Beta creates its own Good Samaritan rule

by Rebecca Siegel | 6/27/95 5:00am

In May, Beta Theta Pi fraternity started covering the medical costs of drunken brothers who spend the night at Dick's House or the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for safety reasons.

"If one Beta finds a brother dangerously inebriated, he will take appropriate steps to see that he is treated as needed," Jason Fanuele '96, Beta's spring president, said in an electronic mail message.

"Beta will in turn cover the cost of the overnight stay at one of the two medical facilities," Fanuele wrote.

The new policy is similar to the "Good Samaritan Clause" in the College's alcohol policy, which was designed to allow students to seek professional medical help for dangerously intoxicated peers without risking College discipline.

But Beta goes one step further: it eliminates the financial risk as well.

"If anybody gets in a situation where you are contemplating going to Dick's House, it's a pretty stressful time," Tom Macejko '97, Beta's summer president, said. "This is just a measure put in so that, in an unlikely event, money will not be a factor."

Fanuele said Beta hopes their own version of the "Good Samaritan" policy will be adopted by other social organizations to ensure all members are safe while using their house's money to pay for medical costs.

But he also noted other Greek houses and undergraduate societies may have trouble adopting a similar policy because of a lack of funds.

"We've been around for almost 100 years, and we have lots of alumni backing," Fanuele said. "Hopefully [other houses] can allot some money to cover expenses if they cannot afford all of it."

Since the house implemented their policy, Beta has paid for one brother's medical bills, according to Fanuele.

"Of course, this does not mean that we are condoning heavy binge drinking," Fanuele said. "But we understand that it does occasionally happen, and Beta will be there to provide safety when it does."

Fanuele noted the difficulty students have determining whether or not a peer is in danger. But he added "students at Dartmouth -- the Betas especially -- have had a lot of drinking experience, and they have a good idea if someone is going to make it through the night or if they are in need of medical attention."

Beta's policy applies only to those students who do not abuse it, but Fanuele said his house will seek help for any brother who repeatedly finds themselves in need of medical attention from too much drinking.

"This is a good way that we can monitor who's getting in trouble with alcohol," he said.

The College's own "Good Samaritan" policy states that, "When a student or organization assists an intoxicated individual in procuring the assistance of Safety and Security, local or state police, and/or medical professionals, neither ... [party] will be subject to formal College disciplinary action for (1) being intoxicated, or (2) having provided that person alcohol."

But Beta believed eliminating the disciplinary risk was not quite enough, Fanuele said.

"Unfortunately, in too many borderline cases students refuse to seek medical attention because of the excessive bills which are incurred," he said.

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