C.7. Alcohol and Other Drugs

September 4, 2018


Middlebury is committed to promoting individual and community health, safety, and responsibility. We require all students and employees to observe local, state, and federal laws governing the possession, use, and furnishing of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances, also referred to as illegal drugs, and failure to do so is prohibited. We are also committed to ensuring that, in accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Community Act of 1989 and the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations, our policies concerning alcohol and drugs contain clear statements about: (1) the standards of conduct prohibiting the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs and alcohol by students and employees; (2) that Middlebury will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees who violate these policies (consistent with local, state, and federal law); (3) the applicable legal sanctions under local, state, or federal law for the unlawful possession or distribution of illegal drugs and alcohol; and (4) health risks and information regarding drug or alcohol counseling, treatment or rehabilitation, or reentry programs that are available to students and employees. When alcohol violations occur, disciplinary sanctions will be imposed in accordance with this policy. Serious incidents that put a student or others at risk of harm, as well as repeated offenses, may require a more vigorous response, including referral to counseling or a treatment facility, a leave of absence, and/or disciplinary outcomes as appropriate.

Therefore, Middlebury will:

a. Inform students and employees of federal, state, and local laws, and Middlebury policies, to which they are accountable, and hold them accountable to those policies under Middlebury’s governance;

b. Encourage an environment of enriching extracurricular and social opportunities that includes substance-free events and appropriate venues for students of legal age who choose to drink;

c. Educate members of the community through academic and student life programs and policies about the health risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse and refer students and employees to resources and health services such as drug or alcohol counseling, treatment or rehabiltation, or reentry programs that are availble to students and employees, as applicable.

Middlebury Policies and Local, State, and Federal Law
All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are subject to local, state, and federal laws, as well as Middlebury drug and alcohol policy rules and regulations, while on Middlebury-owned or -leased properties or involved with off-campus activities sponsored by Middlebury or a registered Middlebury organization. Middlebury does not protect students or employees from prosecution for drug or alcohol offenses under local, state, or federal laws, and does not interfere with legitimate law enforcement activities. Law enforcement officers may have a legal right to search individuals, and with consent or proper documentation may search property—including residences owned or leased by Middlebury —without prior notice. Middlebury also reserves the right to furnish the police with information regarding alleged illegal activities.

Middlebury College Specific: In order to preserve the safety of our residents, the state of Vermont and the College both adhere to policies that limit disciplinary consequences under certain circumstances when appropriate care is sought for individuals in drug- or alcohol-related distress. Please see the Good Samaritan Policy below for more information. Additionally, if student health and safety concerns resulting from a student’s use of alcohol and/or drugs arise, parents or guardians may be notified. See Health and Community Responsibility below for more information.

The following actions are prohibited:

a. Underage drinking. Only persons of legal age (21 or older in the United States, and as defined by the laws of a foreign host country) may possess or consume alcoholic beverages. Legal proof of age, such as a valid driver’s license, state-issued liquor identification card, or passport may be required.

b. Purchasing, serving, or furnishing alcohol for/to a minor.

c. Selling, manufacturing, or distributing alcohol illegally.

d. Possession, production, or provision of false ID.

e. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Driving on or off campus under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited. Fines are assessed, and driving privileges on campus will be suspended. Students who are charged by law enforcement officers with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and are awaiting the court outcome shall have their campus driving privileges suspended pending the court disposition. In those incidents where the DUI involves an accident with injuries to others, or other exceptional factors, immediate disciplinary action may take place.

f. Bringing alcohol to a Middlebury event, or leaving a Middlebury event with alcoholic beverages provided at the event without approval.

g. Possessing alcoholic beverages in unauthorized spaces. Open containers of alcohol are prohibited in public spaces, or outside on the campus grounds, unless the area has been designated for a registered or catered event.

h. Engaging in drinking games and other behaviors designed for the purpose of becoming intoxicated through the abusive use of alcohol (e.g., funnels, keg stands, “around-the-world” parties, and other alcohol consumption based on speed and/or volume, etc.).

i. Administering alcohol to individuals against their will and/or without their knowledge.

j. Repeated unsafe intoxication.

k. Middlebury-College Specific: The following actions are specificially prohibited at Middlebury College:

  1. Violating party regulations. Party regulations may be found in the office of the Dean of Students and the Department of Public Safety, and at go/party. Small, informal gatherings held in individual rooms, suites, and small houses occupied by students of legal age, at which alcoholic beverages are consumed, do not have to be registered. Residents of the living space will be treated as "party hosts," and held responsible for the actions of individuals in attendance. Students are responsible for unregistered gatherings and related activities that occur in their rooms, whether or not they are present.

  2. For purposes of this policy, residential hallways are normally considered private spaces. Students of legal age may transport open alcohol containers for personal use within residence halls, but the use of hallways for parties is prohibited. Individual Commons may designate certain spaces in residence halls as senior commons rooms; these spaces will be considered private.

  3. Possession of alcohol in first-year residence halls.

  4. Possession of kegs or common containers. Possession by students of kegs or common containers (e.g., punch bowls) without advance party registration with the appropriate office (see go/party) is prohibited. Unauthorized kegs or common containers will be confiscated, along with taps, and the Department of Public Safety will return confiscated kegs and taps to the vendor.

  5. Multiple instances involving assignment to a sober friend, and single or multiple instances involving alcohol/drug-related transport to the hospital and/or to detoxification facilities may also result in disciplinary action, consistent with the Good Samaritan policy (below).

The following actions are prohibited:

a. Using or possessing illegal drugs or controlled substances, including but not limited to prescription medication without a properly issued prescription.

b. Misuse of legal substances to cause impairment/hallucination.

c. Possession of drug paraphernalia that has been used.

d. Growing, manufacturing, distributing, or selling illegal drugs or controlled substances, including prescription drugs, with or without the intent to distribute.

e. Administering drugs to individuals against their will and/or without their knowledge.

Disciplinary Sanctions: Students

Responses to Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy Violations

Student wellness and overall health inform the College’s responses to the use of alcohol and other drugs. As such, the primary goal of the conduct system is to educate and engage students by providing information, tools, and space for facilitated reflection. The College utilizes evidence-based educational opportunities to support informed decision making regarding students’ personal and academic success, as informed by Middlebury’s Community Standards, listed below.

  • Cultivating respect and responsibility for self, others, and our shared environment;
  • Encouraging personal and intellectual courage and growth;
  • Manifesting integrity and honesty in all decisions and actions;
  • Promoting healthy, safe, and balanced lifestyles; and
  • Fostering a diverse and inclusive community committed to civility, open-mindedness and finding common ground.

To address concerning behaviors, students will complete an educational sanction designed to help them understand the effects of alcohol and other drugs on their mind, body and community, and to reflect on their individual goals and values. Failure to complete educational sanctions will result in an additional charge of failure to engage and may affect the student’s current or future standing at Middlebury. Repeated documented incidents will result in a probationary period for students. Once a student has exhausted the educational interventions available to them through the College or refuses to engage in educational intervention methods, the student will, in effect, jeopardize their ability to remain a student in the College and will likely face discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion.

Sanctions for Students in the Undergraduate Program at Middlebury's Vermont Campus
The educational sanctions chart provides a general outline of expected outcomes when incidents involving alcohol and other drugs occur, with the following important caveats:

1. The outcomes reflected in this chart assume that the policy indicated is the only policy violated in the incident of concern. Where more than one policy has been violated in an incident, or the student has a prior history of conduct violations, students may expect more severe outcomes.

2. Outcomes may vary depending on the nature, severity, and impact, actual or potential, of the policy violation(s) and the student’s conduct and health history.

3. The range of possible disciplinary sanctions is set forth and defined in the General Disciplinary Processes under “Sanctions” and, depending on the severity of the conduct, may also include referral for prosecution (as determined by the state’s attorney or other appropriate officials) and/or the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program.

Sanctions for Students at Middlebury's Language Schools, Schools Abroad, Bread Loaf, School of the Environment and MiddCORE Summer Programs
Disciplinary sanctions for students enrolled in Middlebury programs other than the undergraduate program (e.g., Language Schools, Schools Abroad, Bread Loaf School of English, MiddCORE Summer program) will be issued in accordance with the disciplinary procedures applicable to the program in which the student is enrolled at the time of the incident. Sanctions may include warnings, reprimands, probationary status, a letter of official college discipline, suspension or expulsion (see also Sanctions). The disciplinary officials in those programs may, in their discretion, issue sanctions in accordance with the general outline of expected outcomes in the Sanctions chart referenced above (including educational outcomes).

Sanctions for Students at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Disciplinary sanctions for students who violate this policy will be imposed in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Student Conduct Disciplinary Process. While discipline is cumulative at the Institute, which may mean the assignment of greater sanctions for repeated or accumulated violations, it is not progressive. That is, depending on the severity of the violation, a student may receive any sanction, even for a first offense. Outcomes may vary depending on the nature, severity, and impact, actual or potential, of any of the violations and the student's conduct and health history. Sanctions could also include referral to an educational or rehabilitation program. 

The range of possible sanctions is set forth and defined in the "Sanctions" section of the Student Conduct Disciplinary Process and, depending on the severity of the conduct, may also include referral for prosecution (as determined by the state's attorney or other appropriate officials) and/or the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program. These sanctions are defined in the Student Conduct Disciplinary process and include a warning, reprimand, probation, loss of privileges, fines, restitution, discretionary sanctions, suspension, expulsion, and revocation of admission and/or degree. The Institute may also temporarily withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in the Student Conduct Disciplinary Process, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any. More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation. For more information regarding sanctions, please see the Student Conduct Disciplinary Process.

Good Samaritan Policy
Middlebury’s Good Samaritan Policy is intended to encourage students to seek swift medical assistance for themselves and others without fear of penalty. Our primary concern is the health and safety of our students. We urge students not only to take care of their own well-being, but to behave in an equally responsible way with their peers.

There may be times when safety concerns arise from a student’s excessive drinking or drug use, and in these situations, students should not hesitate to seek help from the Student Life/Services staff, Public Safety/Campus Security, medical or counseling professionals, and/or local or state police out of fear of disciplinary action. Under this Good Samaritan Policy, neither the student in distress nor the student or organization seeking assistance will ordinarily be subject to disciplinary action for the possession, provision, or consumption of drugs or alcohol.

This policy refers to isolated incidents only, and does not excuse or protect those who flagrantly or repeatedly violate the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy, nor does it preclude disciplinary action arising from violations of other Middlebury policies. However, in cases involving additional policy violations, Middlebury will consider the positive impact of reporting an incident as well as the health and safety needs of the involved student(s) when determining the appropriate course of action.

This policy cannot protect students from action by law enforcement personnel, but it is consistent with laws enacted by Vermont and California that provide limited immunity from prosecution to a witness or victim of a drug or alcohol overdose who seeks medical assistance to save the life of an overdose victim. For more information about the Vermont statute, please see 18 V.S.A. § 4254. For more information about the California law, please see HSC §11376.5.

Disciplinary Sanctions: Faculty and Staff
Disciplinary sanctions for faculty and staff will be imposed under Middlebury’s and the Institute's established disciplinary practices and procedures for members of the faculty and staff, as applicable. Disciplinary sanctions may include written warnings, written reprimands, completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program, termination of employment, and/or referral for prosecution (depending on the severity of the conduct). See also the following:

Employee Code of Conduct

Progressive Discipline


Faculty Misconduct

Middlebury Institute Employee Handbook

Middlebury Institute Faculty Handbook

Health and Community Responsibility
Middlebury believes that alcohol and other drug-related problems affect our entire community and that each of us has a responsibility to help safeguard the community health by respecting policy and intervening in situations of abuse. Any member of the Middlebury community having knowledge of an individual on campus who is abusing alcohol or in possession of or using illegal drugs, or misusing legal substances to cause impairment/hallucination, is urged to encourage the individual to seek counseling and/or medical assistance. All members of the community are also expected to help protect the community health by informing appropriate staff members of instances of alcohol and/or drug misuse, distribution, and/or sales.

Involvement with or dependency upon drugs or excessive or illegal use of alcohol is viewed by Middlebury as a health concern as well as a disciplinary matter. Any time a dean, staff member, faculty member or appropriate supervisory authority has reasonable concerns that a student’s health is being compromised by alcohol or other drug use (even in cases where no concrete evidence or direct witness is involved), an educational and/or preventative response, such as a group class, online course, BASICs course, substance use assessment, referral to support resources, or other appropriate course of action may be required.

Middlebury College Specific: In addition, the dean or appropriate supervisory authority may notify the student’s parents or guardian of concerns about the student’s drug or alcohol use.

Laws and Resources 
For information specific to state and federal laws governing the use, possession, and distribution of drugs and alcohol, as well as additional counseling and treatment resources and information related to health risks associated with the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol, see 

Middlebury's Annual Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Notice

Middlebury Institute's Annual Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Notice