Policy on Alcohol and Illicit Drugs

St. Olaf College desires to have a campus free of alcohol and illicit drugs and to operate all of its academic and co-curricular programs accordingly. It does so out of the conviction that this freedom will: a) enhance the atmosphere for study, learning, growth, work and wellness; b) support members of the community affected by or concerned with the abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs; c) respect the decisions of those who choose not to use alcohol or illicit drugs; and d) promote a caring environment.

Since we recognize that members of the community may, within applicable federal, state and local law, choose to use alcohol, St. Olaf College will actively educate the members of the campus community about alcohol and drugs and provide help for those affected by substance abuse problems. In addition, the college will provide social activities which do not rely on alcohol or illicit drugs and will maintain a supportive climate for those who choose not to use these substances.

Policy Statement

The possession, distribution or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on the St. Olaf campus, on land owned by the college, and in student residence halls and houses.

St. Olaf prohibits the unlawful possession, distribution or use of illicit drugs and/or controlled substances on any property owned by the college or in any program or activity sponsored by the college in any location.

Anyone violating college policy regarding alcohol, illicit drugs and/or controlled substances will be subject to disciplinary action.

Implementation Guidelines

Students who choose to violate the alcohol policy by hosting or attending a gathering where alcohol is served, can expect that consequences will follow. Most disciplinary situations will be handled within the residence hall via an informal hearing with the area coordinator. Some cases may be delegated to the Dean of Students Office or other administrative hearing body. Types of violation and expected consequences are as follows:

Level I (First-time, less serious violations)

Computer-based educational program at student expense.

  • Attending alcohol information session.
  • Restitution and apology to affected persons.
  • Behavioral contract.
  • Other sanctions as appropriate.

Please note that students may receive a lesser sanction if it is determined they were present and aware of the activity when an alcohol policy violation took place, but were not hosting the gathering, possessing or consuming alcohol. Although still a violation of the stated alcohol policy, the college recognizes the positive choice of students to abstain from alcohol use.

Level II (Repeated or more serious first-time violations)

  • Referral to Wellness Center for individual meeting with the Assistant Director of Wellness and Health Promotion.
  • Confidential notification of parents, academic advisor, athletic coach, co- curricular program directors or others as appropriate.
  • Possible residence hall probation (further violation can result in reassignment of housing).
  • Other sanctions appropriate to violation.
  • Co-curricular suspension

Level III (Most serious violations, including keg parties or flagrant violations of policy, serving underage people, abuse of or non-cooperation with college staff or repeated violations)

  • Referral to dean of students office.
  • Referral for alcohol screening or assessment.
  • Residence hall probation.
  • Reassignment or cancellation of housing.
  • Monetary fines.
  • Suspension from the college.
  • Other sanctions appropriate to violation.

Depending on the circumstances, Level I, II or III sanctions may be implemented at any time and in any order. Also, it may be assumed that these sanction guidelines will apply to disciplinary incidents not involving alcohol.

Co-curricular suspensions can be of indeterminate length, depending on the severity of the violation. In such instances, students may continue to attend class, labs, and study in the library; they may eat meals in the Cafeteria or Cage, and take care of normal administrative functions related to being a student. However, students fulfilling a co-curricular suspension may not participate in athletics, club or intramural sports, music groups or organizations, clubs or organizations or social events sponsored by the college.

Other things to note about the alcohol policy and consequences for violation:

  • Students may not have empty alcohol containers in their rooms in the residence halls. If found, empty containers will be considered a violation by themselves and will be considered when determining the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • The alcohol policy applies to music organizations, athletic teams, international and domestic studies programs, and all other college-sponsored student activities that take place off the St. Olaf campus. Violations of these policies may affect the students’ ability to participate in the activity. Guidelines for implementation will be available in each particular office.
  • Students who refuse to meet with staff or judicial bodies to discuss policy violations or who do not complete assigned sanctions in a timely and proscribed manner are subject to additional sanctions. These can include increased community service hours, monetary fines, probation or suspension from the residence halls until the matter is resolved.
  • Disciplinary records are cumulative and sanctions can carry from year to year. Students who have specific sanctions which have carried over from the previous year will be notified upon their return to campus.

Medical Exception

The health and safety of students is of great importance to the entire St. Olaf community. When drug or alcohol consumption causes medical emergencies, the potential for disciplinary action can delay and/or deter students from seeking needed medical assistance. To address this concern, St. Olaf created an “exception” to its Code of Conduct procedures when a student seeks medical attention for over-consumption of alcohol or drugs.

Students who are eligible for Medical Exception will not be sanctioned through the Code of Conduct for possession or use of drugs or alcohol if the College learned of the conduct as a result of the student obtaining medical assistance and/or the student seeking medical assistance for someone else in distress. In lieu of sanction, consequences may still include:

Medical Exception is intended to assist students who need medical attention. If a student has prior alcohol or drug incidents, and has utilized Medical Exception in the past, the request for a Medical Exception will be evaluated by the Dean of Students, and/or the Associate/Assistant Dean of Students. Repeated situations will be addressed after meetings with the Dean of Students and/or Associate/Assistant Dean of Students.

Individuals who make the call to get medical assistance for an intoxicated student will not face sanctions under the Code of Conduct for use or possession of drugs or alcohol.  Other violations of the Code, such as providing alcohol to minors, assault, property damage, and distribution of illicit substances, will not be excused as a Medical Exception. The Medical Exception Policy does not prevent action by any law enforcement agencies/personnel, coaches, ensemble directors, or other third parties.

The Medical Exception policy helps students who need medical assistance due to alcohol or drugs, and to provide an opportunity to learn how to make responsible, safe and healthy decisions about their own personal limits.  It also allows friends and bystanders to seek help for people needing medical attention without the concern of sanction.

Use and Possession of Other Drugs

The college considers the use, possession, distribution or sale of illegal drugs (including the possession of drug paraphernalia) as contrary to the welfare of the college community. To provide for the above stated violations, the following procedures shall serve as a general guideline:

Distribution and/or Sale of Illegal Drugs

A student who distributes or sells illegal drugs will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from St.Olaf College.

Use and Possession of Illegal Drugs

A student who uses or possesses illegal drugs or paraphernalia will be subject to immediate referral to the Counseling Center and may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from St.Olaf College.

Conduct at Public Events

For reasons of public safety and public relations, the use of drugs, including alcohol, is prohibited at public events on campus, and smoking at public events is limited to places specifically designated.

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