The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the editor: Grinnell College Amnesty Policy perceived as nonexistant when students call for help

I wish that I could say that I can call Campus Safety when I need help. Last year, I was at a party in a dorm and saw someone staggering down the hallway to their room, very obviously quite drunk. I went to check on them and found that they were more drunk than I knew how to handle. I enlisted the help of my friends and we eventually called the RLC-on-call out of worry for our fellow student’s health. The RLC came, interviewed us and assured us that we would not get in trouble because we did the right thing by calling for help.

A few weeks later, I got an email summons to the College Hearing Board. They accused me and my friends who had helped of throwing an unregistered party. We were found not guilty because we hadn’t actually thrown that party, but I couldn’t help but wonder: what if we had? Would we have gotten in trouble then? One of the other students who helped actually did face consequences, because of something else he had done related to the same incident. This is in direct violation of the campus medical amnesty policy.

Grinnell’s amnesty policy states that “When a student experiences a physical or psychological crisis while under the influence of AOD, neither the student in crisis nor the student(s) calling for help will be subject to punitive disciplinary action from the college,” but my friends and I were all brought to a court, and one of us was subject to the very punitive disciplinary action from which the College promises immunity.

I should be able to trust Campus Safety and the RLCs to be there for me when I am in need of help. As a student on this campus, it is my right to safety and security. But, given my experience, I cannot expect either of them to uphold anything about this policy. Who is there for the students? When you need more help than a CA-on-call can give you and you can’t feel secure calling Campus Safety, what options do you have?

— Charlie McKenzie-Smith ’20

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