Are drunk students too afraid to seek help in an emergency?

Tuesday I posted a Gustavian Weekly piece about “limited immunity,” the school policy that gives some protection to students who are on alcohol or drugs when they call for help in an emergency and need help from safety or health staff either for themselves or someone else. (In other words, they won’t face campus judicial proceedings.)

I was curious about what prompted the review, so I called Associate Dean of Students Deirdre Rosenfeld.

No incident or series of complaints prompted the review, she said.

But college officials noticed that fewer than five people in all have used the policy over the past three years, she said. That’s a tiny number considering the school sees about 200 alcohol violations and about 20-40 “high-risk” drinking incidents a year.

“We think we could have 50 people a year using this policy,” she said.

The implication: Students may be afraid of getting busted by administration — leaving a black mark on their record — if they go to authorities in an emergency. (A black mark might be an issue if that student cares applies to an institution such as law school, Rosenfeld said.)

She said the college hopes to have a policy rewritten by the end of the academic year to make it clearer, and plans on “committing more time, energy and human resources to promote this policy.”

Interestingly enough, although some East Coast colleges have such a policy — one had 137 such “Good Samaritan” calls last year, she said — initial Gustavian research couldn’t dig up any other program at a Minnesota private college.

“It’s an emerging best practice,” Rosenfeld said.

What have you seen?

Do other colleges or universities in Minnesota have such a practice?