By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~
Two years ago, first-year student Andrew Redd began a campaign to change the amnesty policy in place at Xavier. The amnesty policy entitled police to impose educational and any other type of sanctions they felt appropriate when dealing with students who consumed alcohol underage.
Redd wanted to change that policy, as many students around the world have died due to alcohol overdose that could have been prevented if one of their friends had picked up a phone instead of worrying about his or her own punishment.
“I’d rather have 1,000 students get off from underage drinking than one student die from alcohol poisoning,” Redd, now president of Student Government Association, said. Two years later, Redd, with the help of a mother who lost her child to alcohol overdose, was able to change the amnesty policy to help prevent other alcohol-related deaths.
“Before the medical amnesty policy event, the policy was nothing, as no one seemed to talk about it. After the event, everyone seemed to be on board with the fact that we needed change and that we needed certain things to happen,” Redd said.
Within the same year, Redd and fellow students were able to change the amnesty policy. The policy states now any student under the influence or notan call 911 without receiving any sanctions for doing so if his or her friend has overdosed on alcohol and needs medical attention. The person who had alcohol poisoning, however will receive an educational sanction.
“Don’t be scared to call for help. Everyone thinks Xavier police are out to get them, but they are not out to get you. If you call for help because your friends are over-intoxicated, Xavier Police is there to help assist your friend and no one is going to get punished for it,” Redd said.
Since the policy change, the Dean of Students Jean Griffin has worked closely with Res Life and residential as to help share the change in this policy to the incoming first years. The amnesty policy is discussed during the first hall meetings and should be explained by Manresa leaders during Xavier’s first-year orientation.
Redd is also working with the new Police Chief, Joseph Milek about the Do Something, Say Something campaign. “When I leave office, I want to throw this Do Something, Say Something campaign on (Milek’s) back so that he can continue it on. This will give us three avenues to tackle this issue and to let students know that they and their friends can get safety if they ever need it,” Redd said.
Just recently, Xavier’s new policy on amnesty is included in the student handbook for quick reference and review, encouraging students to seek assistance during an alcohol, drug or other medical emergency. The amnesty policy encourages a bystander or an impaired student to call for immediate medical assistance by eliminating the sanctions typically applied under Xavier’s alcohol and other drug policy.
“In a life threatening situation like that no one should be afraid to call the campus police because of sanctions,” Redd said. “That is why we eliminated that boundary in the policy, in hopes to make it easier to call the police.”