Alcohol Medical Emergency Amnesty at Colleges and Universities

Alcohol medical emergency amnesty policies at colleges and universities are designed to give a higher priority to protecting students' safety and lives than to enforcing alcohol rules and regulations.

Harvard University, the University of Georgia, Yale University, and Cornell University are a few of the many institutions that have medical alcohol emergency amnesty policies.

Clemson University is considering such a policy after a major tragedy that might have been prevented had students not feared punishment from reporting an alcohol-induced medical emergency that resulted in death.

The vice president for student affairs at Clemson University said that "The health and safety of our students is absolutely No. 1" adding that "We still need to treat the student in a way that they recognize they have harmed themselves There will still need to be an intervention."

A Clemson student leader said that "Students often express concern over the university's response to emergency medical attention and alcohol. It's unfortunate we punish students who act responsibly." Students want to remove barriers that discourage them from seeking medical help for others.

Gwendolyn Dungy, executive director of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, says that school policies should focus on keeping students safe and encouraging them to look out for one another.

"To say that students are going to abstain and not have anything to drink is unrealistic," Dungy said. "We have to find a way to deal with the issue that is more realistic."


  • Students urge Clemson to alter alcohol policy. Winston-Salem Journal, February 10, 2008.
  • James T. Hammond. Alcohol amnesty pushed at Clemson. The Herald, February 9, 2008.
  • Alcohol amnesty at college. The Herald, February 14, 2008.