Three Strikes, You’re Out

It can be pretty scary to get a strike, but luckily there are ways you can make it out OK

Story by Haley Quinn

Photos Courtesy of Mark Owen | The Breeze

As a freshman, you’re likely to encounter new experiences, unknown freedoms and heavier responsibilities. It’s possible that you could nd yourself in a sticky situation involving a strike, which is when a student gets caught in an incident involving alcohol and/or drugs.

In these situations, students deal directly with the Of ce of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices. RJ Ohgren, one of OSARP’s assistant directors, wants students to understand that OSARP is only there to help — it’s a safe place with a goal to educate, not punish. “Our hope is to help students learn from decisions they made, grow from the experience and not end up back in the office,” Ohgren says.

If students are found responsible for violating the Alcohol or Drug policy by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices, they receive a strike. Upon receiving a third strike, students may be suspended for a minimum of one semester, depending on the situation. Students may be suspended prior to their third strike for major alcohol or drug violations – ones that pose a threat to the safety of the student or the community. You can see what is considered a minor or major violation in the JMU Student Handbook at jmu.edu/handbook.

Every situation is treated differently in the OSARP of ce to ensure that the student’s needs are met. JMU offers a variety of classes and mentoring programs in order to t each and every student’s circumstance. Sanctions are determined when students meet with their case administrator — someone that’s dealing with their incident specifically. A time may come when you and yourself or a friend needing medical attention or help because of alcohol poisoning. JMU has created an amnesty program that allows students to voluntarily report a medical emergency due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

The main goal is for students to feel comfortable reporting these unwanted situations without fearing the consequences. The OSARP office allows every student to express his or her case equally.

“The point is for students to step up more, and that behavior is rewarded with amnesty,” Ohgren says. Students who believe they qualify for the Enlightened Citizen Amnesty can apply by downloading a form on jmu.edu/osarp and submitting their written request to the OSARP office located on the second floor of SSC. Written explanations are required for all incidents and will be reviewed by a case administrator. Approved amnesty applications will result in no strike assigned, but students still may receive educational sanctions.

An anonymous senior described her experience with OSARP and going through the amnesty process. “When I was a freshman, I was lacking direction and needed some guidance,” she said. “I was assigned a mentor after receiving amnesty to put me back in the right direction, and I have learned more from that experience than most things at JMU.” OSARP wants students who go through the of ce and the programs to learn something, and the results have been beneficial.

“The drop between the rst and second strike here is huge,” Ohgren says. “If we see students in the of ce for their first strike, most of the time we don’t see them again. That’s really what it’s all about.” The biggest misconception people have about receiving a strike is that it’s strictly a punishment. OSARP’s there to help you get past the decisions you’ve made and set you up for success so that you stay out of trouble. While OSARP wants to help, it’s best to avoid the office at all costs.

Being aware of the circumstances that could result from drinking is an important step in making sure you can stay out of the of ce. Students must remember to be smart and have fun — but in that order.

If you or a friend is in need of medical attention, don’t hesitate to get help. Safety is always the No. 1 priority.

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