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UVM Student Alcohol and Other Drug Policy

UVM Student Alcohol and Other Drug Policy

The University of Vermont is committed to sustaining an academic environment that both respects individual freedom and promotes the health, safety, and well-being of all members of our community. It is essential that the members of this community recognize that the misuse and abuse of alcohol and the use of illicit drugs constitute a threat to the educational mission of the University, a violation of state and/or federal law and a violation of University policy.

Reason for the Policy

The University has adopted this policy in support of its educational mission and in compliance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989. The University has adopted programs to provide education about the harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs and to prevent the misuse of alcohol and other drugs. While the University respects the individual freedom of the members of our community, that freedom comes with an expectation that individuals will act in accordance with University Policy and applicable local, state and federal law. Substance use is not an acceptable excuse for behavior that violates community standards. The University seeks to provide an environment free from the adverse effects of alcohol and other drug abuse. All members of the University community are responsible for being fully aware of the requirements of University policy as well as local, state, and federal laws regarding alcohol and other drugs. The University holds students accountable for behavior that violates University policy and may refer incidents which could constitute a violation of law to University Police Services as well as to the Center for Student Ethics and Standards.

The University recognizes that substance abuse is a serious problem that may require professional assistance and treatment. Accordingly, a variety of services are available to students who seek education and/or assistance for substance abuse problems. These resources include information and confidential counseling at the Counseling Center and the Alcohol and Other Drug Services Office of the Center for Health and Wellbeing. In addition, staff in these offices can make referrals to other services available in the community.

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Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to students, student organizations, and their guests on University owned or leased property and facilities and/or engaged in a University activity. University premises means all land, buildings, facilities, and other property owned or leased by the University of Vermont. Off-campus conduct in violation of this policy, or local, state or federal laws regulating drug or alcohol use, may also subject a student to disciplinary or other appropriate administrative action when it is reasonably perceived to pose an imminent threat of harm to the safety of the student or others or reflects on a student's fitness to continue in the academic program in which s/he is enrolled.


Activities: means any act or event sponsored or organized by the University, including its constituent administrative and academic units and recognized student organizations. Without limitation, "activities" shall include all intercollegiate and intramural athletic events, faculty, staff and student meetings, conferences, field trips, retreats and all other acts or events for which the University of Vermont (including student organizations) pay expenses, or provide facilities, services, supplies or transportation.

Alcohol: means any beverage containing not less than 0.5% ethyl alcohol by weight. Illicit drug or controlled substance: shall include controlled substances and analogs as defined by federal and state law.

Possession: is determined by control over a substance or object with or without regard to ownership.

Property: means any property owned, leased, or controlled by the University of Vermont, including any motor vehicle and watercraft.

Student: means any individual enrolled in any credit-bearing course at the University

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Possession or consumption of alcohol by students on the property of the University or at University sponsored events is allowed only by students 21 years of age and older and only in areas designated by the University for the sale or consumption of alcohol. Possession or consumption of alcohol by individuals under the age of 21 or in any other places owned or controlled by the University, including on-campus residence halls, is strictly prohibited.

Alcohol and other drugs possessed or consumed in violation of this policy are subject to confiscation and any student in possession of or who has consumed drugs or alcohol in violation of this policy is subject to the disciplinary process and possible criminal prosecution under applicable federal, state and local laws. The University is committed to creating a quality learning environment free from the abuse of alcohol. Possessing and using devices designed or intended to be used for the rapid consumption of alcohol (i.e. funnels, beer bongs, etc.), and engaging in behaviors intended to intoxicate (i.e. races, games, etc. ) may be considered aggravating circumstances when considering appropriate sanctions. The presence of empty containers or drug paraphernalia leads to a rebuttable presumption that the student(s) found in possession of such containers or paraphernalia consumed the container's original contents or used the paraphernalia for its intended purpose.

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The following actions are prohibited:


  • Possessing or consuming alcohol if under the age of 21. No person, regardless of age, is permitted to possess or consume alcohol within the on-campus residential areas of the University. An individual, 21 or older, may consume alcohol on University property or at University sponsored events only in areas where the University expressly allows the sale or consumption of alcohol.
  • Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Misrepresenting one's age for the purpose of purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol.
  • Possessing, furnishing, or consuming alcohol in University owned or leased buildings, University grounds or lands, including residence halls, except as otherwise permitted in this or other University policies.
  • Possessing, furnishing, consuming or serving from a common source of alcohol (i.e. kegs, beer balls, punch bowls, or other approximate equivalent number of servings.)
  • Purchasing, furnishing, or serving alcohol to or for an underage person.
  • Being intoxicated to the degree that state law mandates being taken into custody.
  • Creating, offering, or engaging in drinking games and other behaviors designed for the purpose of becoming intoxicated through the abusive use of alcohol.
  • Being under the influence of alcohol, as supported by evidence through actions and/or results of field sobriety tests or alco-sensor readings administered by a police officer.

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Illicit Drugs

  • Possessing or using illegal substances, as defined by federal, state, and local statutes.
  • Possessing or using controlled substances as defined by federal, state, and local statutes. (Controlled substances may be taken pursuant to a properly issued prescription, provided the controlled substance is taken as and in the amount prescribed.)
  • Distributing, selling, or possessing with the intent to distribute illegal or controlled substances, as defined by federal, state, and local statutes.
  • Possessing or using drug paraphernalia (including but not limited to pipes, bongs, etc.)
  • Being under the influence of illegal or controlled substances as demonstrated by actions and/or other evidence.
  • Growing and/or manufacturing any illegal substance.

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Registration and Catering

University recognized student organizations may apply to sponsor functions at which alcohol is served under the following regulations:

  • Sponsors must apply for approval and register any on-campus event by completing and submitting an alcohol event registration form 30 days in advance of the event. This form is available through the Department of Student Life.
  • Sponsors must obtain the approval from the appropriate campus offices.
    • For events held in dining halls, or outdoor space contiguous to residence hall facilities, sponsors must obtain approval from the Department of Residential Life (Robinson Hall).
    • For events held outdoors or in other campus buildings, sponsors must obtain approval from the Department of Student Life (Billings).
    • For events held on the Fort Ethan Allen Campus, sponsors must obtain approval from the Apartments and Family Housing Office (Building 503).
  • Sponsors are responsible for the behavior of those attending the function.
  • Sponsors must cooperate with the caterer in establishing means by which only individuals of legal age are allowed to consume alcohol.
  • Sponsors must assume all financial costs (custodial, security, damages, etc.) associated with the event. Non-alcoholic beverages and food must also be provided in sufficient quantity and quality that individuals attending the event have adequate food and beverage alternatives.
  • After an event has been properly registered, sponsors must secure the services of University Dining Services as the licensed caterer for all on-campus social events involving alcohol.

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Publicity, Advertising, Marketing, and Promotion

  • Officially recognized student organizations of the University must not enter into any promotional agreements or advertising agreements with alcohol beverage distributors/companies or their agents.
  • Only on-campus events which are properly registered and at which alcohol is served by the licensed caterer may be advertised on campus.
  • The sponsoring organization is responsible for any publicity, advertising, marketing, or promotion that is disseminated in conjunction with the event and must ensure adherence to the following guidelines:
    • Alcohol must not be the primary focus in any publicity.
    • Advertisements must avoid demeaning sexual or discriminatory portrayals of individuals.
    • Promotion must not encourage misuse nor place emphasis on quantity or frequency of alcohol use.
    • Advertising must subscribe to the philosophy of low risk and legal use of alcohol.
    • Drinking of alcohol must not be portrayed as contributing to the personal, academic, or social success of students or individuals.
    • Alcohol must not be associated with the performance of tasks that require skilled reaction, such as the operation of a motor vehicle or machinery

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Health Risks Associated with Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use

The excessive use of alcohol, improper use of controlled substances and use of illicit drugs pose significant health risks to individuals, including addiction, permanent injury and death. Among those risks are the following: impairment of reflexes making the operation of vehicles or machinery dangerous; short and long-term effects from mixing alcohol with over-the-counter or prescription medications, which may include permanent damage to organs or death; negative impacts on social and emotional well-being and on education and employment; birth defects if you are pregnant; long-term health problems including liver disease, heart disease, increased risk of cancer and pancreatitis. Additional information on the health risks associated with the excessive use of alcohol and use of controlled substances may be obtained at the Center for Health and Wellbeing.

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The enforcement of community standards is a shared responsibility of all community members:

The Department of Police Services, as agents of the University and commissioned law enforcement officers of the State of Vermont, will investigate any violations of federal and state statutes and/or University regulations. The police officers' law enforcement authority, pursuant to 16 VSA section 2283, is statewide.

Faculty, staff, and students should intervene as appropriate when observing violations of the Alcohol and Other Drug Policy. In addition, Residential Life staff must respond in any residential area, including student rooms, when it is apparent that there are violations of the Alcohol and Other Drug Policy or when behavior infringes on the rights of others or may affect the health and safety of members of the community.

Alleged violations of this policy may be referred for appropriate discipline to Residential Life Staff, to the University Center for Student Ethics and Standards and/or to appropriate law enforcement agencies. Students found responsible for violation of this policy face a range of disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or permanent separation from the University, in addition to potential criminal sanctions.

Because of the significant costs of responding to alcohol intoxication, students who are taken into protective custody will be subject to a 'transport fine' which will be billed to the student's account. Being dangerously intoxicated is a violation of University policy and will be referred to the University judicial system for disciplinary procedures. Repeated instances of dangerous intoxication may result in dismissal.

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Last modified February 17 2009 08:38 PM

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