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Alcohol incidents lead to forum

Loyola's Emergency Medical Services have been called 85 times this year, 35 of which were for alcohol-related incidents.

This year, Loyola’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have been called 85 times, and 35 of those were for alcohol-related incidents.

In light of this statistic, the Unified Student Government Association (USGA) Residence Life and Dining Committee, Department of Campus Safety, Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR), and the Wellness Center hosted a forum in October to discuss alcohol use on campus, University policy, and provide a place for students to air their concerns.

Speakers at the event included two Loyola students, as well as student body president Sean Vera, Vice President of Student Development Robert Kelly, Health Educator Kevin Meier, Dean of Students Jane Neufeld, OSCCR Coordinator Dana Broadnax, and Student Communication Liaison Officer for Campus Safety Tim Cunningham.

Each administrator briefly spoke on the alcohol policy in place and the need for responsible consumption. One policy that was especially focused on was the Good Samaritan Policy, which says that if a student calls the Loyola EMS for a fellow student and stays with the student until an ambulance comes, they will not face disciplinary action. The requirements are essentially: must call for help, must stay with the victim, must talk with OSCCR about the incident afterward.

Brendan Keady, a sophomore, spoke about a time earlier this year where he was in an alcohol-induced coma for three days before he woke up. Luckily, he has no lasting liver or brain damage, but he said he is off alcohol for good. When asked later how the incident had affected him, he said he was completely sober, and would not drink again.

Students were concerned about the policy for several reasons, however. One student asked if they call for a friend if they can be taken to the hospital as well.  Another student asked what would happen if they were the “sober friend” at a party that got busted–would they as the “sober friend” also be in trouble?

Administrators generally responded that not consuming or being in the presence of alcohol was the best policy. Bill Meier noted that the Good Samaritan Policy is not a “get out of jail free” card, and students could still be taken to the hospital if too intoxicated. In response to the next question, Dana Broadnax responded that the policy states that if students are in the presence of alcohol under 21 you can get in trouble.

Junior USGA Senator Sarah McDowell, who coordinated the event, says the problem isn’t necessarily drinking but a lack of care that conflicts with the student promise.

“One of the main things that we wanted to address was responsibility. It’s not that we were preaching to not drink exactly, but we are urging students that do drink to drink more responsibly and put the student promise to use: care for yourself, care for others, and care for the community,” she says in an e-mail interview. “Thus one of the main problems is that students aren’t looking out for themselves or other people as much as they should when they get involved in drinking.”

From here, McDowell says that USGA is hoping to do more education on the Good Samaritan policy and responsible drinking, but plans are “still in the works.” In addition, she says the University is also hoping to continue with education focused on the Good Samaritan policy.

To find out more about the Good Samaritan policy, visit the policy page by clicking here.

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