After publishing a policy briefing studying the alcohol policy of the University of Pittsburgh, we’ve concluded that, in order to protect student health, the University must change its stated intention of citing students for underage drinking in the emergency room of UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. In order to affect this change, we are collecting signatures from Pitt students as well as from medical professionals in order to demonstrate the extent to which our community believes that this policy is a threat to student health.
The full background and language of the petition is printed below and our recommendations for solving this problem can be found here. We will begin today to collect signatures in and around Oakland and will present this petition to the University of Pittsburgh once it is completed.
The University of Pittsburgh currently stations police officers in the emergency room of UPMC Presbyterian. In an article in The Pitt News in April, a University police commander insisted that those officers would cite individuals under 21 for underage drinking no matter the circumstances and even if they were seeking medical attention. The Pitt News further reported that students, upon hearing of this policy, are now less likely to seek medical attention or help a friend seek medical attention if it would result in an underage citation. Research conducted and a policy briefing published by The Publius Foundation further confirm The Pitt News’s findings and, as such, we have concluded that the University’s current policy is a threat to student health.
We, the undersigned, recognize that the University of Pittsburgh’s publicly announced policy of citing students for underage drinking if they are seeking medical attention or helping a friend seek medical attention at UPMC Presbyterian is detrimental to student health. For this reason, we petition the University to instruct University of Pittsburgh police officers not to issue underage drinking citations to students at UPMC Presbyterian. Furthermore, in order to inform students of this change and signal to students that it is possible to seek medical attention without facing legal penalties for consuming alcohol underage, we petition the University to publicly announce this new policy on its website and via email to all students.