We applaud: the new “Got Your Back”

A school that for years has endured a poor and outdated drinking policy has just inched in the right direction.The newly renovated “Got Your Back” program greatly expands and strengthens the potentially life-savingpolicy by which students may seek medical care for their peers in cases of alcohol intoxication without having to bear punishment themselves.We feel these changes are vital. And while more can certainly be done to bring UVM’s policies in line with a realistic vision of student life, they nevertheless provide much-needed force to what was once a flimsy and unreliable policy.Most essentially, these updates remove the absurd mandate that a student verbally request the implementation of the policy when making an emergency call – a potentially lifethreatening situation is one in which procedural technicalities should not be invited.It stands to reason that a student should not see punishment visited upon them for either the ignorance of, or failure to remember, such a miniscule and arbitrary facet of policy when making the difficult and responsible choice to call emergency services for a friend in need.We also praise the removal of the provision that a student could make use of the policy on only one occasion. Without this provision, students who do need attention are assured that they can get it, regardless of past experiences. It makes no sense to leave those who need medical care the most out of the loop.But we believe these changes do not go far enough, and we hope that this relatively minor change can beleveraged into a more critical examination of UVM’s drug and alcohol policy as a whole.Our side has made its points on numerous occasions. The questionable impact of our school’s anti-drinking policies, the principle in treating students as irresponsible merely because they consume alcohol, and the division that it breeds between RA’s and the communities which they are supposed to serve have all been called into question.It is time for a response. It is time for those making policy to answer these charges. We implore our student government leaders and the University administration to take these concerns seriously.While we would like to see many specific changes in policy, we do not demand that these changes come Into effect.What we do demand is that this matter be faithfully and reasonably considered as it deserves. We all need to watch each other’s backs in more ways than just the sideeffects of inebriation. That’s healthy. That’s the community we deserve.