March 16, 2011

IFC Creates Revised Medical Amnesty Policy for Fraternities

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The IFC passed a new medical amnesty protocol resolution last week that will allow chapters to call for medical assistance without having to “carefully consider” the repercussions.

Although the previous policy did not explicitly specify how many times a fraternity could use medical amnesty without facing a sanction, the new protocol will now operate under a three strike system.

The first medical call in a semester will result in an informal educational discussion between Steven Wald ’12, vice president for judicial affairs for the IFC, and chapter officers. The second call will result in the same form of educational session, at which 50 percent of chapter members must be in attendance. After the third call, sanctions will be considered by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs to curb behaviors indicative of social irresponsibility by a chapter.

“I think they changed the policy because many chapters weren’t using it,” said Matt Morgante ’12, vice president of new member education for Delta Upsilon.

“Sometimes chapters would choose not to make the first medical amnesty call of the semester to save on [potential] strikes … but now they know they have a second call in their back pocket.”

Morgante also said that having more chapter members involved in the judicial board hearing following the second call would help increase general understanding of the protocol.

“Currently only three or four people in each fraternity really understand the medical amnesty policy,” he said.

Travis Apgar, associate dean of students for fraternity and sorority affairs, echoed Morgante’s sentiment.

“Students don’t always know when it is the right time to call,” Apgar said. “They’re constantly measuring the consequence of the call for their fraternity against the actual need for medical assistance.”

He said he hoped that the resolution makes chapters more willing to call for help if anyone at one of their events needs medical attention.

The previous policy was not only vague, but operated on a case by case basis, Wald said.

“The old policy was confusing because people didn’t necessarily know if it even existed for Greek houses,” Wald said. “It was mainly used as a mitigating factor in penal actions to show that chapters had acted responsibly.”

Tim Dooley ’12, Chapter President of Chi Psi agreed that the previous policy was both ambiguous in regard to the repercussions and the level of amnesty a fraternity would be granted.

“There wasn’t really a specified level of protection, but now they have made it pretty clear that for the first and second offenses there will be no judicial board sanction,” he said.

Dooley also noted that “there have obviously been some very public cases of chapters taking responsible action,” but that he believes “the new policy will definitely encourage people to take more actions” and discourage “risky behavior.”

Dooley said he did not think the IFC changed the protocol specifically because of  the death of George Desdunes ’13, who was found unresponsive in Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on Feb. 25.

“Everything that IFC has done in the past three weeks is a reaction in some way,” he said. “They are trying to look better in the face of the administration and the trustees who were in town last weekend.”

Wald said that no connection exists between the new protocol and Desdunes’ death.

“We actually had it on the agenda from day one of our terms,” Wald said. “We were planning to vote on it, but had not … before the incident occurred.”

The new protocol was put into effect last weekend, although all IFC events were cancelled.

“I can’t give you any details,” Wald said, “but it has been utilized and it does work.”

Dooley, however, does not think the new protocol will affect chapters regularly.

“It’s not something that will be a factor on the weekend to weekend basis,” he said.

Original Author: Liz Camuti