Amnesty through Responsible Action

At Northwestern, the wellbeing of students is of primary importance. Each student plays a critical role in creating a community of care, focused on the wellbeing of themselves and their peers.  When students/groups believe that assistance for an intoxicated/impaired individual (including themselves) is needed to ensure the student’s wellbeing, it is critical that they take responsible action and seek that assistance.  To encourage students to take responsible action when necessary, the University will not hold students who take such action (for themselves or for others), or for whom such action is taken, accountable for violations of the University’s alcohol or other drug policies (with the exception of driving under the influence).

To be eligible for Amnesty through Responsible Action you must:

  1. CALL for help:  In medical emergencies, immediate action should be taken by calling 9-1-1 from either on or off campus.  You may also activate a University Blue Light emergency phone anywhere on campus.  In non-emergency situations, help can also be sought by contacting NUPD (847-491-3456) or, for students in residence halls, your Resident Assistant on-duty (phone number varies by building) or the Community Service Officer (CSO) in your building. 
  2. STAY with the person until help arrives and you have been told your assistance is no longer needed. 
  3. COOPERATE with responding staff or emergency personnel, including all requests for information and assistance.

In a situation where a student takes responsible action (for themselves or for others) and calls, stays, and cooperates, or has such action taken for them, the responding party (e.g., NUPD, Resident Assistant) will fully document the incident.  Students will be asked to provide their name, ID number, and contact information to the responding party(ies).  Students will receive a notice from the Office of Student Conduct and are expected to attend a meeting with a staff member regarding the incident. 

If it is determined through this meeting that the student followed all required steps to be eligible for Amnesty through Responsible Action, the student will not be found responsible for an alcohol or other drug related policy violation (with the exception of driving under the influence).  The student may still be asked to complete an alcohol or other drug intervention and to complete educational activities.  For example, a student may be required to participate in BASICS or alcohol and other drug education group through Health Promotion and Wellness or may be required to seek an evaluation for substance abuse and to follow treatment recommendations.  Amnesty through Responsible Action applies only to alcohol and other drug related policies.  If other policy violations occurred, or may have occurred, the student will participate in the student conduct process related to those policies and may be found responsible.

In order for Amnesty through Responsible Action to apply, the student must agree to timely completion of any recommended assessment, educational assignment, and/or treatment. Serious or repeated incidents will prompt a higher degree of medical concern and action.  In the event that a student who receives medical assistance fails to complete the required course of action, or exhibits a pattern of problematic behavior with alcohol, that student may be subject to formal disciplinary action.

As with any incident involving alcohol, parents of students under the legal drinking age will be notified. A group that facilitates the acquisition of alcohol may also be required to notify its advisor, provide an educational program for its members, and/or change its processes for hosting events.

Should the student be found responsible for a subsequent violation of University policy, the University Hearing and Appeals System (UHAS) panel or hearing officer(s) will be informed of any Amnesty through Responsible Action the student has received for the purposes of determining an effective outcome.