Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy
Students are responsible for knowing the following:
Occidental College's Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy complies with the requirements set forth by the Drug-Free Schools and Community Act Amendments of 1989. This act requires the College to certify its compliance with the regulations, and that it has adopted and implemented an alcohol and drug prevention program to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by all students and employees both on school premises and as part of any of its activities.
The Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy provides members of the Occidental College Community with the standards of conduct regarding the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol, controlled substances and marijuana; legal sanctions under local, state, federal law as well as College sanctions; and information regarding health risks and treatment services for substance abuse. This Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy was revised during the academic year of 2012-2013 and is effective fall 2013.
Occidental College is committed to providing a safe campus environment conducive to intellectual growth and personal development. Occidental respects the rights of community members to exercise their legal options regarding alcohol consumption. Each member must make informed decisions regarding personal use of alcohol that reflect a respect for others and the community at large. Members of Occidental College are subject to and must abide by California State Law regarding the possession, consumption, and distribution of drugs and alcohol. Relevant sections of these statutes are summarized below.
The Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy applies to all students and student groups associated with the Occidental College community. Members of the Occidental community are considered adults and are thus expected to comply with the laws regarding alcoholic beverages and to take personal responsibility for their conduct.
Violations of the policies outlined in the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy will result in disciplinary action by the College and possible criminal prosecution. Such action may involve a sanction or combination of sanctions that may include but not be limited to: educational programs, letter of warning, censure, disciplinary probation, suspension, and permanent separation from the College.
A committee will review this policy every two years.
II. Alcohol Policy
Section A: Occidental Expectations of Behavior
Occidental College recognizes that alcohol can be consumed in a responsible and legal manner and has identified expectations of behavior that support the safe and legal consumption of alcohol. Any student who consumes alcohol retains responsibility for any violation of the College’s Code of Student Conduct. The Dean of Students Office is responsible for the clarification, interpretation and implementation of the alcohol policy.
- Under Age Students: Students under the age of 21 may not possess or consume alcohol. A state of intoxication implies consumption.
- Behavior: Behavior that results from the use of alcohol may not disrupt the community of the residence halls, campus or surrounding environment. Students of legal age who use alcohol must do so in a way that does not compromise the rights and safety of others.
- Dry Residence Halls: Alcohol may not be possessed or consumed, regardless of a student’s age, at any time in the following buildings - Newcomb Hall, Pauley Hall, Stewart-Cleland (Stewie) Hall, Braun Hall, and Chilcott Hall.
- Possession of Alcohol: Alcohol, including open containers, is not permitted in any common area of the residence halls. Possession of open containers, including empty bottles used as decoration, by anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited. Students of age who are not living in dry residence halls may store alcohol in their room.
- Irresponsible Use of Alcohol: Organized drinking games or items used for the purpose of quick or mass consumption of alcohol are prohibited. Public intoxication and events where there is pressure or an expectation to consume excessive amounts of alcohol are prohibited.
- Providing of Alcohol: Providing alcohol to underage individuals is prohibited. Hosts are responsible for their guests’ alcohol consumption.
- Serving Alcohol: Any student-sponsored event where alcohol is being served must follow Office of Student Life protocol (see Campus Events Coordinated by Students Policy). Serving alcohol to intoxicated persons or underage students is prohibited. Bulk containers, kegs, or any alcohol dispensing-device requiring a tap are not permitted on campus with the exception of a registered event with a licensed bartender present.
- Sale of Alcoholic Beverages: The unlicensed sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. This includes the selling of tickets to events where alcoholic beverages are provided, charging admission or accepting donations for any activity involving alcohol. Also, a student organization may not use College funds to purchase or provide alcohol at its social events, either on or off campus.
- Driving under the influence: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol is prohibited.
- Off-Campus: Students who demonstrate that they are unable or unwilling to abide by College policy, federal, state, or city laws and ordinances, in addition to risking arrest, are subject to disciplinary action from the College.
Section B: California State Alcoholic Beverage Laws and Penalties
All colleges must abide by state and local laws and all campus policies reflect the application of law to college life. The laws of the State of California specify that people under the age of 21 may not consume, possess or distribute alcohol. In addition, it is unlawful for any person to sell, furnish or give any alcoholic beverage to anyone under the age of 21. Minors who use false identification in order to obtain alcoholic beverages are guilty of a misdemeanor. In compliance with state and local laws, Occidental prohibits the illegal use of alcohol on College property and as part of any College-sponsored activity.
Occidental does not shield its students from the law or from the consequences of their own behavior. Violations of California law, even within regularly scheduled College facilities, occur at the risk of the individuals and are not the responsibility of the College. The College does not, cannot, and should not serve as a haven from law enforcement agencies.
California laws regarding the use of alcoholic beverages are highlighted here. The laws are abbreviated for general use and may not cover all situations. It is the responsibility of the server or consumer of alcoholic beverages to be aware of, and abide by, all state and local ordinances.
Most common offenses and penalties are:
- Open Container Age 21: Possession of an open container of alcohol on public streets, sidewalks, highways, parking lots or alleys can result in a $108 fine (California Business And Professions Code section 25620 (a)).
- Minor in Possession (MIP): Any person under the age of 21 years who has any alcoholic beverage in his/her possession on any street or highway or in any public place or in any place open to the public is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of $250 or the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours or more than 32 hours of community service hours (California Business and Professions Code section 25662 (a)).
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher or driving under the influence of a drug or combination of both is a misdemeanor with possible fines of upwards of $7,000, county prison sentence, and driver's license suspension (California Vehicle Code sections 23152 (a) & (b)).
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) While Under Age 21: Drivers under 21 with a BAC of .01 or higher can have their vehicles towed and driver's license suspended, and be sentenced to not less than 96 hours in jail nor more than six months, and completion of an alcohol program and three years probation (California Vehicle Code sections 23136 and 23140).
- Cycling Under the influence (CUI): Bicycling under the influence (.08 BAC or higher) can result in jail sentencing and a base fine of $250. Riders under 21 may also lose their driver's license for one year (California Vehicle Code section 21200.5).
- Providing False Identification: Attempting to purchase alcohol using false identification can result in jail time and a minimum fine of $200 (California Business and Professions Code section 25661).
- Under 21 Purchase of Alcohol: Any person under the age of 21 years who purchases any alcoholic beverage or any person under the age of 21 years who consumes any alcoholic beverage in any on-sale premises (e.g., bar or licensed club or restaurant) is guilty of a misdemeanor (California Business and Professions Code section 25658(b)).
- Selling Alcohol without a License: is a misdemeanor (California Business and Professions Code section 23301).
- Drunk in Public (DIP): Public intoxication is considered disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor offense and can result in jail time and a fine (California Penal Code section 647(f)).
- Furnishing Alcohol to a Person Under 21 or an Intoxicated Person: Selling or furnishing alcohol to a person under 21 or to an obviously intoxicated person is a misdemeanor (California Business and Professions Code section 25658).
III. Drug Policy
Federal and state statutes specify that persons involved in the use, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs* are liable to criminal action, including arrest, fine, and imprisonment. Occidental fully supports these laws by prohibiting the possession, use, sale, and/or distribution of illegal drugs on campus.
* "Illegal Drugs" refers to "Controlled Substances" as defined in Schedules I through V, section 22 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. Section 812) and also found in the Health and Safety Code Section 11054-11058.
Section A: General Guidelines
- As a general rule, law enforcement agencies are disposed to permit an educational institution to handle the illegal use of drugs by students according to its own disciplinary policies and procedures, on the assumption that the College will deal with such problems effectively and responsibly. However, the College cannot deny the Los Angeles Police Department or federal or state narcotics officers the right of access to the campus or entry to College buildings for the purpose of investigating the illegal use or sale of drugs.
- In circumstances where it becomes evident that the College is unable to contain the use of drugs or drug paraphernalia, and in specific cases where members of the College community, guests or visitors, may be involved in the sale or distribution of illegal drugs, the College will request outside assistance to protect the integrity of the institution.
- Students who use drugs or drug paraphernalia inevitably implicate the College in illegal actions and thus invite intervention; disciplinary action by the College is not necessarily precluded.
Section B: Occidental Expectations of Behavior
- Substance Use: The use, abuse, sale, manufacturing, possession and/or distribution of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia is prohibited. Distribution is not limited to a cash exchange. This includes any student who provides, shares, jointly purchases, or otherwise makes available any of the above substances to others.
- Pharmaceuticals and other Substances: The abuse, sale, and/or distribution of over-the-counter, prescription drugs, or other substances is prohibited. This includes use of the drug/substance for anything aside from its intended purpose, by someone other than the intended recipient, and in a dosage other than the prescribed. Any student who sells, provides, shares or otherwise makes available prescription pharmaceuticals to another person may be found responsible for violating the Occidental drug policy. Distribution is not limited to a cash exchange. This includes any student who provides, shares, jointly purchases, or otherwise makes available any of the above substances to others.
- In presence of controlled substances: Students who are in the presence of such activities/items as outlined above may also face disciplinary action.
- Medical marijuana: The College does not allow exceptions to this drug policy including the possession or use of marijuana for medical purposes, even if it otherwise meets the qualifications of the California Compassionate Use Act. Occidental does not recognize documented compassionate use on campus after a student's use and/or possession is discovered. Students who believe they may be adversely affected by this policy may contact the Dean of Students Office for more information.
Section C: Drug Offenses and Penalties
The Federal Controlled Substances Act provides penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment and fines up to $25,000 for unlawful distribution or possession with intent to distribute illegal drugs. For the unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a person is subject to up to one year of imprisonment and fines up to $5,000. Any person who unlawfully distributes a controlled substance to a person under twenty-one years of age may be punished by up to twice the term of imprisonment and fined otherwise authorized by law.
The unlawful use, possession, distribution, manufacturing, or dispensing of illegal drugs is prohibited by Occidental College. Criminal Sanctions under California Law for the unlawful possession or distribution of illegal drugs and alcohol include the following:
- Possession of Controlled Substances: Imprisonment in State prison for possession of specified controlled substances, including opium derivatives and cocaine (Health and Safety Code Section 11350).
- Selling of Controlled Substances: Imprisonment in State prison for two to four years for possession or sale of specified controlled substances including opium derivatives and cocaine (Health and Safety Code Section 11351).
- Possession of Marijuana: Possession of less than 25.8 grams of marijuana is subject to a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $100 (Health and Safety Code Section 11357 (b)); Possession of more than 25.8 grams shall be punished by imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of not more than $500, or imprisonment in State prison for possession of concentrated cannabis (Health and Safety Code Section 11357 (a)).
- Possession with Intent to Sell Marijuana: shall be punished by imprisonment in the State prison (Health and Safety Code Section 11359).
- Distribution of Prescription Drugs: it is unlawful for any person who is not a pharmacist to manufacture, compound, furnish, sell, or dispense any dangerous drug or dangerous device, or to dispense or compound any prescription (Business and Professions Code Section 4051 (a)).
- Under the Influence of Controlled Substance: No person shall use or be under the influence of any controlled substance. Any person convicted of violating this is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced to serve a term of not less than 90 days or more than one year in a county jail. (Health and Safety Code Section 11550 (a)).
IV. Medical Amnesty Policy
Occidental College affirms the need for Occidental’s policies and procedures to support the practice of students seeking help during a medical emergency. The inclusion of the medical amnesty clause is an effort to ensure that students’ safety takes priority in the implementation of Occidental’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy.
Under this policy, when a student experiences a physical and/or psychological crisis while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, neither the student in crisis nor the student calling for help will be subject to disciplinary action for personal possession or use of illicit substances, including consumption of alcohol by minors. If an individual seeks such medical attention, the Dean of Students Office will not pursue student conduct action against the student for violations of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy.
In order to receive Medical Amnesty, students must use the policy proactively. This means that a student must take the initiative to get assistance from a Residential Education official (RA or GHC), an Occidental College Campus Safety Officer, or 911 at the time of the incident. Asking for medical amnesty after being confronted for possible alcohol or other drugs policy violations will not result in application of the Medical Amnesty Policy.
After the incident, the student who needed medical attention, as well as the student who sought medical help for the student, will be required to meet with a member of the Dean of Students Office to discuss different ways to make safe choices. In an effort to prevent the recurrence of such a medical emergency and to identify patterns of problematic alcohol and other drugs behavior, the Dean of Students Office will document the incident in a record that remains separate from the student’s permanent disciplinary file.
There is no limit to the number of referrals a student may give or receive. However, being consistent with putting the student’s health and safety first, the College will approach serious or repeated incidents with a higher degree of concern and a high level of intervention. Extreme situations may result in the Dean of Students Office recommending a withdrawal from the College. Students that do not complete educational assignments or treatment recommendations issued under this policy will be faced with disciplinary action consistent with College policy.
The Medical Amnesty Policy should not be abused. This policy does not protect students who are found to be in violation of other Occidental College policies from disciplinary action. Likewise, this policy does not prevent action by police or other law enforcement personnel. The Amnesty Policy does not grant amnesty to possession with intent to distribute drugs.
Application to Student Organizations
In circumstances where an organization is found to be hosting an event where medical assistance is sought for a member or guest, the organization (depending upon the circumstances) may be held responsible for violations of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy through the conduct process. However, the organization's willingness to seek medical assistance for a member or guest will be viewed as a mitigating factor in determining a sanction for any violations of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy. For more information on student groups and organizations, please review this section of the Student Code of Conduct.
V. Parental Notification
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits Occidental College administrators to notify the parents or guardians of students who violate campus alcohol and drug policies. Parents or guardians may also be contacted to inform them of the events surrounding their student's emergency medical transport for treatment or evaluation due to presumed consumption of alcohol and/or controlled substances. Refer to the "Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)" section of the Handbook for more information on this policy.
Last updated August 9, 2013
- Phone: (323) 259-2969