Responsible Action Protocol

The Responsible Action Protocol

A student who calls for or seeks emergency assistance for themselves or on behalf of a student experiencing an alcohol or other drug related emergency will not, in most cases, be subject to status sanctions such as disciplinary probation or suspension under the Code of Student Life. However, the Dean of Students may require completion of alcohol and/or other drug education/counseling. The dean 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 consumption of drugs and/or alcohol. When a student calls on behalf of an impaired individual and remains with that individual until medical assistance arrives, the caller may not be subject to disciplinary action for violating University alcohol and/or drug rules so long as the caller cooperates with emergency responders.

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. This protocol does not excuse or protect those who flagrantly or repeatedly violate the Code of Student Life and the University Housing & Dining Guidebook in regard to alcohol or illegal drug use.

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 and environment created.

5. If a representative of an organization hosting an event calls for medical assistance, this act of responsibility may mitigate potential judicial 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 ONLY to the Code of Student Life and to the University Housing & Dining Guidebook. Law enforcement agencies enforcing the laws enacted by the State of Iowa within their jurisdictions, including University of Iowa Police, are not bound by this protocol.

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 illicit substances.

8. In those cases where a student has been a victim of sexual misconduct while under the influence of alcohol, the Dean of Students will not pursue disciplinary violations against the student (or against a witness) for his or her improper use of alcohol or drugs (e.g., underage drinking) if the student is making a good faith report of sexual misconduct. 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 an administrator from the Student Conduct Office 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 administrator. After evaluating the situation, the administrator may refer either or both students to a substance abuse specialist for assessment, education, and/or possible referral for treatment. Students who are referred for substance abuse counseling, but fail to meet with the counselor and/or fail to complete the recommendations, will be subject to disciplinary action.

Non-emergency referrals for substance abuse counseling are always confidential. Counselors and hospital staff will not disclose the name of a student who has sought counseling assistance to individuals outside of the campus health centers without permission from the student.

Even if disciplinary action is not taken, the Dean of Students 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, administrators will take into account the previous emergency incident when considering sanctions. Academic transcripts will not reflect the incident.