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The Boston Globe



Colleges should grant amnesty if students seek alcohol help

Boston University freshman Anthony Barksdale II’s death in the early hours of March 2 appears to be a tragedy too often repeated: another young person’s life cut short after a night of underage drinking. Now, after BU suspended a fraternity in the wake of the death — the third fraternity or sorority to be banned for alleged underage or coerced drinking since last spring — it needs to think about more creative ways to educate students on the dangers of drinking while showing them that the school is there to help.

An obvious next step would be for BU to follow the lead of other local campuses, including Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, and Emerson, and institute a medical amnesty policy. Under such a Good Samaritan provision, if one student seeks help for another out of concern about alcohol toxicity or overdose, there are no disciplinary repercussions for either student for violating campus rules on alcohol or drug use.

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