center for Health Promotion’s website. This may seem inconsequential, but users are nearly twice as likely to click the first result on a search results page over the second result, especially if that result is relevant to their search. The college must either revise the first page, remove the first page or optimize the SEO for these pages to protect students and provide them with easily accessible information.
There is nothing in the resources that students receive upon acceptance or arrival that lays out the MAP. The student handbook says nothing about the MAP, and the BASICS program required to invoke the policy makes no mention of the MAP in the program. RAs and orientation leaders must, at minimum, be instructed to provide the correct link to incoming students. This is a matter of student safety and must be addressed as such.