Oct 072007
Authors: Erik Myers

Citing legal boundaries, CSU officials say Student Emergency Medical Services (SEMS), a program designed to prevent alcohol-related deaths at Greek parties, will not be available to CSU students.

With roots at CU-Boulder, SEMS is designed to provide university-sponsored events and student parties with professionally trained student emergency medical technicians. The group was designed to protect students from alcohol poisoning, but to act without contacting police in cases of underage drinking.

The program was the subject of a Collegian article that printed last month in which SEMS co-founders Ted Young and Anthony Rossi expressed their excitement to bring the program to CSU.

Despite claims from SEMS, the program was never slated to become a CSU-affiliated program because of liability issues, said Dell Rae Moellenberg, a university spokesperson.

“CSU administrative and health officials support the intentions of the SEMS proposal for services to the university’s student body,” Moellenberg said in the statement. “However, the university has not and cannot endorse, organize, provide, supervise or authorize these activities because it does not have the legal ability to do so.”

SEMS representatives had approached the university twice in the past two years, the statement said, but the university, under legal guidelines, could not provide or supervise the services they would offer.

“This decision is based on multiple constraints,” the statement said. “The university does not offer emergency medical services and does not have EMTs or doctors on staff who can supervise a volunteer EMT service, as required by state law.”

The Collegian article stated that university officials had “agreed to welcome SEMS workers – trained emergency medical technicians – on site at events to keep students safe.”

Anne Hudgens, executive director of campus life, said university officials had expressed concern that the article was misleading.

“I just think the coverage was confusing as to whether it was a university initiative or a student initiative.” Hudgens said.

According to Hudgens, the university had merely encouraged the group to apply for student organization status. Student organization status would give the group access to university services and facilities, but are not recognized as university entities and are limited in their access to university resources, according to the Student Organizations Web site.

Currently, SEMS has not applied for student organization status. Hudgens said she supported the idea of another student-to-student service, citing RamRide as a successful example.

“I just think anytime there are student-to-student initiatives that, where students work together on issues that affect their own culture, it’s really a good thing,” Hudgens said. “The RamRide program is a great example of students providing a service for other students that the university itself could not offer, but that student-to-student can offer that service.”

Hudgens added that for SEMS to achieve student organization status, it would need to obtain a medical director who was a practicing emergency physician to serve as an advisor.

Senior reporter Erik Myers can be reached at news@collegian.com

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