OPINION: Student conduct policies are archaic, dangerous

It is a real shame when a university that prides itself on innovative thinking refuses to follow policy recommendations that can and will save student lives. As you can read in Ellen Glickman’s article, Mason’s own expert on public health has recommended that the university adopt a Good Samaritan policy.

This policy, also called a medical amnesty policy, would allow students to be free from punishment from the school if they call for medical assistance for someone who became ill from alcohol or drugs. As it applies to student conduct, Mason’s administration seems to be a few steps behind their counterparts at other universities.

Both William & Mary and the University of Virginia have Good Samaritan policies in place, and Virginia Tech says those who call for medical assistance will likely receive a lesser punishment for their actions.

Mason’s policies don’t even address the issue. Office of Student Conduct Director Brent Ericson and his staff have

routinely avoided the topic and address calls for change with vague suggestions of “continuing the conversation” about the policy. While we continue this conversation, students continue to binge drink and their friends continue to “help” by giving them a glass of water and sending them off to bed.

Students are less likely to seek medical assistance for a friend when they know it will eventually lead to a punishment from Student Conduct.

The real tragedy will be when a Mason student dies. Nearly 2,000 students die every year from alcohol poisoning and with Brent and Co.’s mindless ignorance, Mason’s due up in the next couple of years.

It is a morbid thought on a morbid reality, but it will happen.

In the mean time, Student Conduct’s punishment-first policy will continue to be one of the biggest liabilities to students on campus.

To submit your own thoughts about this issue, send written responses to GMUFourthEstate@gmail.com.

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