Opioid prevention joint-resolution fails in Residence Hall Association senate

Natalia Sperry

Colorado State University’s Residence Hall Association did not pass a joint-resolution in collaboration with the Associated Students of CSU aimed at opioid overdose prevention on campus. The resolution failed 6-21-2. 

The ASCSU Senate expedited the resolution to vote last Wednesday night, in anticipation of RHA’s senate meeting. ASCSU passed the resolution unanimously in a provisional session, 17-0-0. 

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The resolution is intended to prevent overdoses on campus by changing the existing policy so that Residence Assistants on duty can administer Narcan, a naloxone prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose, according to the Center for Disease Control. Under the previous policy, RAs were instructed to contact the police so that an officer could administer the prescription.  

Jordan Tehila, the president of the National Residence Hall Honorary, said that the resolution seemed too cumbersome to pass as a first step towards on campus overdose prevention. 

“NRHH feels that this is not a good first step,” Tehila said. “I think it would be more substantial to find out what those numbers (about opioid overdoses) are and identify that this could be a problem on campus, but until we know that it is a big problem that is affecting lots of people on this campus, I think it’s a little much to start asking of Residence Halls and the Residence Life Organization to train staff members on administering drugs.” 

Some hall representatives, such as Mallory Warrix, a sophomore biological science major, argued that the resolution asks too much of Resident Assistants. 

“While Laurel Village (Hall Council) does support this bill, one of the really big problems we have with it is that RAs don’t current receive any kind of first aid or CPR training, and so having this would be a pretty big jump,” Warrix said. 

Likewise, past and future RAs said that they would not feel comfortable administering Narcan, even expressing concern about potential side effects due to incorrect administration, according to prospective RA Ethan Powers, a freshman electrical engineering major.

“As an aspiring RA for next year, I would not feel comfortable administering Narcan to someone even if I knew that they were having an opioid overdose,” Powers said. “It would be a very, very scary moment for anyone.” 

Madi Smith, a freshman political science major, proposed an amendment that would make RA administration of Narcan contingent on the findings of the University, given that they decide to publish overdose data. The proposed amendment failed, due to Robert’s Rules of Order which states that a proposed amendment cannot significantly alter the intent of a bill unless the bill’s authors are present. 

Other hall representatives, such as sophomore economics major Alexander Adams, argued that the bill was important to protecting and even saving student’s lives on campus. 

“This is the only bill that has come to our floor since I’ve been here that has an impact so far-reaching that it can save lives,” Adams said. “Nothing else that has come in front of this body has been so important.”

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The resolution encourages CSU Administration and the Department of Residence Life to report numbers of opioid overdoses on campus, and asks that there be a Good Samaritan clause to protect students and Resident Assistants who assist in the event of an overdose as well as amnesty for all students involved in the case that the drugs were contained illicitly. 

According to RHA President Kyra Ferguson, the resolution will still be presented to University Administration.

“Regardless of whether we pass the resolution or not, the intent of ASCSU is to bring it to administration this week,” Ferguson said. “However we pass or fail this bill will reflect on its validity coming from the Residence Hall’s Association, which reflects the Residence Hall’s opinion on a bill that impacts Residence Life.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Jordan Teliha as the vice president for the National Residence Hall Honorary and referred to Ethan Powers as a future Resident Assistant. This article has been corrected to the proper titles: Teliha is the president of the National Resience Hall Honorary, and Powers is a prospective Resident Assistant.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Resident Assistants as Resident Advisors in the first paragraph. This article has been corrected.

Collegian reporter Natalia Sperry can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Natalia_Sperry.