Scripps Adds Amnesty Clause to Alcohol Policy

Scripps College has added an amnesty clause to its alcohol policy, Dean of Students Rebecca Lee wrote in an e-mail to students April 13.    

The new clause is the result of the Alcohol Task Force’s semester-long effort to review and change the school’s alcohol policy. Under the amnesty clause, intoxicated students who seek medical help, as well as students who seek help for their peers, will be exempt from disciplinary action.    

“One of the primary differences is what I hope will be a shift in student perception,” Lee said. “I hope that it will reassure students that it’s OK to seek medical help when it’s warranted. The intention of the policy is really to increase the level of comfort in seeking help.”    

The task force, assembled in October, was composed of administrators, students and a faculty member. The task force proposed the changes, which the college’s senior staff approved unanimously.   

Before the formation of the task force, Scripps students and faculty discussed the policy in a “Be Heard” forum.    

“At the Be Heard forum, no one thought the policy was perfect,” said Marta Bean SC ’14, a member of the task force and a Scripps Associated Students representative. “There was a general consensus, among drinkers and non-drinkers, that the language of the policy did not help build community on campus. They also agreed that there were some parts that were outdated and/or arbitrary.”    

Aside from eliminating discipline for intoxicated students who seek medical help, the policy requires that the student meet with a member of the Dean of Students staff after the incident, Lee said. She added that students may also be required to complete a drug or alcohol education program.    

“Fortunately, we don’t typically have many alcohol-related health situations here at Scripps,” Lee said. “With this policy we hope to even reduce the number of situations for which the amnesty piece would apply, because our overall goal is to have students make wise social choices.”    

Certain incidents would not be protected by the new clause, Lee said.    

“If there were other situations—serious situations like an assault that resulted from alcohol, the amnesty policy will not protect against disciplinary action,” she said.    

The task force plans to examine other aspects of the alcohol policy, including the sections that govern alcohol abuse, possession and the number of guests allowed in a dorm room, Lee said.    

“I think that the policy still needs to change more and we are currently reviewing residential life policies, but the safety first/medical amnesty policy is a step in the right direction,” Bean said.

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