Minnesota Group Pushes 'Good Samaritan' Rule

Under new rule, students could call emergency services if a friend is drunk and not get in trouble.

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Students at the University of Minnesota are pushing for a new policy that might set them apart from their Big Ten rivals.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is proposing a "Good Samaritan" rule that would allow students to call the university emergency services if a friend is dangerously intoxicated and not face any of the current legal consequences, the Minnesota Daily reports. Instead of the current consequences—such as possible charges of underage drinking or supplying alcohol to a minor—students would have to take alcohol education courses provided by the school. The Daily reports that Minnesota would be the first Big Ten school to enact such a policy.

No formal proposal has been submitted, the article says, and the university does not have a stance on the issue yet.

"We're simply improving the policy that is already there," Aaron Halfaker, a member of SSDP, tells the Minnesota Daily.

After a Minnesota student died in 2007, two classmates were charged with supplying alcohol to the student at a party, the report says. Supporters of the Samaritan policy say students currently fear those kinds of penalties if they alert authorities about a dangerously intoxicated friend.

"We want students to call," University of Minnesota Police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner told the Daily. "Our primary focus is to get them medical attention."

SSDP wants it known that the proposed policy isn't meant to skirt all responsibility. Students would still have to face consequences if other drinking-related violations occur.

"This is not a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card," Halfaker says.

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