Students still not sure that anyone has got their back

Students and Administrators haven’t stopped discussing concerns about the “Got Your Back” program since questions of its effectiveness were first raised at the Students’ Rights Forum on March 3.UVM’s “Got Your Back” protocol, issued by the Dean of Students, is intended to pardon and protect students in the case of a medical emergency involving alcohol or other drugs on campus, however some students say it is not clear.”There are so many of what the SGA calls loopholes. You can’t make heads or tails of what is really implied by it,” IRA representative Erik Graham said.The protocol’s intention is to protect the students, but the way it is written does not fully protect them, Graham said. “We are getting clear feedback that students aren’t utilizing it in a way that we thought they would,” Headrickson said.At the moment, the only place to find information on the protocol is the Dean of Students Office website, Graham said.”You have to find it, you have to search for it and it doesn’t look too official. For a lot of students it could be a matter of life or death,” he said.Students find it useless and would rather risk getting in trouble by the police because they feel that if they call, they will be in trouble, face documentation and get a letter home to their parents, Graham said.”There’s nothing subversive about it, we’re not trying to trick students into calling,” Assistant Director of the Center for Ethics and Standards Troy Headrickson said.The Center for Student Ethics and Standards is responsible for determining the applicability of the “Got Your Back” protocol, according to the Dean of Students website.It’s a good program, but there is a disconnect there that has to be looked at, Hendrickson said.”I think we are getting clear indication from students that this is confusing, [they] don’t know what this is about,” he said. “I think we need to pay attention to that.”There needs to be an avenue, like a “Got Your Back” forum or a polling, to officially see what students think some of the issues are with “Got Your Back,” IRA President Lucy Croft said.”The whole part of it being unclear is the part that is most upsetting to me, because I know that people have used it and just gotten completely screwed,” she said.This year, freshman don’t seem to know that “Got Your Back” is an available resource, or that the protocol exists at all, she said.”Residents just don’t know a lot of the parts of the system,” Graham said.A female freshman participant in a “Got Your Back” scenario said, “[Her experience] was not handled correctly, and the policy was not explained clearly enough.””One day of a couple of powerpoint slides was not effective at all in teaching students what ‘Got Your Back’ really is and how to use it,” she said.By no means should the protocol be done away with — it just needs to be refined, Croft said.”Everybody has a horror story for themselves, or someone they knew. That should not be [how] it is,” she said.