Recent statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism indicate that drinking by college students ages 18 to 24 contributes to an estimated 1500 student deaths each year. In recent years, colleges and universities have taken steps to reduce that number by encouraging students to get help if they have over-consumed alcohol or other drugs, rather than avoiding that help because they are concerned about the consequences, which can include being found in violation of the school’s behavioral policies, and being sanctioned by the conduct system.
At the University of Mary Washington, we do not condone underage alcohol use, drug use, or intoxication. On the other hand, we want our students to be safe. Therefore, we want to encourage students to seek help for themselves or for other students if there is an urgent situation involving the overuse of alcohol or other drugs. We call this our Safe Sammy agreement, after our eagle mascot.
If a student who is intoxicated from the overuse of alcohol or drugs seeks help from a University official such as an RA or a police officer, they will not be charged with a conduct violation and will not be sanctioned.
Similarly, if a student (a friend, a bystander, etc.) actively seeks help for another student who is intoxicated from the overuse of alcohol or drugs, neither student will be charged with a conduct violation and neither student will be sanctioned. The student(s) seeking assistance must stay with that student needing assistance until help arrives.
Safe Sammy will not apply in the following cases:
- If a student refuses transport to the hospital even after it has been recommended by emergency officials
- If a student is not compliant with emergency officials or UMW staff members on the scene
- If assistance is not sought until after emergency officials arrive on the scene
- If the first individual(s) to request assistance are staff members (Residence Life staff (including RAs), UMW Police, other administrators, etc.) or faculty
- If there is information suggesting that the student was involved in distributing illegal drugs or an act of violence
- If aggravating factors are present
In each case, the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Responsibility or designee will decide whether or not Safe Sammy applies.
Please be aware of the following:
- If a student is arrested or cited off campus, this agreement does not excuse them from responsibility for the off-campus consequences of that arrest or citation, including complying with summonses, cooperating with courts in the City of Fredericksburg, and paying any fines or penalties.
- If the student is charged with other violations of the Code of Conduct, those other violations can still be heard by the Office of Student Conduct and Responsibility. For example, if an intoxicated student inappropriately uses a fire extinguisher, and a friend then contacts the RA on-call for assistance, the intoxicated student still will be charged with a fire safety violation.
- UMW reserves the right to inform emergency contacts (typically, a parent or other guardian) in the event of a medical emergency or pattern of harmful behaviors, whether or not Safe Sammy subsequently applies to the student, or has applied in the past.
- If the student is an intercollegiate athlete, UMW’s Department of Athletics will waive disciplinary action against a student if Safe Sammy applies to that student.
Students to whom Safe Sammy applies will be subject to, at a minimum, mandatory educational meeting(s) with an administrator in which the student’s conduct and plans for avoiding similar incidents in the future will be discussed.