Alcohol and Other Drugs

September, 2015


Middlebury College is committed to promoting individual and community health, safety, and responsibility.  We expect all students 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.  We have also committed to ensuring that, in accordance with the Drug Free Schools and Community Act of 1989, our policies concerning alcohol and drugs are clear, readily understood, and applied consistently and equally to all students.  When alcohol violations occur, students may face disciplinary action.  Serious incidents that put a student or others at risk of harm, as well as repeated offenses, require a more vigorous response, including referral to counseling or a treatment facility, a leave of absence, and/or disciplinary outcomes as appropriate.

Therefore, the College will:

a. Inform students of federal, Vermont, and local laws, and the policies of Middlebury College, to which they are accountable.

b. Encourage an environment of enriching extracurricular and social opportunities that includes substance-free events and healthy 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.

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.

All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are subject to local, state and federal laws, as well as College drug and alcohol policy rules and regulations, while on College-owned or leased properties or involved with off-campus activities sponsored by the College or a registered College organization. The College does not protect students 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 College residence hall rooms—without prior notice.  The College 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 College both adhere to policies that limit disciplinary consequences when appropriate care is sought for individuals in drug- or alcohol-related distress. Please see 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 Safety 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 a passport, may be required.

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

c. Selling, manufacturing, or distributing alcohol illegally.

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

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 College disciplinary action may take place.

f. Violating Middlebury College 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 College event, or leaving a College 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 by students of legal drinking age of kegs or common containers (e.g., punch bowls) in a residential space without advance registration with the Office of the Dean of Students. Unauthorized kegs or common containers will be confiscated along with taps. 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.

Alcohol Citation System

Middlebury’s commitment to student and community health and safety is supported by a response to alcohol infractions that holds students accountable for their actions, and provides resources and support for making safer choices. In addition to the responses to alcohol use noted in the Introduction above, the College issues written alcohol citations to underage students found to be in possession of alcohol. The citation system allows the College to respond to underage student alcohol possession of any kind as soon as it comes to our attention. 

  • First citation. The student receives a letter of warning from the Commons dean, who also provides specific information about Vermont law and College rules and expectations related to alcohol use.
  • Second citation. The student receives a second letter of warning from the Commons dean.
  • Third citation. The student receives a reprimand from the Commons dean. A copy of the reprimand is sent home to families or guardians. The student is required to meet with his or her Commons dean for consultation. Additional educational requirements and/or assessments may be required at the discretion of the Commons dean.

Any additional citations will result in further disciplinary sanctions and/or health-related referrals and/or requirements at the discretion of the Commons dean. These may include parental notification when student health and safety concerns arise; see Health and Community Safety below for more information.

Because hard alcohol has been shown to correlate strongly with serious health risks, as well as negative impact on the community, the consequences for possession of hard alcohol will normally be more severe than those outlined above.

Disciplinary outcomes and/or health and educational requirements  may also result from alcohol policy violations that do not include the issuance of citations. 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.

The following actions are prohibited:

a. Using, or possessing illegal drugs.

b. Using, possessing, selling, distributing or manufacturing prescription medication without a properly issued prescription.

c. Distributing, selling, or possessing with the intent to distribute illegal drugs or controlled substances.

d. Growing and/or manufacturing any illegal substance.

e. Possession of drug paraphernalia that has been used.

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

Middlebury will respond to students who engage in prohibited behavior involving drugs through the General Disciplinary Processes, as well as with health, safety, and educational referrals and requirements, and/or law enforcement involvement, as appropriate.

Health and Community Responsibility
Middlebury College 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 College policy and intervening in situations of abuse. Any member of the College community having knowledge of an individual on campus who is abusing alcohol or in possession of or using illegal drugs 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 College staff members of instances of drug distribution and/or sales.

Involvement with or dependency upon drugs or excessive or illegal use of alcohol is viewed by the College as a health concern, as well as a disciplinary matter.  Any time a Commons dean 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), a drug and/or alcohol consultation or assessment, on or off campus, may be required.  In addition, the dean may notify the student's parents or guardian of concerns about the student's drug or alcohol use.

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 wellbeing, 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 College policy. 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 Drugs and Alcohol: Policies, Laws and Resources.

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 resources, see Drugs and Alcohol: Policies, Laws, and Resources.