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The Dartmouth
May 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Applying the Good Samaritan Policy

It is very easy to mock organizations when they are in trouble, especially when the behavior of their members conforms to or opposes campus stereotypes. Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority has become a campus punch line in recent weeks due to its bid night debacle. While the arrest of 11 pledges for alcohol violations this past month is no laughing matter, the College's response has raised its own curious set of questions. The incident has brought excessive drinking and hazing to the forefront of campus dialogue, and the discussion of the Good Samaritan policy has left students befuddled.

The College is currently considering an unprecedented application of the Good Samaritan policy to those sorority members who were hospitalized as a result of the incident. We appreciate that Undergraduate Judicial Affairs recognized the correct decision by Kappa members to call 911. However, applying the Good Samaritan policy in such a manner highlights the sharp divide between student and administrative understanding of College policy. Most students -- and certainly the entire Editorial Board of The Dartmouth -- understood the policy only to affect student interactions with Safety and Security in Hanover.

Acting Dean of the College Dan Nelson said that he believed the Good Samaritan policy has yet to be applied to an incident outside Hanover. Despite this fact, he defends what he calls a misconception of the Good Samaritan policy by justifiably noting that the policy says nothing of location. He emphasized to The Dartmouth that students need to educate themselves better, "I would really encourage students to read the policy rather than rely on somebody else's second hand recollection, interpretation of it." By the same token, the College determines whether a situation merits the Good Samaritan policy on a subjective, case-by-case basis, making education difficult.

According to Nelson and other administrators, the focus of the Good Samaritan policy is entirely about safety, and we support the College's extension of such aid to students. However, while this intent is certain, the guidelines are vague -- previously, it was not at all clear that Enfield, N.H., was "fair territory" for the Good Samaritan. If policies such as the poorly-understood Good Samaritan are to be used in major investigations such as the Kappa incident, students deserve a set of objective guidelines for the policy.