II (2) (E). Help-Seeking (Good Samaritan) Amnesty Policy


The health, safety, and general welfare of MIT students are of the utmost concern to the faculty, staff, students, and administration of the Institute. The following Good Samaritan Amnesty Policy has been established to reduce barriers related to seeking help during medical emergencies or situations when someone is believed to be the victim of a crime or significant policy violation even if there is no medical emergency.

All students are required to seek immediate medical attention in circumstances when they or others with them experience the potentially dangerous effects associated with the use of alcohol or prohibited substances.  [1]

Policy Guidelines

In a situation where students seek medical attention for an alcohol or prohibited substance-related medical emergency, MIT will treat the students’ use of alcohol or prohibited substances as a health and safety matter, not as a disciplinary incident. This policy, which is intended to reduce barriers to getting help, will be extended not only to the student receiving medical attention, but also to the student(s) who call for help. In addition, to encourage reporting and seeking help, this policy will be extended to any students who report in good faith that they witnessed or are the victim of a crime or a significant violation of MIT policy (e.g., sexual misconduct, hazing) even though they may have been under the influence of alcohol or prohibited substances at the time of the incident.

Signs of an alcohol or prohibited substance-related emergency can include a combination of lack of coordination, inability to stand, confusion, slurred speech, erratic behavior, slow or shallow breathing, pale or clammy skin, and /or vomiting while passed out. See http://studentlife.mit.edu/makethecall.  In an alcohol or prohibited substance-related medical emergency, students are expected to:

  • Contact emergency officials by calling 100 (on campus) or 617-253-1212;
  • Remain with the individual(s) requiring treatment and cooperate with emergency officials; and
  • Meet and cooperate with appropriate Institute administrative staff after the incident.

There are no restrictions to the number of times this Good Samaritan Amnesty Policy may be used, and doing so repeatedly will not result in disciplinary action.

If a student in need of medical attention is in a student residence, any other student(s) in the room or in the immediate presence are expected to make a call for assistance. Similarly, for situations occurring in residential common spaces (e.g., suites, apartments, lounges, function rooms), it is expected that the community members present at the time will make a call for assistance. 

When members of student organizations[2] call for assistance on behalf of individuals in need of help under this policy, the organizations will also not face disciplinary actions for violations of the Institute’s policies on alcohol and prohibited substances.

Policy Expectations 

Students or student organizations using this policy may be required to complete educational and/or counseling program(s) that are meant to support students and their organizations and connect them with other community services and resources that may be beneficial. These programs and services will be tailored to the specific circumstances and needs of those involved.

In instances where students or student organizations do not seek help for a student in need or do not follow through with required educational and/or counseling program(s), the protections offered by this policy may be voided and disciplinary follow-up through the Committee on Discipline (COD) may occur. 

Policy Limitations

The Good Samaritan Amnesty Policy applies to violations of policies relating to the use of alcohol and prohibited substances, but does not preclude MIT from taking disciplinary actions to address other serious or flagrant violations of MIT policy including, but not limited to, violence, sexual assault, harassment, serious property damage, hazing, or the manufacture, sale, or distribution of prohibited substances. It also cannot preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities. In cases where there have been other violations of Institute policy, calling for assistance for an individual in need of help may be considered a mitigating factor in any disciplinary process arising out of such violations (and failure to seek assistance may be considered an aggravating factor in any such disciplinary process).

Students and student organizations that do not seek medical attention in an alcohol or prohibited substance-related emergency situation where action is warranted could lose all protections under this policy and could face referral to the COD. 


[1] Prohibited substances include illegal drugs and other illegal substances, as well as substances that are generally recognized as dangerous and detrimental to the individual and community, even though they may not be illegal (including, but not limited to, whippits, 2-C’s, NBOME, research drugs, Spice, K-2, non-prescribed performance enhancing or other prescription drugs).

[2] For the purpose of this policy, the term student organization includes both recognized and unrecognized student groups, sports teams, fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, floors, entryways, and other groupings within on-campus residences.