Last month, SSDP welcomed a new chapter into our network at Salem College in North Carolina. When I met the co-founders of the chapter, Utang Enyenihi and Megan Cook, at the Students for Liberty Campus Coordinator retreat earlier this summer, I knew they were going to accomplish big things. What I didn’t know was how quickly and decisively they would be able to do it. Megan was recently elected as the Student Body she ran on a platform of enacting a Medical Amnesty policy on Campus. This policy campaign was especially important to her and Utang because Salem College is a private school whose policies did not reflect those of the state of NC (which has one of the best state-level medical amnesty laws in the United States).
Their strategy was simple. They would demonstrate student support for the policy and get the school administration enact the medical amnesty policy on its own. Since Megan had already run on a platform of enacting the policy and won, she knew that there was broad support among the Salem student government and the general student body. Once she pointed out to her peers that that the state of NC and many colleges & Universities in NC already have similar policies in place, there was virtually no opposition to the campaign. The student body, led by the Salem SSDP chapter, was organizing a petition to the school administration. But when administrators heard that the students were working on it, they moved to make changes to campus policy on their own. Salem had recently hired a new Title IX coordinator who is familiar with campus GSPs and she helped form the new policy.
Utang and Megan agree that the new policy could be less vague. But it is an improvement for the Salem student body. I will be working with them to improve the policy where and when we can as the school year progresses. It is my hope that if we can demonstrate student support for further reforms that the campus administration will be open to amending the policy. If they aren’t, it certainly doesn’t hurt that Megan is the Student Body President who can continue to use her bully pulpit and the mechanisms at the student government’s disposal to push for further reforms. Stay tuned for updates later in the year!