Truman State University adopts alcohol and drug amnesty policy

The 2018 edition of Truman State University’s Student Conduct Code features a new amnesty clause for students who call for help in the case of an alcohol- or drug-related medical emergency, even if they are in violation of the University’s alcohol policy.

Truman’s “dry campus” policy remains in place, and the language of the previous alcohol and drug policy remains unchanged. However, under the new code, if a student requires medical attention, they could be granted amnesty if they or another student call for help and cooperate with emergency responders. This follows Missouri’s adoption of a similar “good samaritan” law last year aimed at preventing deaths from opioid overdoses. The policy protects students from University sanctions, but students might still be subject to legal penalties or required to take substance abuse education courses.

Janna Stoskopf, vice president for student affairs, said members of Student Government have been promoting an amnesty policy in emergency situations for over a decade. She said students must fulfill three requirements to be eligible for amnesty.

“If someone sees that a student has been consuming substance to the point where medical attention would be appropriate, if they call for help, if they stay with the person and they cooperate with the emergency personnel that arrive, [the students] have the opportunity to receive medical amnesty for that,” Stoskopf said.

Stoskopf said policy shows the University’s main priority is student safety. However, she said while the policy might prevent a student from getting a conduct violation on their record, the University could still require the student to complete coursework or training about substance abuse, which the student would have to pay for. The University amnesty policy will also not protect students from legal penalties, such as a citation for being a minor in possession.

Sara Holzmeier, director of public safety, said campus police enforce both laws and University policies, but their primary concern is saving lives.

“When it comes to a medical emergency … we’re not so concerned about the law violation — we’re concerned about saving the life,” Holzmeier said. “I like that the University did this because I hope this encourages people who are on the fence about calling to just call, because somebody’s life is so much more important than worrying about getting [a minor in possession citation].”

For more, pick up a copy of The Index on Thursday, Aug. 30.