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Medical Amnesty and Active Bystander Protocol


Washington University in St. Louis holds the safety and well-being of its students as essential to its mission. The University recognizes that, in alcohol related emergencies, the potential for University disciplinary action could act as a barrier to students who want to seek medical assistance for themselves or others. 

The Medical Amnesty and Active Bystander Protocol is designed to encourage students to seek medical care in an alcohol related emergency by reducing the potential barrier of University disciplinary consequences in certain circumstances.

Subject to the other provisions of this protocol and unless the University determines there are special circumstances, when a student seeks aid for an individual experiencing an alcohol-related emergency by contacting emergency services, such as the Emergency Support Team (EST), the patient and the individual(s) reporting the emergency will not be subject to disciplinary action in the form of University student conduct sanctions for the presence, possession, or use of alcohol. 

However, in all incidents involving an alcohol related emergency, the student may be subject to University student conduct sanctions for any other violation of the code of conduct.

Further, the student will be required to attend a wellness follow-up meeting with a University official and may be subject to mandatory wellness measures to further support that student. These wellness measures are not punitive; they are educational and intended to help the student. 

If an organization, such as a student group or a fraternity or sorority, is involved and representatives or members of that organization call on behalf of a distressed student, that organization will be exempt from University disciplinary action, barring repeat offenses or other violations described below. 

If a Washington University Police Department officer, Residential Life staff member, or other University official responds to an alcohol related emergency, they will first seek medical care for the patient before documenting any other information related to the incident. Throughout the entire incident, the patient’s prompt assessment, treatment, and transport to an appropriate medical facility will remain the priority.

An individual student or student organization that repeatedly contacts or is treated by emergency services, including EST, for alcohol-related emergencies may prompt further action from the University, and Medical Amnesty may not be extended. 

 Medical Amnesty applies both on and off campus. Students should note that this Medical Amnesty Protocol does not govern the response of local law enforcement agencies, including their response to emergency incidents or pursuit of criminal charges. Medical Amnesty does not apply in cases where any student or student group eligible for protection from student conduct sanctions commits other violations, including but not limited to: 
                       • Causing physical harm 
                       • Sexual assault or violence 
                       • Property damage 
                       • Distribution of drugs 
                       • Hazing 
                       • Other criminal activity
Effective: May 11, 2015 

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Students
Protocol adapted from similar guidelines at Georgetown University.​