Good Samaritan Policy
Pepperdine's primary concern is the health and safety of our students. Students are encouraged to do the right thing and "Step Up" whenever they see someone in need of medical assistance. Our Good Samaritan policy is intended to remove potential barriers to seeking assistance, such as concerns regarding disciplinary action by the University.
Students who seek medical assistance for themselves or others will not receive disciplinary sanctions for violations of the Student Code of Conduct that occurred at or near the time of the incident. Instead, the students involved may be assigned alcohol or other drug education and assessment programs, to be determined on a case by case basis with the intention of providing support and preventing future occurrences.
This policy is applicable to:
- the student(s) requesting medical assistance for another person
- the student requesting medical assistance for oneself
- the student(s) for whom medical assistance was provided
To qualify for this policy, students requesting medical assistance must "Call. Stay. Cooperate."
- Call: if you are on campus, contact a University official (e.g., resident advisor, Public Safety); if you are off campus, call 911 or contact any appropriate official (e.g., event staff manager, police officer); and
- Stay: stay and monitor the student's condition until medical assistance arrives; and
- Cooperate: cooperate and be honest throughout the incident and any follow-up investigation.
The following are not covered by the Good Samaritan policy:
- This policy does not cover the following violations: dishonesty, hazing, causing or threatening physical harm, theft, property damage, possession with the intent to distribute drugs.
- This policy does not apply to a student who is charged with sexual misconduct (e.g., a student accused of sexual assault cannot be covered by the Good Samaritan policy).
- This policy does not apply if a University or other official responds to the student needing assistance before a student calls for assistance.
Application to Sexual Misconduct
This policy applies to students who report sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking) or participate as a witness in sexual misconduct investigations, or who seek assistance for themselves or another by contacting an appropriate official (e.g., Title IX Coordinator for Students, resident advisor, Public Safety officer, or calling 911). In these cases, the University will not pursue disciplinary action for a violation by the student of the Student Code of Conduct occurring at or near the time of the incident.
Application to Student Organizations
In circumstances where a student organization is found responsible for hosting an event where medical assistance is sought by anyone in attendance for a member or guest, this Good Samaritan action will be viewed as a mitigating factor in determining the appropriate sanction for the student organization. Conversely, failure to call will be considered an aggravating factor in any disciplinary action against the organization. Members of an organization hosting an event are expected to promptly call for assistance if they become aware of an emergency.
Application to Hosts of Parties
Students found responsible for hosting a party (or in any way assisting or promoting a gathering that includes drunkenness or drug use or underage drinking) on or off campus normally results in suspension. However, if any of the hosts act as a Good Samaritan, then no disciplinary action will be taken against the hosts. If medical assistance is sought by someone else in attendance, this Good Samaritan action by the attendee will be viewed as a mitigating factor in determining the appropriate sanction for the hosts. Conversely, failure to call will be considered an aggravating factor if the hosts become aware of an emergency and do not promptly call for assistance.
Actions by the Office of Community Standards
- The Good Samaritan policy is applied after an incident has been reviewed by the Office of Community Standards. University officials (e.g., DPS, resident advisors) responding to an incident on campus will follow all normal protocols on the scene, including documentation of the incident.
- The assistant dean of students for community standards (or designee) will determine if the Good Samaritan policy applies to an incident. If it is not applied and the student is charged with a violation, the student may request a hearing with the Student Disciplinary Committee (SDC) to review whether the Good Samaritan policy should apply. If the SDC determines it does not apply, the student may appeal the decision to the University's dean of students through the normal appeal process.
- The Office of Community Standards will waive the normal fee for alcohol and other drug educational assignments whenever the Good Samaritan policy applies.
- Failure to complete the educational assignments or treatment recommendations may result in disciplinary action.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Good Samaritan Policy
Yes. On campus, students should contact Public Safety or another University official (e.g., resident director or resident advisor). Off campus, students should notify an appropriate official (e.g., call 911 or, if at an event, contact a professional event staff member).
It depends on whether you are on or off campus. If you are on campus, you must contact a University official (e.g., resident advisor, resident director, Public Safety). If you are off campus, call 911 or you may contact any appropriate official (e.g., professional event staff manager, law enforcement police officer), and it is not required to notify the University for the Good Samaritan policy to apply. However, students are encouraged to notify a University official as well so that proper follow-up care can be provided and so that there is a clear record of the Good Samaritan action taken.
No. University disciplinary sanctions (e.g., University probation, suspension) will not be assigned to the reporting student(s) for alcohol or drug violations related to the incident even if the student is under 21. The incident will still be documented, and educational programs may be required in place of disciplinary sanctions for both the caller and person needing assistance.
Yes. The policy can be applied to multiple people in one incident. Even if one person contacts 911 or a University official, the policy will cover other students who are assisting the person needing help. Also, the policy can apply to multiple people who need medical assistance during the same incident.
Yes. If Pepperdine becomes aware of party attendees who violated the Student Code of Conduct (e.g., drunkenness or underage drinking) because of the call for medical assistance, then these students will be covered by the Good Samaritan policy. See the "Application to Hosts of Parties" section for expectations about their responsibilities.
Yes. The Good Samaritan policy applies to students who report their own medical emergency. The student will still be required to meet with a University official to discuss the situation. Students who self-report may be required to complete an educational program and/or an alcohol or other drug assessment and any recommended follow-up treatment in lieu of any disciplinary action. The normal fee for the educational program will be waived.
Yes. The policy can be applied to victims of physical violence and complainants or witnesses of sexual misconduct. See the "Application to Sexual Misconduct" section for more information.
It depends. University officials will use the protocols in place for communicating with a student's emergency contacts should a student be transported to the hospital.
No. Our goal is to encourage students to not hesitate in seeking appropriate medical assistance regardless of a student's disciplinary history or whether they've been covered by the Good Samaritan policy in the past.
No. The incident does not become recorded on the student's official disciplinary record in the Office of Community Standards. A record will exist in the Office of Community Standards that the incident occurred, but it is not reportable as disciplinary action to outside employers, agencies, or noted on a transcript.
The best option when you feel somebody is in need of medical attention is to seek help. Remember the three steps for Good Samaritans: Call. Stay. Cooperate. After you call for help, do not leave the individual alone. Ask for help from others if necessary and follow these pieces of advice:
DO: Turn the person on their side to prevent choking in case the person vomits.
DO: Be prepared to tell emergency personnel as much information as possible, including the amount and type of alcohol/substances consumed.
DO NOT: Leave the person alone.
DO NOT: Leave the person on their back.
DO NOT: Try to make the person vomit.
DO NOT: Try to get the person to eat or drink anything, even water at this point.
DO NOT: Put the person in a cold shower/bath (this could cause shock to the body).
Myths About the Alcohol and/or Good Samaritan Policy
- Myth: It is a violation of the alcohol policy to be in the presence of alcohol on or off
Fact: It is only a violation to be in the presence of alcohol on campus. Pepperdine is a dry campus and so students are expected to remove themselves from any situation where alcohol or other drugs are being used.
- Myth: Sometimes Pepperdine has DUI checkpoints at the entrance to the Malibu campus.
Fact: Pepperdine does not have DUI checkpoints on campus. Sometimes the Sheriff's Department has DUI checkpoints on Malibu Canyon Road or PCH, but these are not coordinated with Pepperdine.
- Myth: Students receiving financial assistance will lose their scholarship on the first
Fact: Pepperdine recognizes that many students receive significant financial assistance and would not be able to attend without it. Therefore, Pepperdine does not remove University financial aid on the first offense. The standard sanction for a first-time alcohol violation is University probation. Students who receive University financial assistance and are placed on University probation for the first time will receive a warning letter that additional violations could result in loss of aid. Students receiving scholarships outside of Pepperdine should check the conditions related to disciplinary action.
- Myth: The Good Samaritan policy only works if you call Public Safety.
Fact: If you are on campus, you must contact a University official (e.g., resident advisor, resident director, Public Safety). If you are off campus, call 911 or contact any appropriate official (e.g., event staff manager, police officer), and it is not required to notify Public Safety or the University for the Good Samaritan policy to apply. However, students are encouraged to notify a University official as well so that proper follow-up care can be provided and so that there is a clear record of the Good Samaritan action taken.
- Myth: In order for the Good Samaritan policy to apply, you have to accompany the student
to the hospital in the ambulance.
Fact: Students are expected to call 911 or a University official (such as the resident advisor or Public Safety) and monitor the student's condition until medical assistance arrives. Students must be cooperative and honest throughout the incident and any follow-up investigation.
These examples include hypothetical scenarios and responses to illustrate how the Good Samaritan policy may be applied.
Zach and Ramon: Call On-Campus
Ramon is underage and is drinking alcohol on the beach with some friends. He comes back to campus to find his roommate, Zach, passed out on his bed. Ramon finds the RA who determines that Zach needs medical attention. The RA calls Public Safety who sends EMTs, and they transport Zach to the hospital. The RA documents the incident and notes that Ramon also appeared to be intoxicated.
The Good Samaritan policy applies to both Ramon and Zach because Ramon sought assistance from an RA for Zach. Neither student will receive disciplinary sanctions as a result of this incident. Zach will be required to complete an alcohol assessment at Pepperdine's Counseling Center and must follow any treatment recommendations. Both Zach and Ramon must agree to complete an online alcohol education program, but the normal fee will be waived.
John and Sarah: No Call On-Campus
John and Sarah are drinking alcohol with friends at the Lovernich apartments when Sarah begins to show signs of serious intoxication (slurred speech, unsteady on her feet, vomiting). John has also been drinking, but John decides to walk Sarah to her apartment. While walking, a Public Safety officer sees Sarah walking unsteadily and stops her to assess the situation and make sure she is safe. The officer calls 911 for assistance. John and Sarah are documented for consumption of alcohol, and the report is sent to the Office of Community Standards for review.
The Good Samaritan policy does not apply because John did not call 911 himself or seek out a qualified individual (such as an RA or Public Safety) to assess Sarah's condition.
Jean and Friends: No Call Off-Campus
Sheriff officers are dispatched to a local bar where the officers observe a group of people being disorderly outside the establishment. An officer observes Jean being held up by two of her friends; Jean is unable to speak coherently and is passing in and out of consciousness. The officer arrests Jean and she is transported to the hospital. Her friends were cited by the officers for underage drinking. They return back to their suite on campus, and the incident is reported to the RAs, who are required to document the situation.
The Good Samaritan policy does not apply to Jean or her two friends because they were not seeking medical assistance for her. Had the friends called 911, Jean and the two friends would receive immunity from disciplinary action.
Jane and Club: Call Off-Campus by Non-Club Member
Jane is at an off-campus party hosted by a Pepperdine club. Sometime during the party, Jane passes out. A non-member of the club calls for medical assistance, and Jane is taken to the hospital. Jane's friends later confirm that she had been consuming alcohol at the party, and Jane is 19 years old. During the investigation of the incident, the names of other underage students who attended the party were shared with Public Safety.
Jane will receive immunity from disciplinary action under the Good Samaritan policy, and will complete an alcohol assessment, any recommend treatment, and an alcohol education program. No disciplinary action will be taken against the other underage students named in the report, because Pepperdine only became aware of their violations as a result of the call for medical assistance. They will be required to complete an online alcohol education program, but the normal fee will be waived. The club, which was already on probation, will receive a lesser sanction because someone at the party called for assistance and the officers admitted the club hosted the party; instead of suspending the club, its probation was extended.
Alex and Sorority: Call Off-Campus by Sorority Member
Alex attends a sorority formal off campus at a banquet hall. Prior to the formal, he pre-gamed at a kickback arranged by some of the sorority members at their off-campus house. There he learned that they had made arrangements with a bar adjacent to the banquet hall to serve alcohol to those attending the formal, but was told they needed to be discreet since alcohol is not allowed at sorority events. During the formal, Alex made several trips to the bar along with some of the sorority members. While on the dance floor Alex became ill, and before he could make it to the bathroom he threw up and started to lose consciousness. One of the sorority members who drank with Alex at the house and the bar said she would call 911. She told the 911 operator that Alex had a severe case of food poisoning. When the EMTs arrived and inquired about alcohol consumption, the sorority member said all she knew was that suddenly Alex became very ill and so she assumed it was food poisoning since alcohol wasn't served at the formal. Alex was taken to the hospital. Tests showed that he had severe alcohol poisoning. During the follow-up investigation by Public Safety, the sorority member who called 911 shared the same story about food poisoning and said she didn't know anything about Alex consuming alcohol that evening. When the Resident Director visited Alex in the hospital, Alex told him about the alcohol he consumed before and during the formal and shared the names of the sorority members who consumed with him.
Alex will receive immunity from disciplinary action under the Good Samaritan policy and will complete an alcohol assessment, any recommended treatment, and an alcohol education program. The sorority member who lied to 911, the EMTs, and Public Safety will not receive immunity, because she was not cooperative and her attempts to shield herself and the sorority resulted in the concealment of pertinent information needed for timely medical treatment. No disciplinary action will be taken against the other students named by Alex, because Pepperdine became aware of their violations as a result of the call for medical assistance. The sorority leadership met with the Student Organizations Judicial Board (SOJB) and admitted that the kickback and arrangements to have alcohol available at the formal were serious sorority violations. The SOJB reduced the normal sanctions, taking into account that medical assistance was called for Alex at the formal.
Liam and Pub: Call at International Programs
Liam and three other Pepperdine students go to a pub within walking distance from the Pepperdine London house. Liam drinks several pints during their short stay. As they begin walking down the street, Liam stumbles, throws up, and his eyes roll to the back of his head and he is unresponsive. One of the students goes back into the pub and asks the bartender to call an ambulance while the others remain with him. Liam is transported to the hospital. The others take a taxi and stay with him until he is discharged. During this time they contact the London program director and RA to let them know what happened and that Liam is okay.
Liam will receive immunity from disciplinary action under the Good Samaritan policy, and will complete an alcohol assessment, any recommended treatment, and an alcohol education program. His friends are commended by the director for doing the right thing and making sure that everyone stays safe. Even though the Good Samaritan policy does not require students off campus to contact Pepperdine officials or to go to the hospital, under these circumstances abroad it was especially helpful to ensure that Liam received care and returned safely to the Pepperdine house.
Last Updated: September 5, 2023
Policy Contact: Community Standards