The Responsible Action Protocol

A student who seeks emergency assistance for themselves or on behalf of a student experiencing an alcohol or other drug related emergency will not be subject to disciplinary measures including, removal from a course, enrollment restrictions in a course or program, disciplinary reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension, expulsion, or contract cancellation from University Housing & Dining under the Code of Student Life. However, the Office of Student Accountability may require completion of alcohol and/or other drug education/counseling. The Office of Student Accountability may also notify the student's parents of the alcohol or drug violation.

Scope of Protocol

1. The Responsible Action Protocol applies to students who seek and obtain emergency assistance on their own behalf or on the behalf of another student for a medical emergency related to use of drugs and/or alcohol. When a student does the following, the caller may not be subject to disciplinary action for violating University alcohol and/or drug rules.

The student must:

    • Be the first person to seek medical assistance, before a university staff member, law enforcement officer, or emergency medical personnel.
    • Provide their name and contact information to law enforcement and/or medical personnel.
    • Stay until assistance arrives or is provided.
    • Cooperate with medical personnel or law enforcement.

2. An "emergency" communication is a timely contact with 911 or University Housing & Dining staff when those staff members are not yet aware of the situation. The Responsible Action Protocol does not apply to individuals who telephone friends for assistance, for example, or who experience an alcohol or drug-related emergency that is first discovered by University employees or public safety officials.

3. In most cases, neither the student requiring emergency assistance nor an individual or group who assists will be subject to punitive University disciplinary action. Students who repeatedly violate the Code of Student Life in regard to alcohol and other drugs may be required to complete alcohol education in order to remain in good disciplinary standing.

4. In some instances, the Responsible Action Protocol may not apply to the caller if they purchased, supplied, or otherwise made available the alcohol or drugs contributing to the student needing medical assistance. Such instances will be examined on a case-by-case basis and will take into account the severity and the degree of responsibility for the circumstances.

5. If a representative of an organization hosting a registered event calls for medical assistance, this act of responsibility may mitigate potential disciplinary consequences that could arise against the organization (i.e., the fact that an organization representative sought help may be considered in potential sanctioning of the organization for policy violations).

6. The protocol applies to the Code of Student Life as well as certain situations involving people under the age of 21, including those receiving citations for the Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age, Possession of a Fake ID, as well as arrests for Public Intoxication. See information pertaining to the Iowa Medical Amnesty Bill for more information regarding law enforcement agencies and similar protocols which provide individuals immunity from charges and/or prosecution under the law.

7. The Responsible Action Protocol applies only to alcohol and other drug-related medical emergencies. It does not apply to other prohibited behavior such as disorderly conduct (including physical or verbal abuse), property damage, or distribution of controlled substances.

8. When a Reporting Party, Responding Student, third-party reporter, or witness to an incident of sexual misconduct participates in a good faith report, the Office of Student Accountability will not pursue disciplinary violations related to the impermissible drug or alcohol use against any of the involved student(s). To encourage reporting and participation in the process, University of Iowa maintains a policy of offering parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations – such as underage use of alcohol or the use of controlled substances – related to the incident.

A student who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of a sexual misconduct incident should not be reluctant to seek assistance for that reason. In addition, law enforcement authorities in Johnson County have a policy of not pursuing charges for improper use of alcohol against a victim of sexual assault.

Requirements of Protocol

Students considered for the Responsible Action Protocol are required to meet with a staff member from the Office of Student Accountability or University Housing & Dining following the incident. When one student seeks emergency assistance on behalf of another student, both students may be required to meet with the staff member. After evaluating the situation, the staff member may refer either or both students to a behavioral health consultant for assessment, education, and/or possible referral for treatment. Students who are referred for substance abuse counseling, education, or treatment, but fail to complete the program requirements, will be subject to disciplinary action.

Even if disciplinary action is not taken, the Office of Student Accountability reserves the right to notify the student's parents, per standard practice. In accordance with the Discipline Records Management protocol, a case file will be maintained for reference should subsequent alcohol or other drug violations occur. In those subsequent cases, staff members will take into account the previous emergency incident when considering sanctions.