The Associated Students of Madison discussed a new resolution that proposes adding emergency contact numbers to the backs of Wiscards, Wednesday night.
The proposal, known as the Wiscard Emergency Contact Resolution, is sponsored by Rep. Yogev Ben-Yitschak, who was inspired by a conference he attended where he discovered many other schools do this.
“I saw a lot of other schools have this on their cards and I realized that around 200 schools [have it], including many of the Big Ten schools,” Ben-Yitschak said.
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Ben-Yitschak said these numbers included rape crisis center numbers as well as mental health crisis numbers. Ben-Yitschak said that while these issues are prevalent on campus, many students are unaware of where they should go if they face them.
Ben-Yitschak also said that while some say students can just look these resources up on their phones, that is not always true as not all students have smartphones.
“It comes down to the hundreds of students, who at any given moment would not be able to search a mental health crisis line or rape crisis line if needed,” Ben-Yitschak said.
Ben-Yitschak explained that areas surrounding colleges that passed legislation to include crisis numbers on their student IDs saw an increase in calls to the Suicide Hotline. While it is impossible to know if this increase is directly caused by the inclusion of the numbers, Ben-Yitschak said there was a strong correlation.
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These resources are known to have an invaluable impact on people who reach out to them, Ben-Yitschak said, citing an American Association of Suicidology survey that found over 75% of people who called the Suicide Hotline said it had an effect on stopping them from committing suicide.
According to Science Magazine, a Columbia University study uncovered a similar statistic, with 80% saying Lifeline played a part in saving their life.
Ben-Yitschak said he hopes this resolution passes, saying resolutions such as this are exactly why student councils exist.
“This is where we, as the voice of the student body, say that yes, they do need to put these numbers on the back of everybody’s cards,” Ben-Yitschak said.
ASM made the decision to debate and vote on the resolution at their next meeting, which will be held Oct. 16.