Good Samaritan 911 Policy

The University at Albany’s Good Samaritan 911 Policy supports students who reach out for assistance in the case of a medical emergency, as well as supports the student who is helped. Therefore, a student or student organization seeking medical treatment for him/herself, or for any other student who is in immediate medical need, or any student who is the recipient of this emergency medical help, will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions related to the violation of using or possessing alcohol or other drugs, as defined in Community Rights and Responsibilities (Prohibited Conduct Drugs and Alcohol).  This policy applies to emergencies both on and off campus. 

Why do we have a Good Samaritan 911 Policy?

At the University at Albany, the health and safety of every student is of primary importance and all students are strongly encouraged to be  empowered bystanders who respond in a potentially dangerous situation without fear of reprisal from the University. The University at Albany’s Good Samaritan 911 Policy supports students who act responsibly by reaching out for assistance in the case of a medical emergency, as well as supports the student who is helped.
Therefore, a student or student organization seeking medical treatment for him/herself, or for any other student who is in immediate medical need, or any student who is the recipient of this emergency medical help, will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions related to the violation of using or possessing alcohol or other drugs, as defined in Community Rights and Responsibilities (Prohibited Conduct Drugs and Alcohol).  This policy applies to emergencies both on and off campus.
A student is eligible to use the Good Samaritan 911 Policy on more than one occasion and students are always strongly encouraged to report a medical emergency.  The positive impact of reporting a medical emergency  will always hold the highest priority when determining the appropriate response for University policy violations. Repeated incidents are cause for a higher level of concern for the well-being of the student and amnesty in these cases will be individually reviewed.

Because parents are vital partners in the educational process and because the student can be best supported from home, the University  typically contacts parents of students under 21 years of age in instances where there is evidence of risk to health, welfare or safety.  In addition, the University may record names of those students involved to enable the University to follow up with the students as deemed necessary to ensure a student’s well-being.    

A student who receives medical assistance for alcohol use under the Good Samaritan 911 Policy will be referred by the Vice President for Student Success or their representative to a mandatory intervention program, such as the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) program at the University Counseling Center.  Additionally, a student who qualifies for the Good Samaritan 911 Policy by calling for medical assistance for another student may be referred to this program at the discretion of the Vice President for Student Success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What if I am underage and drunk when I call for help for a friend?

A. In this situation, emergency personnel will be mainly concerned with the person who needs the most help. Make sure to stay with your friend until help arrives. Emergency personnel might want to ask you a few questions about how much the sick person had to drink or if they mixed the alcohol with any other drugs, for example. This information will be critical to helping your friend.  In such a case, the University will not refer you or the person you called for an alcohol violation.

Q. Will my name be recorded if I call for help for my friend?

A. In most situations, if you are level-headed enough to call for help and you are not showing signs of alcohol or other drug overdose, emergency personnel will thank you for your assistance and simply help your friend.

Q. How will anyone know I was the Good Samaritan who called for help?

A. In most cases, a professional staff member from Residential Life or the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility will know that you called for help. If they do not know, you can simply inform them of your role in helping your friend or yourself.   

Q. Does the Good Samaritan Policy apply if I call for help for myself?

A. Yes

Q. Does UAlbany contact my parents if I am transported to the hospital?

A. The University does not automatically contact your parents when you are transported to the hospital. However, your parents would eventually be notified by mail if you are under 21 and had a hospital transport for alcohol or drug use.

Q. What happens if I am transported to the hospital for the second time – does the Good Samaritan Policy apply?

A. While the main concern is the health and safety of every student, a pattern of behavior for hospital transports will require a staff member to review the situation and follow up using professional judgment for each individual situation.

Q. What should I do if a friend is showing signs of alcohol poisoning or overdose?

A. Remember to Check, Call and Care. Alcohol overdose can be scary, but getting help is not.

CHECK: Watch out for your friends throughout the night. Encourage healthy choices. If someone you know has consumed too much alcohol, check for signs of overdose.

Click here for a list of signs of possible alcohol poisoning or overdose.

CALL: If you discover any one of the above problems, call for medical help immediately. Call 911. The above indicators of alcohol overdose are very serious and time is of the essence.

CARE: Continually talk to the person and monitor their skin color, temperature and breathing. Turn and keep the person on his/her left side as this will help to keep the person from choking should they vomit. Wait with your friend until help arrives; never leave a sick friend alone.

Q. What should I do if a friend is showing signs that he or she might be thinking of suicide?

A. Click here to learn about what you can do to help a friend who is showing signs that he or she might be thinking of suicide.

Q. What should I do if a friend has been raped or sexually assaulted?

A. Click here to learn about what you can do to help a friend who has been raped or sexually assaulted.

Q. Is there training on campus to be a better bystander and help other students who may be in distress?

A. STEP UP! UAlbany is a bystander intervention program that educates students to be proactive in helping others when faced with problematic or risky situations that are of concern.
The STEP UP UAlbany training program focuses on real-life situations/scenarios students might encounter. The goal of the program is to generate open, honest and non-judgmental discussions about the material presented. This training is not meant to cover all possible scenarios or variables, nor is it meant to train you as a counselor.

Please contact  the University Counseling Center (518-442-5800) if you would like to schedule a STEP UP UAlbany training session for your class or student group.

For more information on the University at Albany Good Samaritan 911 Policy, please contact:

Clarence McNeill
Assistant Vice President
Director of the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility
Campus Center 357
518-442-5501
crr@albany.edu