VII.I. BSC Substance Abuse Policy
The purpose of the Substance Abuse Policy is manifold. It serves to:
- further the BSC mission statement of providing a “quality, low-cost, cooperative housing community to university students, thereby providing an educational opportunity for students who might not otherwise be able to afford a university education,”
- minimize organizational liability and ensure the availability of appropriate affordable insurance.
- adhere to state and federal law
- protect the general health and welfare of the membership,
- provide clear processes and procedures for all stakeholders when substance abuse issues arise
- implement an overall strategy of community harm reduction.
For the purpose of this policy:
- A substance shall be defined as alcohol or a controlled substance.
- A unit shall be defined as a BSC house or apartment complex.
- A respondent shall be defined as the member with an alleged substance abuse issue.
- Substance abuse shall be defined a maladaptive pattern of substance use that has negative individual, unit, and community repercussions. At the individual level, the substance abuser may fail to meet work, home, or school responsibilities, may engage in behaviors that jeopardize his or her own safety or the safety of others, and may experience legal, social, or interpersonal problems. At the unit level, an individual may fail to complete workshifts or other unit obligations, may fail to meet reasonable roommate expectations, and may invite outsiders with undesirable conduct into the unit. At the community level, a substance abuser may engage in activities that adversely affect community and university relations, contribute to increased rates, or otherwise jeopardizes the BSC Mission statement.
BSC Attitude Towards Substance Abuse
As an organization based on cooperative principles, the BSC strives to support individuals in pursuing university and community rehabilitation resources as long as their conduct does not conflict with our underlying mission of providing cooperative low-cost quality housing to university students.
Our first priority is ensuring a safe environment for all members, and investigating promptly any complaints made about a member’s conduct and taking appropriate action.
Our second priority is to provide a supportive and non-punitive environment for members interested in pro-actively seeking help for themselves. As such, no member need fear being the subject of a conduct investigation simply because they are asking for help with substance abuse. Furthermore, the BSC supports a network of unit-level Health Workers who are trained to provide confidential and supportive information and referrals to help members pursue university and community rehabilitation resources.. All members and managers are encouraged to seek support from these individuals at any time.
Substance Abuse Voluntary Assistance Procedure
Any member who is concerned about their own substance use or the substance use of another member is strongly encouraged to contact a House Manager OR the Member Resources Coordinator (MRC) to request referrals to professional assistance in addressing the problem. The following have been identified as potential resources:
- The Member Resources Supervisor (for any member of the BSC)
- The Students of Concern Committee in the Dean of Students office (if a UC student)
- The Social Services Department of University Health Services (if a UC student)
- Options Recovery Center (for students without SHIP or other health insurance)
- Any other qualified medical or treatment provider available to the member
- A member’s request for advice, help, or referrals for substance abuse for themselves or another member will not trigger a complaint under Section 5. Substance Abuse Complaint Procedure.
Substance Abuse Complaint Procedure
If a member’s substance abuse:
- breaks either House/BSC rules,
- is in violation of state or federal law,
- violates the rights of others, or their reasonable expectation of safe space
- threatens life or poses a safety risk to self or others
- is in breach of a member’s contract,
- creates an organizational liability,
then any person may contact the Member Resources Supervisor to file a complaint. A member may also contact his or her house manager, who should subsequently contact the Member Resources Supervisor.
The complainant may remain anonymous if he or she wishes.
The MRC shall be the default investigative factfinder.
If the MRC is not available, the Executive Director may assign an alternate factfinder who may be the Executive Director, a designee of the Executive Director, or the Operations Manager.
The factfinder will decide if the complaint merits further investigation. If so, the factfinder will consult with the house manager, the respondent, and any other relevant parties to the complaint in order to investigate the issue. The factfinder will also direct the respondent to the services of the organizational Member Advocate.
A respondent who believes the factfinder is unable to conduct an unbiased investigation may contact the Executive Director or have the Member Advocate contact the Executive Director and make an argument about why the factfinder may not be able to conduct a neutral investigation. The ED shall consider the argument and assign an alternate factfinder if warranted. The decision of the ED will be final.
The factfinder will have five business days to gather relevant information in order to assess the next action. This time period can be extended with the permission of the factfinder’s supervisor.
When creating a written report of the situation, the factfinder will allow the statements of the complainant, the respondent, and all witnesses to remain anonymous. The respondent may waive the right to remain anonymous if he or she chooses, but may not require that any other parties reveal their identities.
A member’s prior efforts to seek treatment should be included in the report.
Based on the information gathered, the factfinder may refer the member to any appropriate organizational and outside resources.
Additionally, the factfinder will decide on an appropriate course of adjudication action from the following list.
Note: Any conditional contracts created as a result of actions iii and iv below will be premised on cessation of the substance use, and may require the member to utilize available university or community services.
- No further action – the factfinder will notifiy the complainant that based on the information gathered, no additional action is merited at this time.
- Community Response – the factfinder will refer the issue back to the unit and allow the unit to cooperatively decide on the most appropriate course of action. This option is appropriate when the complaint can best be resolved by the input of unit's residents. This option may only be used with the consent of the respondent.
- Staff-Issued Conditional Contract Policy (see Policy Directory VII.K) – If this action is chosen, then:
- It should be noted that though the policy is entitled “Staff-Issued Conditional Contract Policy” that it explicitly contains some specific circumstances that allow for unit councils to create and issue these contracts instead of a staff member.
- The respondent always has the right to refuse this option and instead send his/her case to the Enforcement Committee.
- Send to Enforcement Committee – the factfinder will refer the issue to the Conduct Committee. If the Conduct Committee cannot meet in a reasonable time frame, then Cabinet will hear the case. Enforcement Committee consequences for substance abuse can range from a referral to outside resources to termination of the member’s contract, depending on the severity of the conduct, the potential to affect the safety of other BSC members, the overall effect on the BSC unit and BSC community, the BSC’s ability to manage the risk of harm by relying on community and university resources, and the potential of the behavior to jeopardize the BSC mission statement.
- Send to ED, President, and Unit-level Manager for Clear and Present Danger Termination Consideration – if these three individuals decide that the Clear and Present Danger option is not appropriate, then options iii or iv may be used.
Good Samaritan Policy
- When a person calls to get medical help for another person on BSC property, who is in an emergency relating to alcohol or control substances, any evidence that becomes available because of the call will not be used in BSC adjudication proceedings against the caller. Additionally, any evidence in the police and medical reports related to the call will not be used against the caller by the BSC.
- The same protection afforded to the caller in paragraph A above will be extended to the person needing emergency medical services if s/he enters into a confidential contract addressing substance abuse or other actions that contributed to the overdose situation, and does not present a clear and present danger to themselves or others.