What You Need to Know about BU’s Good Samaritan Policy
And when to call for help
With the start of a new semester comes the return of parties and other social events. And with that, it’s important to know what to do if a good time takes a wrong turn. First of all, not all Terriers drink. But whether you choose to drink or not, knowing Boston University’s policies regarding alcohol and drug use and the signs of an alcohol emergency may help you save a life or prevent other serious harm.
What is BU’s Good Samaritan Policy?
The policy states: When a Terrier seeks help for themselves or others who’ve used alcohol or drugs, neither student will receive a sanction for alcohol or drug use, as long as they complete an educational or counseling program on campus.
Why does BU have this policy?
BU’s top priority is student safety. The University does not want students to be afraid to call for help in a dangerous situation for fear of being disciplined by the University.
What if my friend is under 21 or if I am?
You still will not receive a sanction from BU. So, call for help if a situation looks dangerous.
How do I know when to call for help?
If you see someone showing any one of these signs after consuming alcohol or other drugs, seek help immediately:
- Vomiting: Frequent vomiting, vomiting while asleep, or not waking up after vomiting
- Unconscious: Can’t wake up if you call their name or shake them
- Physical changes: Irregular breathing, pale or blueish skin, cold to the touch
- Disoriented: Confused about their surroundings or the time, cannot answer basic questions like where they live or go to school
If you’re not sure if someone is having an alcohol or drug emergency, call for help immediately—response time is crucial. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
How do I call for help?
If you’re on campus, call the BU Police Department at 617-353-2121. Their officers are most familiar with BU’s campus and can get to you in a matter of minutes.
If you’re off-campus, call 911.
Back to the policy…why is the word “use” underlined?
Good question. It emphasizes that the policy applies to a student’s consumption of alcohol or other drugs. If you’ve committed a crime while under the influence, such as vandalism or assault, that will still be subject to BU’s sanctions for those actions.
What are the educational and counseling programs?
Students may be required to take online education training about how to make intentional decisions about substance use. Alternately, students may be required to meet with a staff member in Wellness & Prevention Services if they went to the hospital for alcohol or drug use. These programs are confidential, and there is no shame or judgment. The programs are designed to support your well-being and help you reflect on your relationship to alcohol or other substances.
What are some tips for drinking more safely?
First, it’s worth noting that there are plenty of ways to have fun without drinking, and many Terriers don’t drink! If you do choose to drink alcohol, these tips can help you and your friends do so responsibly:
- Track your drinks, keeping in mind standard drink sizes
- Eat before and while drinking
- Set a limit in advance and stick to it
- Plan on ways to say no if you’re offered drinks past your limit
- Limit drinking games, or substitute with a nonalcoholic drink
- Bring/drink nonalcoholic drinks, or alternate between alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks
- Offer to be the sober support for a friend who will be drinking