Nine Good Samaritans in five days: uncertainty surrounds increase

An officer stands next to a public safety car. (Elizabeth Lucy ’15)

Since Nov. 10, the Good Samaritan policy has been used nine times, with five occurring in the early morning hours of Nov. 12. This brings the total number of Good Samaritan calls to 34 for the semester.

The Good Samaritan policy makes it so that students feel “empowered” to seek help for “dangerously intoxicated individuals,” ensuring that “neither those reporting incidents nor those needing help will be subject to formal disciplinary action,” according to the Bailey Health Center website.

Vice President of Campus Life Annette Diorio wrote in an email that the college has taken note of the increase in Good Samaritan uses. She added that the Alcohol and Other Drugs Standing Committee has been discussing this increase in calls.

The standing committee is made up of five students, a physician from Easton Hospital, a member of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, two professors and other administrators of the college, according to the most up to date list provided on the committee’s web page.

Diorio wrote that the committee is unsure what to attribute the rise in calls to, but added that police presence has been stepped up and educational events have been put on, with the help of a grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

“While we can’t attribute the increase in calls to either of those efforts [police presence and education], we continue to provide interventions aimed at reducing both underage and irresponsible alcohol use,” she wrote. She added that the CORE survey will be re-administered in the spring “to better understand student alcohol usage patterns and design education and enforcement efforts that show evidence of reducing the harmful impact of excessive alcohol consumption.”

The CORE Institute is a research center which has a database on alcohol use at colleges. In 2016, out of students who took the CORE survey at the college, almost 61% reported that they participated in binge drinking.

Director of Public Safety Jeff Troxell said that it is difficult to discern why there have been more calls as of late. It could be attributed to students drinking more or being more comfortable calling, he said.

“We are getting more calls, so does that correlate to students drinking more? I don’t know if you can make that connection,” he said.

Diorio wrote that the college increases patrol around high-risk areas for drinking.

“We look at data that includes survey information about student alcohol use from various population surveys we regularly conduct, number and locations of incidents, times of day and days of week of incidents and shape some of our extra patrols based on historical periods of higher risk alcohol use,” she wrote in an email.

Freshman McCrae Williams died in September when he suffered a head injury after a day of drinking. Troxell said this incident might have made students more conscious of the effects of alcohol and thus more likely to call public safety for an intoxicated friend, “but it’s hard to say for sure.”

About Kathryn Kelly

Kathryn Kelly '19 is the editor-in-chief of The Lafayette. She studies government & law and Classics with a minor in economics.

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