At Tuesday’s meeting, representatives of Central Student Government discussed medical amnesty, recalling representatives, an upcoming mental health survey and two resolutions.
During the meeting, the assembly voted to call on the University to enact all-encompassing medical amnesty, including drug violations, on campus. Currently, under state law, there is medical amnesty only for underage drinking.
“A Medical Amnesty Policy cannot achieve its goals unless it protects both the caller for help, and the person experiencing the medical emergency; and unless it applies to all substances, not just a narrow subset,” the resolution states. “The Medical Amnesty Policy desperately needed is one that provides complete protection for students of all ages.”
The vote resulted in a 26-0 vote with one abstention, which barely qualified as a quorum for the body. LSA junior Noah Betman, speaker of the assembly, said if 24 representatives or less were present during the vote it could not have been held, and the resolution could not have been passed.
Attendance has been a recurring issue throughout the year. During the meeting, three representatives were recalled because they were absent for more than the allotted number of absences without justification.
During his representative report, LSA junior David Schafer asked body members to look over a survey on mental health, which he said has been reviewed by University researchers and officials. The survey, a series of questions regarding student awareness of mental health information and resources, is meant to gauge whether there is a need to improve the general mental health climate for faculty and students.
Schafer said he and the co-authors of the survey, LSA junior Yumi Taguchi and LSA senior Anna Chen, met with the Institutional Review Board in order to ensure the questions were not biased.
“We are doing this with a randomized sample, and hope to send this (survey) out by the end of March,” Schafer said. “We aim to analyze the data in April and throughout the rest of the summer, and come back in the fall with some pretty concrete initiatives for the 2016-2017 academic year.”
Among the resolutions brought to the table were to add the 24-hour phone line of the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services to the back of student Mcards, and to fund the production of a video for the Prescription Drug Misuse Campaign.
The CAPS resolution aimed to have the number printed on Mcards starting with the class of 2020, with the intent of decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness.
“Everyone knows there’s a mental health crisis on campus,” said LSA senior Allison Williams, one of the resolution’s authors. “The goal for this resolution is to decrease the stigma that is associated with mental illness on campus, so many people feel uncomfortable going to CAPS who may need to can get the help they need.”
Williams added that printing the number on the back of Mcards would be a symbolic gesture to show students that the University cares about mental health issues.
Public Policy sophomore Jacob Pearlman, CSG student legal counsel, said he admired the presence of the resolution and thought it was a much needed resource.
In speaking to the second resolution, Schafer, a co-author, said it was part of the ongoing prescription drug misuse campaign. Beginning last semester, the body has been planning a week-long event to raise awareness in students on how academic pressure impacts drug abuse and what the effects of that abuse are particularly on college campuses.
The campaign was inspired in part by the death of University alum Josh Levine, who passed away from a drug overdose after mixing adderall with alcohol at a party. If approved, the resolution would allocate $900 to fund the production of a promotional video for the campaign.
Schafer said he believes the video will be a helpful resource for both current and future students.
“All those behind the campaign, myself included, hope that this video will be utilized by future student groups and orgs on campus,” Schafer said. “I hope this will last longer than than the campaign, and have a lasting effect that educates and protects students.”