Medical Emergency Policy

Intent of the policy

The health, safety and wellbeing of Yale’s students and community are of paramount importance. Members of the Yale community have a responsibility to look out for the health and safety of one another. Accordingly, students are expected to seek medical assistance for themselves or for others in the event of a medical emergency, including emergencies related to the use of alcohol or other drugs. As part of its commitment to the health and safety of all students, Yale has reviewed and now clarifies a policy on protection from discipline designed to encourage students to seek help in medical emergencies.

The policy

If you summon help for yourself, a fellow student, or a guest in medical need, you will not be charged by the Yale College Executive Committee with alcohol or other drug violations, but you may have to complete counseling, educational, or training programs within an agreed upon timeframe.  This policy applies regardless of your own use of alcohol or other drugs.  If you summon help for someone whose intoxication or impairment is entirely unrelated to your own actions, you will not be required to seek education or training.

Who is covered

  • Those consuming alcohol or other drugs who are helped
  • Students who call for help for another person
  • The host or guests of an event
  • Any registered or unregistered student organization sponsoring the event

What happens after a student calls for help

After the emergency has been addressed, you will be contacted by someone from the Yale College Dean’s Office (YCDO) and/or Yale Health (but not a representative of the Executive Committee) to determine the appropriate next steps.  You will not be charged by the Yale College Executive Committee with a violation of the Undergraduate Regulations for consuming and/or providing alcohol or other drugs. Depending on your role in the emergency, you may have to complete training, education and/or counseling to avoid disciplinary consequences. The YCDO and/or Yale Health will outline the steps you need to take and will work with you on a timeline for completing them. Here are a few examples:

  • In a situation in which you were intoxicated or impaired but were well enough to receive treatment at Yale Health (rather than an emergency room), you will consult with an alcohol and other drugs specialist at Yale Health.
  • In a situation in which you were transported to an emergency room for alcohol intoxication or a drug overdose, you will consult with an alcohol and other drugs specialist at Yale Health. You will also meet with your dean for a conversation about what happened, your safety, and any other concerns.
  • If you hosted an event and had to get medical help for a guest who was intoxicated or otherwise impaired by the use of drugs, at a minimum you will consult with someone from the Alcohol and Other Drugs Harm Reduction Initiative (AODHRI).  If your hosting practices contributed to the emergency, you will work with AODHRI to learn more about safe hosting and to put those lessons into practice.
  • If you summoned help for a student or other person whose intoxication or impairment was entirely unrelated to your actions, you will be thanked for the role you played in protecting your classmate; you may be asked about the circumstances, but you will not be required to seek counseling, education or training.


  • You or another student needs to initiate the call for help – by contacting the Yale police, a head of college, a dean, a first-year counselor (FroCo), or any other official. This policy does not apply if a non-student initiates the call for help. 
  • This policy affects university discipline only. It does not protect you from criminal or civil liability or prevent investigation or other action by federal, state, or local authorities, including Yale Police.
  • This policy only suspends discipline for Yale’s regulations on using and providing alcohol and other drugs. Other violations (such as reckless endangerment, drug sales, coercion, hazing, physical assault, sexual misconduct, harassment, intimidation, and damage to property) are, as always, subject to discipline. Even so, calling for help may mitigate the disciplinary response.
  • If you have been involved in more than one emergency for which you bear some responsibility, you will need to complete more extensive counseling and/or education and training.  Students who engage in patterns of behavior that result in the repeated call for this policy will require further action, including possible disciplinary charges.
  • You need to complete the steps designated by the YCDO, AODHRI and/or Yale Health within the agreed-upon timeframe. If you do not, the Undergraduate Regulations on alcohol and other drugs will apply and you will be subject to disciplinary action for the alcohol and other drug violations.

This policy has emerged from a collaboration of students, administrators, and advisers.  To see more details about the policy, see the FAQ section; or give your feedback.

Revised October 23, 2017