Lawmakers to Consider Granting Immunity to Student Organizations

Category: State Issues

Columns at the Tennessee State Capitol.

Lawmakers are expected to hear legislation in coming weeks that prohibits colleges and universities from disciplining students, student organizations, and teams for violations of the student code of conduct that result in an alcohol or drug overdose for which medical assistance is sought. The bill, sponsored by Representative Martin Daniel (R-Knoxville), provides student organizations such as fraternities with immunity from sanctions, fines, and disciplinary actions regardless of the repeat nature of these incidents that are often life-threatening.

As proposed in the bill, immunity even extends to student organizations and teams if the overdose in question occurs in connection with another incident (such as a rape or sexual assault). Clearly, the legislation as drafted raises many concerns for the University of Tennessee and UT officials will be on hand in the coming weeks to oppose it.

The bill was taken off notice in previous weeks but has been re-calendared for Tuesday’s House Education Administration and Planning Subcommittee and Wednesday’s Senate Education Committee meetings.