Alcohol and Drug Policy

Effective Date

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Office of Primary Responsibility

Division of Student Affairs

Reason for Policy

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students on College property or as any part of a College-sponsored activity is strictly prohibited. Local, state, and federal laws prohibit the unlawful use, manufacture, possession, control, sale and dispensation of any illegal narcotic or other drugs. These laws carry penalties for violations, including monetary fines and imprisonment.

The risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol are numerous and include physical and mental impairment, emotional and psychological deterioration, and devastating effects on family and friends. There are obvious risks, such as suffering a hangover, being charged with driving under the influence or while intoxicated, and sustaining or causing personal injury. There are a number of less obvious risks associated with alcohol and other drug abuse that students might not realize, including:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Poor job performance
  • Unwanted sexual activity
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS
  • Jeopardizing future career prospects (e.g., admission to law school, government employment).

In addition, alcohol and other drug abuse puts the user at considerable health risk, which can include nausea, vomiting, cancer, liver damage, elevated blood pressure, psychotic episodes, hallucinations and, in some cases, death. In addition to the risk to the abuser of illicit drugs and alcohol are the risks to other students and the public.

The Counseling and Human Development Office, Coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drugs Program, and Dartmouth College Health Service can provide consultation and referral to students with problems or concerns related to alcohol and drug use. All have procedures to assure confidentiality.

Individuals whose performance is impaired as a result of use or abuse of drugs or alcohol (either on or off campus); who illegally use or abuse drugs or alcohol on campus; who violate other Standards of Conduct while under the influence; or who otherwise violate the Alcohol or Other Drug Policies may be subject to severe sanctions. These can include required completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program, suspension, separation, and referral to law enforcement authorities.

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement

The primary concern of the Alcohol Policy is the health and safety of members of the College community As part of Dartmouth’s overall alcohol education efforts, the alcohol policy aims to deepen student awareness of the problems that the abuse of alcohol can create, and to involve the College and members of the College community in helping to alleviate these problems whenever possible. The College’s primary goals in this area remain educational ones: to develop alcohol guidelines that are clear, readily understood, consistent, and equally applicable to all students; to create a non-coercive social environment for those who choose not to drink; to promote moderation, safety, and individual accountability for those who choose to drink; and to maintain a community where the effects of alcohol abuse and the problems of behavior associated with it are openly discussed. Therefore, all members of the community need to be mindful of their responsibility to lend assistance to others in need of help because of a problem relating to alcohol. Also, the Board of Trustees has affirmed its commitment to eliminate the abuse and unsafe use of alcohol at Dartmouth and continues to endorse the focus on alcohol education and counseling in order to provide a safe environment for those who choose to drink alcohol.

The specific policies that follow apply to all Dartmouth students on or off campus. These policies also apply in connection with student programs, events, and activities of the College and its recognized student organizations. College-recognized organizations include, but are not limited to, the following: Greek Letter Organizations and Societies (Greek Life), senior societies, undergraduate societies, COSO recognized groups, athletic teams, residence hall councils, class councils, etc. For the purposes of this policy, College-recognized organizations also include any group that has matriculated Dartmouth College students as a majority of its members and has official College status.

If an individual College department or office, in order to ensure consistency with its mission and objectives, develops more restrictive policies regarding the possession, use or distribution of alcohol, then the department or office will notify those affected and the more restrictive policy will apply.

I. Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by individuals under the applicable legal drinking age is a violation of College policy. Purchasing alcohol or attempting to purchase alcohol for an individual under the legal drinking age, or distributing alcohol to an individual under the legal drinking age either by someone over the legal drinking age or by someone under the legal drinking age through the use of false identification is prohibited.

II. Public intoxication is prohibited. Intoxication is identified by generally reliable signs. These signs may include, but are not limited to, the strong odor of alcohol on an individual’s breath, slurred speech, impaired coordination, glassy eyes, or exaggerated emotions and behaviors. Students may be considered to have violated the College policy prohibiting public intoxication if their level of impairment attracts the attention of College, town, or other officials and warrants medical care or custody by police. With respect to this policy, “public” is understood to be any place to which members of the community have general access, including hallways, common spaces, and restrooms of administrative and academic buildings, residence halls, and organization-affiliated houses. It does not include students’ individual rooms. Violations of this regulation will result in a referral to the College Health Service  or the Dartmouth Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness Program (DAODAP) and disciplinary action appropriate to the circumstances.

III. Possession, consumption, or service of hard alcohol (30 proof or higher) by undergraduate students and organizations is prohibited on campus and at events held by College recognized undergraduate organizations and athletic teams both on and off campus.  In addition, no one may possess, serve, or consume hard alcohol in or on the grounds of the following undergraduate facilities: Residence Halls, Fraternity and Sorority Housing, Undergraduate and Senior Societies, Affinity Houses, Collis Center, Tom Dent Cabin, Robinson Hall, and ’53 Commons including Sarner Underground.

IV. Good Samaritan Policy. Student health and safety are the primary concerns of the Dartmouth community. Students are expected to contact Safety and Security when they believe that assistance for an intoxicated/impaired student is needed. The Department of Safety and Security (DOSS) will assist intoxicated individuals by providing or facilitating transport to medical facilities at the College Health Service, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, or by taking other protective measures. In case of medical emergency, students should call 911 for assistance by local police, fire safety or medical professionals. Students and/or organizations that seek assistance from these sources, the individual assisted, and others involved will not be subject to College disciplinary action with respect to the alcohol policy. (This policy does not preclude disciplinary action regarding other violations of College standards, such as causing or threatening physical harm, sexual abuse, damage to property, harassment, hazing, etc. Students should also be aware that this College policy does not prevent action by local and state authorities.) Safety and Security will record names of intoxicated students to enable any follow-up that may be deemed necessary to ensure students’ well-being. Other information may also be recorded to enable any other necessary follow-up.

In order for this policy to apply, the intoxicated student(s) must agree to timely completion of recommended alcohol education activities, assessment, and/or treatment depending on the level of concern for student health and safety. Serious or repeated incidents will prompt a higher degree of medical concern. Failure to complete recommended follow-up will normally result in disciplinary action and could also prompt the imposition of a medical withdrawal. Likewise, organizations involved in an incident must agree to take recommended steps to address concerns.

The Office of Parking & Transportation Services and other appropriate offices may request and receive information regarding a student’s history under the Good Samaritan Policy for purposes of determining eligibility for College driver certification.

V. Providing an alcoholic beverage to an obviously intoxicated person is prohibited.

VI. Students of legal drinking age may drink in their rooms, may drink in the common spaces of residential facilities (unless alcohol is present and there are 10 or more students, in which case a social event needs to be registered), and may drink in Greek houses, senior and undergraduate society physical plants, although other social events there with alcohol must be registered. (See Section XI for information about registration of social events with alcohol.) Students of legal age may also drink at registered social events in other designated social spaces. (See Section XI for a list of locations at which social events may be registered.)

The possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages, and/or the consumption of alcoholic beverages, is specifically prohibited: in and around academic, administrative, and athletic buildings; on the Green; on the streets and sidewalks of the campus; in the cemetery or the Bema; at intercollegiate, club or intramural athletic events, wherever they are held, whether on or off the Dartmouth campus; and in the vicinity of the Connecticut River in conjunction with water-related activities. The possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages, and/or the consumption of alcoholic beverages is also prohibited, except during registered social events when specific permission is granted, outside of, or on the grounds of, residence halls, Greek facilities, undergraduate and senior societies, academic affinities, special interest houses, or other student organizational facilities, and in any other specified areas.

Special exceptions can be made by the Greek Life office or the Collis Center for Student Involvement, or by the Deans of the graduate and professional schools for:

  • The Bema
  • In and around academic, administrative and athletic buildings
  • On sidewalks and streets of the campus
  • In the immediate vicinity of a College-registered event

Requests for exceptions regarding facilities managed by the Student Affairs Division should be addressed to the Collis Center for Student Involvement.

VII. The College prohibits the possession of paraphernalia designed or used to deliver a high volume of alcohol or to facilitate rapid alcohol intake.

VIII. Common sources of alcohol (kegs, half-kegs, quarter-kegs, beer balls or punch bowls) are not permitted in College residence halls or on the premises of any College-recognized organizations, without approval from the Greek Life office or the Collis Center for Student Involvement. Special exceptions to this provision may be granted by the Greek Life office or the Collis Center for Student Involvement, or by the Deans of the graduate and professional schools to graduate organizations and activities. Punches containing alcohol are strictly prohibited.

IX. Commercial delivery of alcohol to individual students or student groups at Dartmouth is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, the commercial delivery of alcohol to College residence halls or to any College-recognized organization, except for social events that have been properly registered with specific permission for the delivery of alcohol.

X. No College funds designated for student programming and activities, nor COSO, Greek Life Office, undergraduate society, or other funds designated for College-recognized student organizations, may be used for the specific purchase of alcohol. Such funds may be used for training or employment of servers (see section XII) or for the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages. No alcoholic beverages may be purchased through the treasury of any College-recognized organization. This policy shall not apply to religious practices of those religious organizations recognized by the Tucker Foundation. Special exceptions to this provision may be granted to undergraduate organizations or activities by the Greek Life Office or the Collis Center for Student Involvement, or by the Deans of the graduate and professional schools to graduate organizations or activities.

XI. Events at which alcohol may be present must conform to the Alcohol Management Program (AMP).  

Those procedures state that any organization planning to host social events with alcohol must have a documented Internal Management Plan submitted to their recognizing department. Registration of social events is the responsibility of the hosting organization as described by the AMP procedures. 

Designated social spaces in residential facilities (including Greek houses) are limited to lounges, television rooms, and multipurpose rooms. Hallways, stairways, bathrooms, roofs, decks, porches, fire escapes, study rooms, seminar rooms, computer rooms, and all other public areas are specifically not considered designated social spaces, for fire and safety or community reasons. There are many non-residential designated social spaces on campus. Students can consult the Conference and Special Events Office or Office of Student Life for further information about the use of these spaces.

XII. At social events where alcohol is present, all servers must be 21 years old or employed by a licensed caterer. Servers may not consume any alcohol or be under the influence of any other substances prior to and during the event. All servers must be Dartmouth trained or approved professionals. The Office of Student Life facilitates a training program designed to teach problem-solving related to alcohol use and abuse, knowledge of the College alcohol policy and the alcohol laws of the State of New Hampshire, recognition of emergency situations and elementary emergency training, preparation and clean-up procedures related to serving, and additional information presented by the training staff.

Violations of the Student Alcohol Policy

Adjudication of the College alcohol policy is informed by the College’s primary concern for the health and safety of the College community. In an effort to help students understand the College’s alcohol policy, the likely consequences of choosing to violate the policy are described below.  The response to a violation will take into account a variety of factors including an individual or organization's conduct history, time elapsed between multiple violations, the presence of aggravating factors (i.e., other misconduct or deception), and the presence of mitigating factors (i.e., completion of a treatment program if substance abuse is indicated).

First Beer or Wine Incident

A student's first alcohol incident (public intoxication and/or underage possession/consumption of beer or wine) will be handled with an educational referral to BASICS.  (Here, “beer or wine” is used to describe all alcohol that is below 30 proof and thus not covered by the “hard alcohol” provisions of this policy.  The fact that a beverage is not “beer” or “wine” is not a defense to a charge of violating this policy.)  The student will not be subject to College disciplinary action with respect to the alcohol policy for first beer or wine incident. Students must participate in these programs to avoid a disciplinary sanction. In addition, students are encouraged to talk with their undergraduate dean, counselors, and/ or alcohol educators, about the role alcohol is playing in their life at Dartmouth.

Dartmouth imposes disciplinary sanctions for violations of the alcohol policy as a means to educate students and deter behavior that negatively impacts the individual or the community. If a student fails to complete the education/medical program, repeatedly violates the alcohol policy, or violates other college policies, he or she will be subject to disciplinary sanctions that usually include compliance with the education/medical program. Sanctions increase in severity with repeated offenses and serious misconduct.

Likely Responses to Other Beer/Wine Violations

All incidents involving a violation of Dartmouth's Alcohol or Other Drug policy include an educational and/or medical referral.

Underage Possession/Consumption or Public Intoxication

  • 2nd Incident: Warning
  • 3rd Incident: Reprimand
  • 4th Incident: College Probation

Providing To Minors

  • 1st Incident: Reprimand
  • 2nd Incident: College Probation

Organization Providing to Minors

Organization leaders and/or event coordinators will also be held accountable for violations of this policy and violations of the Social Event Management Procedures.

  • 1st Incident: Alcohol may not be consumed or served at organizational events or on the premises for a specified period of time.

Likely Responses to Hard Alcohol Violations

Possession/Consumption or Public Intoxication

  • 1st Incident: College Probation
  • 2nd Incident: 1 Term Suspension
  • 3rd Incident: 2 Term Suspension

Providing Hard Alcohol to Others

  • 1st Incident: 1 Term Suspension
  • 2nd Incident: 2 Term Suspension

Organization Providing Hard Alcohol To Others

Organization leaders and/or event coordinators will also be held accountable for violations of this policy and violations of the Social Event Management Procedures.

  • 1st Incident: 1 Term Suspension followed by a specified period of time when alcohol may not be consumed or served at organizational events or on the premises.
  • 2nd Incident: 1 Year Suspension
  • 3rd Incident: Permanent Loss of Recognition

Additional violations may be addressed with the full range of conduct sanctions, up to and including permanent separation from the College. Student health and safety are the primary concerns of the Dartmouth community; therefore additional individual student circumstances may prompt a higher degree of medical response. Student organizations should expect extended periods of suspension or permanent loss of organizational recognition for additional violations of this policy.

The Good Samaritan Policy applies to any alcohol policy offense, regardless of the student’s previous disciplinary history. Students who wish to avoid sanctions as a result of the Good Samaritan Policy must participate in the educational/medical program to be eligible for the Good Samaritan exemption. This policy does not preclude disciplinary action regarding other violations of College standards, such as causing or threatening physical harm, sexual misconduct, damage to property, harassment, hazing, etc. Students should also be aware that this College policy does not prevent action by local and state authorities.

Driving Under the Influence

Students who violate the New Hampshire state statutes by driving while impaired will be subject to disciplinary action by the College. The likely sanction for driving under the influence is suspension.

Other Drugs 

Federal and state laws control the possession, use, and sale of drugs and include severe penalties for violations. Dartmouth College prohibits the illegal possession or transfer of any illicit drug so defined under state or federal law, and views the use, possession, or sale of any illicit drug as contradictory to the welfare of both the individual and the College community. The harmful effects of drug abuse on physical and mental health are well established, as are the costs of such actions both academically and legally.

It is critical that all members of the community understand and anticipate the College’s response to individual cases of illegal use, possession, transfer, distribution, and trafficking in illicit drugs or the attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any such offenses. Action taken by the College in all cases of drug violations will be guided by a concern both for the welfare of the person involved and for the maintenance of a suitable educational environment for all members of the College community.

The College is not a law enforcement agency and does not assess the penalties specified in state and federal laws. Adjudication of violations of the Student Drug Policy, however, may reflect current medical and legal standards related to different classes of illicit drugs. Additionally, the College will cooperate with local, state, and federal authorities. Security officers will confiscate observed drug paraphernalia or apparently illegal drugs. Confiscated drugs are turned over to law enforcement authorities, who may initiate an investigation. Drug offenses that involve immediate and substantial danger to the community will be reported to the appropriate authorities at once and may result in immediate temporary suspension.

A violation of federal, state, or local laws concerning drugs is a violation of College regulations and is subject to College disciplinary action up to and including separation.

To remain eligible for federal funding of various programs and grants, including student financial aid, Dartmouth complies with all federal laws and regulations.  Federal laws (including the Controlled Substances Act, The Drug-Free Communities and Schools Act, and the Drug-Free Workplace Act) make it illegal to possess, cultivate or sell marijuana.  Thus, Dartmouth prohibits the cultivation, possession, use, or distribution of marijuana, even for state certified medical purposes, at College-sponsored events or activities (on or off-campus), on Dartmouth property, and in College affiliated housing. 

Students certified to use medical marijuana, with questions about housing, should contact Student Accessibility Services.

Students are accountable for their own decisions regarding the use of illicit drugs; they are also responsible for knowing and complying with applicable College regulations and state and federal laws related to illicit drugs.

Student Drug Policy

These regulations apply to all Dartmouth students. They also apply in connection with student programs, events, and activities officially recognized by, and under the jurisdiction of, the College and its recognized student organizations, both on- and off-campus. Violation of these regulations may subject an individual or organization to disciplinary action.

I. No student shall possess, use, transfer, distribute, manufacture or attempt to manufacture, or traffic in illicit drugs in violation of state or federal law or attempt, solicit or conspire to commit any such offenses. Synthetic or counterfeit substances that are an analog for a controlled substance are prohibited under this policy.  The misuse, transfer, or sale of legal substances such as prescription drugs and inhalants is also prohibited. In addition, the College prohibits the possession or use of drug paraphernalia. Violation of this policy may subject an individual or recognized organization to disciplinary action.

II. The College relies on its counseling and medical services and disciplinary procedures to minimize the use of illicit drugs. Students are urged to seek help for themselves or on behalf of others in any matter of drug usage. Counseling is available from the staff of the College Health Service. The undergraduate deans, College chaplains, or members of the faculty and administration may also be consulted when a student is in need of assistance.

III. Distribution, Transfer, and Trafficking. Whenever, in the opinion of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or their designee, there is sufficient and credible information or other evidence that a student is or has been distributing, transferring or trafficking in illicit drugs or attempting, soliciting or conspiring to commit any of these offenses with others, or is or has been in possession of such amounts as to make this a reasonable supposition, the student may be placed on immediate temporary suspension  by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or their designee until the Committee on Standards hears the case.

Adjudication of Violations of the Student Drug Policy

Violation of the Student Drug Policy will subject students to sanctions ranging, for example, from reprimands with a referral to a drug education program and separation from the College depending upon the nature and circumstances of the case. Sanctions are not automatic.

In determining the appropriate sanction for violation of the policy, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, his or her designee and/or Committee on Standards will, at a minimum, consider the following circumstances:

  1. How the violation was committed
  2. The amount and nature of the drug(s) involved
  3. The level of knowledge and intent of the student(s)
  4. Delivery or attempted delivery of drugs
  5. Prior offenses of the student(s)

This list is not exhaustive and other circumstances may be considered in the determination of a sanction. There may also be legal consequences for criminal charges that may result from the use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs.

Last Revised

Monday, September 12, 2016