State Senate Advances CCSG-Backed Amnesty Plan

In the weeks following the death of Joe Dado in September 2009, Penn State emerged from the shock to begin enacting policies and programs across many of its administrative units — from the creation of the Student Alcohol Advisory Committee to processing some alcohol-related charges obtained off-campus through University Park Judicial Affairs, drinking was seen as an embarrassing blemish on the university’s reputation.

Many student organizations and governance/advocacy groups also responded to the tragic circumstances, including IFC/PHC changes to Greek social policies and UPUA participation on community panels.

Earlier this spring, medical amnesty, one of the policy suggestions backed early on by the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments and by the UPUA as well made a significant step in the state legislature.

The CCSG voted on a resolution submitted by the Student Affairs Director, Josh Crawford, on September 23, 2009 (just 2 days after Dado’s death) that asked for Penn State to provide medical amnesty for underage students who obtain help for someone suffering from a life-threatening, alcohol-related illness through emergency services and for the ill students themselves.

It looks like the state might act before the university though.

Senate Bill 448 passed unanimously a week ago. Called the Good Samaritan policy in the legislature’s verbiage, the bill provides legal amnesty to underage individuals who call emergency authorities to help a friend or acquaintance with a life-threatening, alcohol-related illness. The bill has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee, where it will likely be passed again without dissent.

CCSG President Pete Khoury believes the legislature’s action is in the public’s interest and that it will promote more responsible alcohol consumption at Penn State.

“Dangerous drinking is a public health concern,” he said. “We can curb it, but can’t stop it.”

We’ll be tracking the bill as it proceeds through the House process. Check back here and @OnwardState for updates when you have a break at your internship — at least, when you’re not catching up on DC summer intern stories.

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