Alcohol amnesty bill advances in Indiana Statehouse

IU Bloomington
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Alcohol immunity is a hot topic on college campuses these days and now it's being discussed at the Indiana Statehouse. A bill granting immunity for certain offenses is one vote away from possibly being signed into law.

You can count on one hand the number of times students on all the state's college campuses have instituted change at Indiana's Statehouse.

"A life is more important than just getting in trouble," said Treveon Alexander, a senior at Indiana University who got the message.

Last year, 19-year-old Brian Macken, a sophomore at IU, died while attending a frat party on campus.

"If those people who were around him would have just picked up the phone and said, 'He needs our help. He needs to go to the hospital. He's foaming at the mouth. Maybe we should call an ambulance,'" said Justin Kingsolver, IU student body president.

Macken died five days later.

Then there is the case of Lauren Spierer, who disappeared June 3rd, 2011. A letter from her parents to lawmakers was read at a committee hearing regarding the alcohol immunity bill.

"It basically said, 'We are not a hundred percent sure what happened to Lauren, but we think a policy like this could have helped the people around her to make the right decisions,'" said Kingsolver.

Those instances and others like them on other campuses across the state prompted supporters to bond together. IU and Purdue already have policies in place dealing with immunity. The goal now is to take it off campus to police stations.

Rep. Randy Truitt (R-Lafayette) is a co-author of the bill.

"Trying to encourage friends to be friends and to stay there and not turn their back. Provide protection in case an individual steps up like that," said Truitt.

Treveon Alexander relates an incident that happened just last weekend with some students he knew.

"One of their friends was hurt but they didn't call police because they were worried about getting in trouble. So they actually left him with some girl they didn't even know just because they didn't want to get in trouble," he said.

"I think you see people turning their backs on friends right now and that is what we are trying to stay away from," said Truitt.

If the bill becomes law, students believe it will send a powerful message.

"Our state legislature, our governor, our state government institution says it's okay to call an ambulance," said Kingsolver.

The bill is currently being heard in the House, where it's up for a third read Tuesday.