On Feb. 1, the Mississippi State Senate passed SB 2197, a bill that would have major ramifications for college students. The state Senate passed an initiative that was started by ASB in 2016, without much attention from the ASB administrations that followed.
The initiative was about amnesty for reporting medical emergencies concerning alcohol consumption. This statewide legislation would allow underage students who have been illegally consuming alcohol to call for help for another who is suffering from alcohol poisoning, without facing charges, if the reporter meets certain requirements.
This policy could save lives by allowing for another option instead of leaving sick students at the door of the ER or by leaving it up to other intoxicated minors to address a medical emergency. This is something that the 2015-16 ASB championed on behalf of the students.
The 2016 ASB chatted with alumni in the state Legislature, and the bill was passed this year because of two Ole Miss alumni, Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula and Sen. Briggs Hopson of Vicksburg. This is an example of what student government is meant to do.
I wanted to share this information to show how far ASB has strayed from its duties. I was involved in ASB while an undergrad, and our goal was to be the student body’s advocate on campus and off of campus.
In 2016, we went to Jackson to advocate for bringing Uber back and for this medical amnesty policy. Unfortunately, the members of the current ASB are now focused on credit and image and are not as much interested in advocating for the best interest of the students.
They’d rather stay on campus, bicker and do cosmetic work than roll up their sleeves and work for the students. I believe that this is to the detriment of the student body’s interest.
After going here for undergrad and now being here for law school and able to look from the outside, I can understand the current apathy the student body has for ASB.
Cody Smith is a University of Mississippi law student.