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The importance of MSU's medical amnesty policy: recognizing the signs and knowing how to respond

September 29, 2023
Photo by Aryanna Dorsey | The State News

The MSU medical amnesty policy states that greater awareness about the policy is key to student safety.

Here's the policy and what you need to know to be prepared and stay safe in case of emergency. 

Medical amnesty is an exemption from disciplinary action following a violation of university drug or alcohol policies. It applies to those needing assistance with a medical emergency they themselves or someone else is experiencing. A medical emergency is defined as a serious or unexpected illness or injury that requires immediate attention. 

As outlined in the MSU medical amnesty policy, common signs of overdose or alcohol poisoning may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Confusion or near-unconsciousness
  • Vomiting while passed out, not waking up after vomiting or incoherence while vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slowed or irregular breathing
  • Abnormal pulse
  • Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin
  • Loss of consciousness or loss of consciousness with an inability to be woken up

Calling 911 under these circumstances helps assure the safety of the students involved. Not taking action before help arrives results in students no longer being eligible for amnesty. 

The MSU medical amnesty policy states that student safety is its primary concern, and each situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. 

For instance, someone who admits to a violation of the drug or alcohol policies in reference to a reported relationship violence or sexual misconduct incident may qualify for amnesty. Those who qualify, as outlined by the amnesty policy, will be reached out to via their MSU email, and following a required meeting, will discuss what action moving forward looks like. Students may be required to undergo an educational process, but MSU will cover the cost entirely.

Spartan Smart, one of the programs covered through the amnesty program, was specifically noted by Assistant Director of the Office of Student Support and Accountability, or OSSA, Kari Stone-Sewalish, who said the office strives to focus on the student experience. 

"The Office of Student Support and Accountability centers equity, integrity, and learning in processes that emphasize the importance of working with students and the community," Stone-Sewalish said. "Our work includes student and organizational conduct, academic integrity, care and intervention, conflict resolution, medical amnesty and medical leave and return."

In conjunction with OSSA, the Office of Student Health and Wellness website lists some of the resources found on campus that students can take advantage of. They include, but are not limited to: 

  • MSU Alcohol and Other Drugs Education Program 
    • 517-884-6598
  • Collegiate Recovery 
    • 517-355-5564
  • Spartans' Organization for All Recovery (S.O.A.R.)
    • 517-355-5564
  • Spartan Smart Class
  • MSU Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)
    • 517-355-8270
  • MSU Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    • 517-355-4506
  • ASMSU Legal Services
    • 517-353-3716
  • MSU Alcohol and Other Drugs Education Program (AOD)
    • 517-884-6598

For more information regarding MSU's medical amnesty policy, visit the OSSA website


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