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Group passes amnesty resolution

Scott Englert | Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Student Senate resumed debate and voted on a resolution concerning medical amnesty and discussed the logistics of a new off-campus housing Web site at Wednesday’s meeting.

The intended resolution, proposed by Nick Ruof, the chair of the Committee on Residence Life, seeks “that [Office of Residence Life and Housing] and residence hall staff adopt a medical amnesty policy that allows students to report emergencies without incurring a disciplinary record.”

Student body president Grant Schmidt said the resolution is an important step forward in ensuring the safety of all Notre Dame students. Currently, he said, students are at times afraid to seek help.

“They are deterred because they are worried what’s going to happen to them,” Schmidt said. 

Several senators expressed their concerns about the possible ramifications of passing the resolution.

“The most important thing is to have people seek medical attention, but there should still be consequences,” Pasquerilla West senator Megan Carey said.

In further debate, senators discussed whether the amnesty should extend to the individual who requires medical attention.  Pasquerilla East senator Taylor Ruby Gagan said she believes that at least, for now, additional amnesty should not be granted.

“At this stage it’s important to take smaller steps that are attainable,” Gagan said.

Breen Philips senator Maria Lynch agreed with Gagan, adding that possible amnesty could be seen as an incentive for rule breaking and send the wrong message to students.
With these issues taken into consideration, the Senate ultimately decided against the additional amendments.

In a final vote, Senate voted to pass the measure with 21 senators in favor, two against and two abstaining.

Schmidt briefly presented on the new rent.nd.edu Web site, which will provide student evaluations of off-campus housing, early in the meeting.
Students living off campus will be asked in an e-mail to log on to the site and evaluate their current housing.

The Web site, which is similar in concept to ndtoday.com, is inspired by a similar service offered at Northwestern University. The site will allow current students to access an objective rating system of all off-campus housing opportunities.