Despite ambiguity, students should not fear Community Action Policy

If you ask 10 students what they like most about Geneseo, most of the time the answer will be a variation of “because of the people.” Whether it’s with a specific individual, suitemates or roommates, fellow members of a club or organization, teammates or even classmates, students at Geneseo seem to find a niche on campus. These crosscutting interpersonal connections on campus – because they seldom are confined to one category or group – coupled with the small-town atmosphere create what we all recognize as the quintessential “community feeling” of the school. It’s an integral part of our collective college experiences at Geneseo.

It’s fair to say that this sense of community does not simply disappear on a weekend.

The Responsible Community Action Policy, or RCAP, is the closest thing Geneseo has to a medical amnesty policy for underage drinking. Adopted by the College Council in May 2013, a group of student initiated this policy in an attempt to shape college policy.

The defining statement in RCAP states, “Students under the legal drinking age who take affirmative action and ‘Stand Up’ to seek assistance from College officials or emergency medical personnel for themselves or their fellow students who are in distress may be exempt from student conduct sanctions for the possession and consumption of alcohol by an underage student.”

While the “may” in this statement has been a cause of concern for many students, I am encouraged by the fact that every time I interact with a member of the Center for Community the message has been the same: that a student “will never get in trouble for their own possession or consumption of alcohol if they are calling for a friend” or for themselves, according to the RCAP policy.

In discussing RCAP it must be mentioned that this exemption, as envisioned by the administration, “from a conduct sanction will normally be applied only on a one-time basis for a student who notifies College officials or emergency medical personnel, and the College reserves the right to implement this policy on a case-by-case basis.”

This case-by-case basis does allow the dean’s office to act in accordance with the needs of the situation, a fact that personally comforts me for the sake of the hypothetical student somewhere whose situation is beyond typical procedure. This includes allowing the dean’s office to act in support of the victim when underage drinking occurs parallel to an act of “sexual harassment, sexual assault, or other violence,” according to the policy.

I believe we have a responsibility to uphold our end of the bargain as students and as members of the Geneseo community. We stand up for one another, and we take care of one another on a daily basis. Why should this mindset stop over the weekend?

So please, if you have any doubts about the health of a friend in the course of an evening, contact emergency services or the appropriate residence assistant. It will be a decision you’ll never regret.

This Valentine’s Day, remember that love comes in many forms and you should stand up to protect the ones you love; it’s the Geneseo way.