Alcohol and Other Drugs Policies

Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy

(updated May 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. Bringing alcohol to a Middlebury or Bread Loaf event, or leaving a Middlebury or Bread Loaf event with alcoholic beverages provided at the event. Only alcohol served at a Middlebury/Bread Loaf sponsored event is permitted at those events.

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. 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. 

h. Possession of kegs or common containers. Possession of kegs or common containers (e.g., punch bowls) is prohibited. Unauthorized kegs or common containers will be confiscated along with taps, and confiscated kegs and taps will be returned to the vendor.

i. 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.).

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

k. 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

Disciplinary sanctions for students who violate this policy will be imposed in accordance with the “Disciplinary Action” section of the Handbook. Disciplinary sanctions may include warnings, reprimands, fines or restitution, probationary status, official discipline, suspension, expulsion and/or referral for prosecution (depending on the severity of the conduct). 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.

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 director or assistant director, 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 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 Drugs and Alcohol: Policies, Laws, and Resources.

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, 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, as applicable:

Employee Code of Conduct

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 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.

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.