Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Medical Amnesty Policy?
Denison's Medical Amnesty Policy was designed to remove barriers that might discourage a student from seeking help in a medical emergency. In particular, we may exempt students from the University's disciplinary process when they seek medical help for themselves or other impaired students.There is no "level" of emergency to which a situation must rise in order to receive amnesty. If there is any doubt in an alcohol-related emergency, a student should call a residential life staff member or campus security officer for help. It is better to be safe than sorry.
When does the Medical Amnesty Policy apply?
In order to receive amnesty, students must respond proactively in alcohol-related situations. This means that students must take the initiative to get assistance from a residential life staff member (HR/RA) or an official in Campus Safety and Security.
What happens if Campus Safety and Security responds before a student has requested Medical Amnesty?
The Medical Amnesty Policy would normally not apply. Medical Amnesty must be requested before Denison staff members have become involved in the alcohol-related medical emergency in order for Medical Amnesty to be granted.
What actually happens when a student calls for help?
Requests for help usually go to Security & Safety, which sends a Denison officer to appraise the student's condition. In most cases, Security personnel take students to Whisler to be monitored by medical staff. If Security officers or Whisler staff believe that more advanced medical attention is needed, they will call Granville Fire Department medics to assess the situation and make transport to Licking Memorial Hospital if necessary. Granville Police accompany paramedics to campus whenever and wherever the paramedics are called for an alcohol overdose.
What Code of Student Conduct violations does the Medical Amnesty Policy cover?
Violations of the Code of Student Conduct that specifically relate to alcohol and its use are covered. This includes providing alcohol to underage persons, underage possession, underage consumption and public intoxication.
What violations of the Code are not covered under by the policy?
Medical Amnesty only covers violations of the Code of Student Conduct directly related to alcohol emergencies. It does not cover alcohol related behavior that violates the rights of others or leads to disorderly or dangerous behavior. Examples of conduct not covered include assault, sexual misconduct, disorderly conduct, vandalism, and driving under the influence. Violation of the University’s policies regarding drugs are not covered by the Policy. Additionally, the Policy does not prevent action by city, county or state law enforcement.
What if a student has violated other policies in addition to the alcohol policy?
The incident will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Campus Values for resolution. Should a student be found responsible for a violation, it is likely the the student would be expected to participate in educational programs and interventions as part of any conduct outcome.
Are there conditions under which students requesting medical amnesty can be cited or arrested?
Firefighters and paramedics do not issue citations or make arrests - only police do that. Legally, the police have the authority to cite students for underage consumption and other violations of the law. However, GPD and Denison have an understanding that GPD will intervene only if students become violent or disorderly, or intentionally interfere with the work of paramedics or others assisting in an emergency response. They are able to make that commitment so long as Denison ensures that students receiving medical amnesty fulfill the educational expectations of that policy.
Can students who are seeking medical amnesty get cited or arrested once they're at the hospital?
This has been extremely rare in our experience and has only occurred when a student has been abusive with the emergency room medical staff. This is definitely not the norm for our students.
What should a student expect from Campus Safety and Security officers in an alcohol-related incident?
In a situation where a Denison Campus Safety and Security officer is called to assist a student, the officer may refer the student to meet with the Dean of Students during the next business day if the officer believes the student is safe to be returned to the care of her/himself. In incidents where the intoxicated student is being disruptive or committing other violations of the Code of Student Conduct, the officer will evaluate the situation and respond accordingly; this may lead to the filing of a conduct report through the Office of Student Conduct and Campus Values. If the officer does not believe the student is safe on his or her own (due to a high level of intoxication), the student will be transported to the Health Center in Whisler Hall or evaluated by Granville Emergency Medical Services for possible transport to Licking Memorial Hospital Emergency Department. If the student refuses transport, or becomes violent or abusive, Granville Police may arrest the student. In such cases, the student may remain in police custody until he or she is no longer a safety risk.
What happens if a student is driving under the influence?
This would not be a medical amnesty situation. GPD could follow the student onto campus and would likely make an arrest, either at the time of the incident or later (depending on the student's condition). Campus Security is required by law to involve GPD if they discover a student driving under the influence. Fortunately, most of our students rely on designated drivers rather than driving while intoxicated.
After receiving amnesty under the Policy, what are a student's responsibilities?
In lieu of being charged with alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct, a student will attend a required meeting to discuss the incident and University expectations. This meeting will be with either the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Campus Values or the Coordinator of Alcohol, Drug & Health Education. The student may be required to complete specific educational requirements, which could include referral for alcohol and substance use assessment. He or she would not be subject to any conduct action or disciplinary sanctions. However, failure by the student either to attend the required meeting or to complete any assigned education and/or assessment interventions may result in the student being referred to the normal conduct process for violation of the Code of Student Conduct (Failure to Comply) as well as alcohol-related charges.
Why are educational requirements issued?
In situations where a student consumes so much alcohol that a medical emergency ensues, the University believes it has an obligation to use the situation as an opportunity to educate the student on alcohol-related issues, University policy, and the law. We believe it would simply be irresponsible of the University not to use the situation as an opportunity to help the student to learn safer alternatives and better habits for the future.
What are the educational requirements?
Based on the nature of the incident, the student may be required to complete appropriate educational assignments, which could include programs such as: an educational class about alcohol and decision-making, an online alcohol education program, or written reflective exercises. In some instances, a student may be referred for an alcohol use assessment with a counselor at Whisler Health & Counseling Center, who will recommend appropriate interventions (e.g., individual counseling; intensive individual treatment).
How many times can individuals be granted amnesty?
There is no limit to the number of times a student may receive amnesty (or initiate referral) under the policy. However, repeated incidents where alcohol intoxication warrants assistance will prompt a higher degree of concern and sometimes a higher level of educational response. Extreme situations may result in the Dean of Students recommending a medical withdrawal (as opposed to a disciplinary suspension, which could be applied absent the Medical Amnesty Policy) or applying the University's Medical Withdrawal Protocol or Required Administrative Withdrawal Protocol.
How many times can an organization or group be granted amnesty?
There is no limit to the number of referrals an organization or group may initiate or receive under the Medical Amnesty Policy. However, serious or repeated incidents where alcohol intoxication warrants assistance for a guest will prompt a higher degree of concern and therefore a higher level of educational response. Extreme situations or repeated incidents may result in the loss or restriction of the privilege to host future social events.
Are my conversations confidential?
Conversations with counselors are considered confidential.In order for the Medical Amnesty Policy to apply, a student will be required to sign a release so the counselor can inform the Director of Alcohol, Drug and Health Education that the student is in compliance or has completed the assigned program.
Will my parents find out?
Parents are usually contacted when a student's health is at risk due to alcohol or other drugs. When possible, the Dean of Students will contact a student to let her/him know that there is sufficient concern to warrant communication with parents or guardians. Questions regarding communication with parents or guardians should be directed to the Dean of Students.
Will I be required to tell future employers or professional schools about the violation?
Students should always answer questions asked by employers and college applications honestly. Denison does not consider educational interventions to be part of a student’s reportable disciplinary record, so a student is not considered to have a reportable "disciplinary record" unless he/she has been found responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. If a student has been granted Medical Amnesty and has completed the subsequent assignments in accordance with Medical Amnesty Policy, the alcohol violations related to the incident involved with Medical Amnesty will not be reportable as "disciplinary action".
If my campus organization or team requests medical amnesty, will our advisor, coach, national office, etc. be notified?
Advisers, coaches and representatives of organizations that have reporting offices outside of the University expect the University to communicate with them when their organization has an event where a member or guest has been involved in an alcohol-related medical emergency that falls under the Medical Amnesty Policy. The University will continue to notify those advisers, coaches, and representatives and inform them of the educational interventions required by the University.
What can I do to prevent these situations, or to make sure things go as well as possible?
- Act within the range of consequences you can handle. If you don't want to risk a medical emergency, legal action, embarrassment or other negative outcomes, make your decisions about drinking accordingly.
- Denison students routinely use risk-reducing strategies to prevent alcohol poisoning, like pacing themselves or alternating water and alcohol. See the "No Regrets" posters around campus for more strategies, or go to No Regrets.
- If you are hosting a party, designate "sober monitors" to keep an eye on others. Make sure water is available. Food, too. Cut off drinkers who have had too much. Don't serve underage drinkers, especially if they are already intoxicated. Doing so is a legal risk.
- Because students call early, we have never experienced a student death from alcohol. Call for help as soon as you think it is needed. Don't wait for someone else to call, or for an impaired person to become even more intoxicated. Medical risk and the likelihood of legal action increase while you wait.
- After you call, remain with the student in need to assure a smooth and effective interaction with safety and security staff.
How effective is the Medical Amnesty policy?
While just over 25% of students charged with alcohol offenses under the Code of Student Conduct have subsequent offenses, only 5% of students receiving medical amnesty have subsequent alcohol violations or overdoses. 80% of students receiving amnesty say they are very receptive to alcohol education after the emergency.