SG to survey alcohol, drug policy awareness

Student Government passed a proposal during the first senate meeting of the semester Monday night to distribute a survey of students’ awareness of Boston University’s drug and alcohol policies.

College of Arts and Sciences senior KC Mackey, a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, said the goal of the survey is to gauge student awareness of BU’s policies, gather statistics on alcohol and drug related emergencies and spark discussion about alcohol and drug use on campus.

During the fall 2012 semester, Mackey spearheaded an initiative to have BU adopt a “good Samaritan policy” that would allow students to call for help regarding drug-and-alcohol-related medical issues, without facing punitive action.

“If we can’t change the policy, we can at least make students more aware of it,” Mackey said. “Awareness leads to increased responsibility. Increased responsibility hopefully leads to a safer campus.”

The SG survey will be anonymous and will ask students if they have ever been involved in situations of drug or alcohol use where something went wrong, how they responded and whether they were hesitant to call for help, Mackey said during the meeting.

Upon researching BU’s drug and alcohol policies, Mackey said she discovered the average blood alcohol concentration of transported BU students is 0.21.

SG Spokesman and Director of Advocacy Saurabh Mahajan, a CAS freshman, said the survey is important to raising awareness and understanding the drug and alcohol culture on campus.

Mackey spoke about Alcohol Awareness Week, which is scheduled to take place the week of Feb. 19, and will include events such as a medical transportation information session and bystander training with the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center.

Director of Social Affairs Rebekah Leopold said Social Justice Week will take place on campus beginning the week of Feb. 4.

“It’s a whole week dedicated to issues and dialogue on social justice, so everything ranging from food justice to public health issues, child trafficking and LGBTQ rights,” Leopold, a CAS freshman, said. “We really want to increase campus dialogue on all of these issues, and hopefully involvement in activities related to some of these issues.”

She said the week will include a variety of activities hosted by student groups and will end with a Coffee and Conversation gathering with Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore on Friday.

BU Arts Initiative Managing Director Ty Furman made an announcement at the meeting regarding his new role in the Office of the Provost.

“My role is just not simply to support faculty initiatives and to support the College of Fine Arts – all of which I will do – but I’m here for students,” he said. “We want to support student initiatives in the arts. We want to support creative collaborations that happen.”

Zack Schwartz, SG senator for CFA and representative to the BU Arts Council, said the Arts Initiative plays an important role in bridging the gap between students pursuing the arts as a career and students pursuing the arts for recreational purposes.

“There’s a very large disconnect that seems to arise between those of us who are studying to be professional artists, musicians and actors, and people who just enjoy doing [those things] still at a very high level, but for fun,” Schwartz, a CFA senior, said.

SG President Aditya Rudra, a School of Management junior, spoke about the upcoming on-campus debate on the sanctions in Iran. The debate will be open for students and will educate SG members so they are able to make a decision on whether they would like to take a stand on the issue as a student body.

It will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night in Room 206 in the Photonics Center.

School of Education senior Lindsay Moran promoted the upcoming Dance Marathon, a 12-hour event benefitting HIV and AIDS initiatives. Moran said if the marathon doesn’t raise $5,000 by Friday or have 100 dancers registered, it may be canceled.

“Our Dance Marathon is one of the only DMs in this region,” she said. “We have a really big population in Boston living with the AIDS virus, so it’s important that we use Dance Marathon to raise awareness.”

CORRECTION: The article initially stated BU Students for Israel and Students for Justice in Palestine are participating in the debate as groups. While some members of each may participate, they will not participate on behalf of their groups. The article has been updated to reflect the correction.

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