State lawmakers are considering a “Responsible Action Law.” This law will allow underage students under the influence of drugs or alcohol to avoid legal punishment when reporting things such as sexual assault, health problems, and other crimes on their behalf or someone else. It is believed that adopting this law state-wide will allow for a decrease in alcohol related deaths among college students.
Many campuses in Wisconsin, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have already begun honoring this policy. Despite the moral code all college students may believe they have, some avoid reporting emergency situations for fear of being ticketed.
Though students would not be held under legal consequence, colleges practicing this policy usually require students to complete some sort of drug/alcohol counseling, classes, or assessments. Many colleges have added consequences for student organization leaders, student athletes, and students involved in work study.
According to an article in The Badger Herald, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s school newspaper, ASM Legislative Affairs Chair Dan Statter states most Big Ten universities already have similar laws protecting their students.
An informal survey for this story, at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, showed that almost all of the students surveyed believe that the Responsible Action law is a good idea. Forty percent of students asked claimed to have known of someone falling victim to sexual violence or assault while under the influence of alcohol but neglecting to report it. An even higher 70 percent claimed to have been in a situation where they thought someone may have needed medical attention but did not take action for fear of being ticketed.