“Got Your Back” falls on its face

Amidst questions of room searches, probable cause and police warrants, inconsistencies in the “Got Your Back”  protocol sparked debate at the Student Rights Forum on March 3.The “Got Your Back”  policy is in place to provide those who are intoxicated with an opportunity to receive medical attention without being penalized. However, some students say this is not the reality.”If you are intoxicated to the point where you need medical help, you want to be able to get that help without worrying about [whether or not] you’re going to have documentation or a police report,” Erik Graham, director of Student Advocacy said.It’s meant to protect the students, which is a great thing to have at the University — but its not being used properly, Graham said.You can’t find the regulations for “Got Your Back” protocol because it is not a policy, and it is not listed in the policy guidebook, he said.Furthermore, it is very difficult to understand, Graham said.Although many students know that they have to state that it’s a “Got Your Back” call, they are unaware that they will receive a follow-up e-mail, Troy Headrick, assistant director for the Center of Student Ethics and Standards (CSES), said.It is necessary for the CSES to ensure that it was a “Got Your Back” call, because information could be lost in the chaos of a crazy night, Headrick said.”It doesn’t always show up in the report,” he said.The lack of clarity in the protocol could result in a lack of awareness of student rights, IRA President Lucy Croft said.”A lot of the first-year students are not really trained in what ‘Got Your Back’ is because the RAs themselves aren’t ever trained specifically in what ‘Got Your Back’ is,” Graham said.Students aren’t choosing to use the protocol because of negative feedback surrounding “Got Your Back,” he said.”They hear the stories of ‘my friend called ‘Got Your Back’ and he still got suspended,’ and things like that will not make the policy usable by students because they don’t see it as effective at all,” he said.This University’s biggest fear is that students would take advantage of the protocol and plan to party and use it excessively, he said.”It was set up as a one-time thing: get the person some help, and hopefully it will stay always a one-time thing. You shouldn’t be putting yourself in harms way to that degree,” Annie Stevens, assistant vice president for Student and Campus Life, said. “It’s not ‘got your back for life.'”Graham’s concern about the one-time use policy is that students will be hesitant to use their one opportunity, taking a possibly fatal chance, he said.”The ‘Got Your Back’ policy [is] meant to really help the students, but because of its inconsistencies, students are saving it up for that one time that they are really drunk,” he said.