UW-L to implement Responsible Action Policy

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An underage college student has too much to drink, and needs medical help, but doesn’t call 911, because they're worried about getting in trouble

That’s the type of situation UW-La Crosse is hoping to prevent with its Responsible Action Policy, which about 96% of students voted in favor of.

“Last year alone, I had numerous students come to me and said that they called 911, because one of their friends was having an issue or was turning blue or something like that so they called 911, but when the police arrived the student was given a ticket who called,” said UW-L wellness coordinator Jason Bertrand.

Students who call campus police if they or a friend have had too much to drink and need medical help, won’t get a ticket from police or be disciplined by UW-L.

But, students could get in trouble if they don’t cooperate.

“Obviously we’re not trying to promote underage drinking here, but if there were the case that there were underage drinking it’s definitely a good idea,” said sophomore Nathan McCourt.

“I think people are worried about getting in trouble when they should be more worried about helping their friend,” said freshman Mikael Ezzell.

“I think it could help save some lives, yes,” said freshman Harley Bartura.

Chancellor Joe Gow said a student could be required to go through an alcohol education program through UW-L.

“I think there’s the potential to help save lives, and there have been some tragedies over the years in La Crosse that students have drank too much,” said Gow.

The policy won’t apply to supplying alcohol, and it might not apply to students with repeated violations of UW-L’s alcohol policies.

The plan is for the policy to go into effect in the fall of 2014.

UW-L said it hopes the City of La crosse and La Crosse County will adopt similar policies.

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