C.7. Alcohol and Other Drugs

Updated on: August 25, 2017


Middlebury is committed to promoting individual and community health, safety, and responsibility. We expect 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 have 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 that clearly prohibit 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 role of alcohol and drugs in our society, safe and responsible decisions around alcohol consumption, and the negative individual and community consequences of abuse; and

d. Where appropriate, provide educational and health services to students who choose to use alcohol or drugs, who experience negative consequences, or who violate the commitment to individual and community safety.

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 Middlebury residence hall rooms—without prior notice. Middlebury also reserves the right to furnish the police with information regarding alleged illegal activities.

In order to preserve the safety of our residents, the state of Vermont and Middlebury 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. 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.

g. Bringing alcohol to a Middlebury event, or leaving a Middlebury event with alcoholic beverages provided at the event.

h. 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. 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.

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

j. 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.

k. 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.).

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

m. Repeated unsafe intoxication. 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

Alcohol Citation System
Middlebury issues written alcohol citations to underage students found to be in possession of alcohol. The citation system allows Middlebury to gather data and respond to underage student alcohol possession as soon as it comes to our attention. A citation itself is not a disciplinary sanction, but receipt of one will result in a sanction and/or other health-related response as set forth below. Please see “Responses to Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy Violations” below for more information on what it means to receive a citation.

Responses to Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy Violations
Middlebury’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy is not only designed to adhere to local, state, and federal laws, but to preserve 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.

Student misuse and abuse of alcohol and other drugs, and/or failure to adhere to the laws and policies designed to support individual and community safety, can directly and indirectly jeopardize these standards. Middlebury’s response to these violations is therefore designed to support these standards by holding students accountable for their actions, including reflections of individual and community risk and impact, as appropriate; and providing resources to students to allow them to carefully consider their goals and actions and address their health-related needs.

The Sanctions chart provides a general outline of expected outcomes when alcohol and other drug violations 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. Although this chart reflects the likely outcomes based on the receipt of alcohol citations, alcohol violations that did not include the issuance of citations may also result in these outcomes.

3. While discipline is cumulative at Middlebury, 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.

4. Because hard alcohol has been shown to correlate strongly with serious health risks, as well as negative impact on the community, the consequences for hard alcohol-related violations will normally begin at the second offense/citation level outlined below.

5. Outcomes may vary depending on the nature, severity, and impact, actual or potential, of any of the violations below and the student’s conduct and health history.

6. References below to referrals to the JAO (Judicial Affairs Officer) indicate that the matter will either be adjudicated through the Disposition Without Hearing (DWH) process or by the Community Judicial Board. For more information about these options, please see General Disciplinary Processes. If a violation of this policy is established through the DWH process or by the Community Judicial Board, sanctions will be imposed. The range of possible sanctions are listed 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.

7. 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).

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 staff, Public Safety, 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 a law enacted by Vermont in June 2013 that provides 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 this act, please see 18 V.S.A. § 4254.

Disciplinary Sanctions: Faculty and Staff
Disciplinary sanctions for faculty and staff will be imposed under Middlebury’s established disciplinary practices and procedures for members of the faculty and staff. 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

Employee Handbook (8.2 Progressive Discipline)

Employee Handbook (9.3 Discharge)

Faculty Misconduct

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 Middlebury 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 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, or other appropriate course of action may be required. 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.