Policy for Alcohol and Other Drugs
Emerson is determined to establish and maintain working, living and learning conditions free from the negative effects of alcohol and other drug (AOD) abuse. With this in mind, the College encourages responsible decision-making regarding the use of legal drugs (alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, etc.). The unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit or prescription drugs or alcohol by any student or employee on Emerson College property or as part of or in connection with any College activity is prohibited.
The following information is provided to Emerson students, faculty and staff for compliance with the U.S. Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.
Bear in mind that College officials will not overlook alcohol and drug violations, but we maintain the goal of providing assistance to those individuals who are seeking help with their own use of substances or are seeking help for a friend. This is particularly important in the case of potential alcohol poisoning, a very serious health concern. Emerson’s Good Samaritan Policy allows for an individual to come forward for help without fear of reprisal or adverse disciplinary action. In addition, Emerson provides a range of support services as described below.
- Good Samaritan
- Amnesty for Students who Report Sexual Misconduct
- Signs of Intoxication/Overdose
- Seek Assistance
- Support Resources
- Physical and Psychological Effects of AODs
- How to Know if You or a Friend Has a Problem
- Laws, Regulations & Sanctions
- College Alcohol Policies
- College Tobacco and Smoking Policies
- College Other Drugs Policies
The Emerson College Alcohol and Other Drug Policy contains information on the College’s philosophy regarding alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and abuse by students, faculty, and staff (“the Emerson community”), as well as regulations and sanctions regarding the possession, use, manufacture, distribution, sale, and advertisement of AODs while on Emerson College–owned or leased property or at off-campus, College-sponsored events. In addition, the policy provides AOD-related information about federal, commonwealth, and city laws, regulations, and sanctions; physical and psychological effects of AOD use and abuse; and resources for AOD information, education, and treatment. See Student Life Resources and Policies.
It is a goal of Emerson College to provide a safe, productive, and healthy environment in which all members of the Emerson community can learn, work, and grow from a wealth of different experiences. The College is determined to establish and maintain working, living, and learning conditions that are free from the negative effects of alcohol and other drug abuse. With this in mind, the College encourages responsible decision-making regarding the use of legal drugs (alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, etc.). Emerson College does not condone the use of illegal drugs.
Emerson College recognizes that the misuse or abuse of any drug can be detrimental to the health, safety, learning, and well-being of individuals as well as the Emerson community. Therefore, the College offers substance abuse prevention programs for its students and employees and will identify resources and provide assistance and support for those who have, develop, or are in recovery from problems with AODs.
Good Samaritan Policy
The overarching priority of Emerson College with respect to alcohol and other drugs is to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. The College is committed to providing guidance so that students can learn to develop a responsible approach to social challenges, including whether to use alcohol; how to do so in moderation; and how to comply with local, state, and federal laws governing alcohol consumption. Emerson expects students to abide by laws and College policies regarding alcohol and drug possession and consumption.
For those students who choose to consume alcohol or other drugs, Emerson expects that they do so in moderation and thereby minimize the incidence of alcohol and/or other drug poisoning and alcohol- and/or drug-related injuries. However, the College acknowledges there may be times when students may face medical emergencies involving excessive drinking and/or drug use. In these situations, students are expected to call for assistance (e.g., resident assistant, ECPD, 911) when concerned for their own health or welfare, or that of another student. In order to encourage students to seek prompt and appropriate attention for alcohol or any other drug intoxication, the College has instituted a “Good Samaritan” policy. Emerson’s Good Samaritan policy is applicable to the student requesting medical assistance for oneself, the student seeking medical assistance for another person, and the student for whom medical assistance was sought.
The College values and promotes responsible decision making. When a report clearly documents that a student sought help for themselves or another student, due to excessive alcohol or other drug consumption, the incident will not be referred to the Student Conduct Process as outlined above, since the incident will typically be covered by the Good Samaritan Policy. Upon receipt of a report that a student was acting as a Good Samaritan, the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct (OCSSC) or Office of Housing and Residence Life (OHRL) will reach out to the students involved, which may include the student(s) who sought medical assistance to process the incident. Students contacted are expected to cooperate with any instructions provided by the OCSSC or OHRL. When the Good Samaritan Policy is applied to an incident, there will not be a formal hearing, however students may be required to participate in educational programs designed to help prevent future safety risks. Such programs can include, but is not limited to: CHOICES, “Let’s Be Blunt”, or an ECAPS Substance Abuse Assessment. However, when processing a Good Samaritan incident, the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct will not assign disciplinary fines or sanctions and will not report the incident or any follow up to a student’s parents or guardians. To the extent permitted by FERPA, the College may inform a student’s emergency contact of a student’s transport to a hospital or medical facility for the reported misuse of alcohol or other drugs.
A record of the incident and use of the Good Samaritan Policy will remain on file. Please note that this policy does not excuse or protect those who repeatedly or flagrantly violate the Alcohol and Other Drug Policy. If the Good Samaritan Policy has been applied to a student for a prior incident, the availability of Good Samaritan Policy for a subsequent incident is at the discretion of the Director of Community Standards and Student Conduct or a designee. The Good Samaritan Policy for alcohol or drug violations, however, will not be given to students whose conduct placed the health or safety of any other person at risk.
Amnesty for Students who Report Sexual Misconduct
Emerson College encourages reporting of sexual misconduct and seeks to remove any barriers to reporting by making the procedures for reporting an incident of sexual misconduct (“an incident”) transparent and straightforward. The College recognizes that a student who has been drinking or using drugs at the time of an incident also may be hesitant to make a report because of potential disciplinary consequences for their own conduct. Thus, a student who reports sexual misconduct, either as a complainant or a third-party witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the College for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. The College may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs.
Recognizing Signs of Intoxication/Overdose
If you drink or have friends who drink, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning; it’s not necessary for all of these symptoms to be present before you seek help. Those signs followed by an asterisk may also indicate opiate or sedative/hypnotic drug overdose.
- Confusion, stupor*
- Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths a minute)*
- Irregular breathing*
- Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
- Low body temperature (feels cold and clammy to touch)*
- Unconsciousness (“passing out”)*
- Signs of an amphetamine overdose may include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased temperature/sweating
- Behavior changes indicated by increased anxiety, delirium, or psychosis
A person who is unconscious or can’t be roused is at risk of dying.
Even if you don’t see the classic signs and symptoms, but suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, err on the side of caution and seek immediate medical care. In an emergency, follow these suggestions:
If the person is unconscious, breathing fewer than eight times a minute, or has repeated and uncontrolled vomiting, call 911. Remember that even when someone is unconscious or has stopped drinking, alcohol continues to be released into the bloodstream and the level of alcohol in the body continues to rise. Never assume that a person will “sleep off” alcohol poisoning.
Don’t leave an unconscious person alone. While waiting for help, turn the person on their side; don’t try to make the person vomit. People who have alcohol poisoning have an impaired gag reflex and may choke on their own vomit or accidentally inhale (aspirate) vomit into their lungs, which could cause a fatal lung injury. Your assistance and support in helping the College keep you and your fellow students safe is most appreciated.
Emerson College recognizes that the misuse or abuse of any drug can be detrimental to the health, safety, learning, and well-being of individuals as well as the Emerson community. Therefore, the College offers substance abuse prevention programs for its students and employees and will identify resources and provide assistance and support for those who have, develop or are in recovery from problems with AODs.
- Center for Health and Wellness: 617-824-8666
- Counseling and Psychological Services: 617-824-8595
- Violence Prevention and Response: 617-824-8857
For Faculty and Staff
Laws, Regulations and Sanctions
Emerson College and the members of the Emerson community are responsible for observing and complying with federal, state, city, and College laws and regulations regarding the use of AODs whenever they are on its U.S. or external campuses or taking part in its activities. Where the legal drinking age at our external campuses may differ, Emerson College students will be held to the legal drinking age laws of the hosting countries. All other aspects of this policy remain in effect at our external campuses. In addition, all members of the Emerson community are responsible for ensuring that their guests adhere to the Emerson College AOD Policy, and, when determined appropriate, will be held accountable for violations committed by their guests.
Students or student organizations who violate AOD laws or campus regulations while on Emerson College-owned or leased property or at off-campus, College-sponsored events are subject to a variety of sanctions that may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: written warnings; fines; required participation in AOD educational programs; community service; parental notification; loss of residence hall and College privileges; referral for substance abuse evaluation or treatment; housing or disciplinary probation; suspension from housing or the College; dismissal from housing or the College; and prosecution by the appropriate federal, commonwealth, and city authorities.
Faculty and Staff who violate AOD laws or campus regulations while on Emerson College–owned or leased property or at off-campus, College-sponsored events are subject to a variety of sanctions that may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: written warnings; referral for substance abuse evaluation or treatment; on-the-job disciplinary actions; job suspension; termination of employment; and/or prosecution by appropriate federal, commonwealth, and city authorities.
Concerns and reports about the violation of AOD laws or College AOD regulations should be addressed as follows:
- Questions or concerns regarding students’ use or abuse of AODs on campus, off campus, or at study away locations should be directed to the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct.
- Students who are unsure about how to address their AOD concerns may contact the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. Please note the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct is not confidential resource. Students wishing to address their concerns in a confidential setting may contact Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS) or the Center for Health and Wellness.
- Questions or concerns about staff or employees’ use or abuse of AODs should be directed to the associate vice president for human resources.
- Questions or concerns about whether and where alcohol may be consumed or served on Emerson property should be directed to the director of business services.
Legal & Institutional Consequences
- Emerson College Alcohol and Other Drug Sanctions
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts laws governing controlled substances
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts laws governing alcoholic beverages:
College Alcohol Policies
1. College Wide Regulations
a. Age: A person must be of legal drinking age to possess or consume alcoholic beverages. All community members are prohibited from serving or providing alcohol to individuals who are under the legal drinking age.
b. Authorization: Faculty and staff who wish to host an event where alcohol will be served on any property owned or leased by Emerson College must comply with the terms as established by Emerson College by submitting an approval form (available on the Business Services website) to the director of business services seven (7) business days prior to the event for review. The form will be forwarded to the vice president for administration.
Students and student organizations who want to hold an event where alcohol is served or present while on Emerson College–owned or –leased property or at off-campus College–sponsored events must submit a completed Application for Alcohol at Student Organization Events at least 21 days before the event for review. Applications are available at the Office of the Dean of Students. The College will typically only authorize requests to allow alcohol service at student events that are sponsored by either the Senior Class or the Graduate Student Association.
Student organizations should present their requests as follows:
- Residence Hall Association, Learning Communities, and Residence Life–related sponsors should present their proposals to the associate dean/director of housing and residence life;
- Recognized undergraduate student organizations should present their proposals to the associate dean of students; and
- Recognized graduate student organizations should present their proposals to the director of graduate studies.
Final authorization requires the signature of the Dean of Students.
c. Common Source Alcohol Containers: Kegs, punch bowls containing alcohol, alcohol by the case, or any other central sources of alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
d. Common Areas: Alcohol consumption or possession of an open container of alcohol is prohibited at any time in College–owned or –leased hallways, lobbies, lounges, stairwells, classrooms, studios, technical facilities, meeting spaces, bathrooms, outdoor areas, vehicles, or any other public areas without prior written authorization. Students must obtain such authorization from the dean of students and employees must obtain such authorization from the College’s director of business services.
e. Intoxication and AOD Impairment: All Emerson community members are prohibited from being intoxicated on Emerson College property or at Emerson-sponsored events, regardless of age. The College also reserves the right to hold students accountable, regardless of age, for being intoxicated at off-campus, non–Emerson related events or locations. Behavioral symptoms frequently associated with intoxication will be considered in determining intoxication. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following: impaired motor skill coordination, difficulty communicating, vomiting, glazed/red eyes, the smell of alcohol on one’s breath, verbal and/or physical aggressiveness, destructive and/or disruptive behavior, and engaging in any behavior that may endanger oneself or others. Emerson community members are further prohibited from performing employment duties or participating in classes and student activities while impaired due to the effects of AOD consumption, regardless of whether such impairment rises to the level of intoxication.
Students should be aware that the College may notify their parents or legal guardians or emergency contact if the College determines that their use or consumption of alcohol or other drugs poses a threat to their health or safety, regardless of whether such consumption occurs on or off campus. At a minimum, when it comes to the College’s attention, an emergency contact or parents or legal guardian will be notified when a student’s level of intoxication requires transportation to a hospital.
f. Advertising and Postings
i. No postings or announcements may be made, placed, or distributed that promote a party or event in which individuals under the legal drinking age are likely to be served or consume alcohol.
ii. No postings or announcements may be made, placed, or distributed that mention, make reference to, allude to, or depict alcohol; promote, invite, or encourage alcohol consumption; or mention or allude to the amount of alcohol to be served or consumed at a particular party or event.
iii. No postings, announcements, promotions, or ticket sales may be made, placed, or distributed for non-College-sponsored events at which alcohol will be served or consumed.
2. Student Alcohol Regulations
a. Parties, Activities, and Events
i. Students and student organizations are prohibited from sponsoring an event, party, or program in which alcohol is served or consumed without written authorization from the dean of students.
ii. The commercial distribution of alcohol is prohibited.
iii. The manufacturing of alcohol is prohibited.
iv. Funding, donations, giveaways, and other remuneration for Emerson College events and activities by the manufacturers, distributors, or sellers of alcohol are prohibited without written authorization.
v. Alcohol is prohibited from all Emerson College student and student organization orientation and initiation activities.
vi. No event may be held in which a primary focus is the service and consumption of alcohol.
vii. All College–sponsored student organization events and activities at which alcohol will be served or consumed must have the event’s advertising approved by the dean of students or a designee.
viii. Student events in which alcohol is served or consumed must follow the guidelines below:
a) Admission charges and/or undergraduate student activities fees may not be used for the purchase of alcohol.
b) Open bars or the serving of alcohol without charge is prohibited unless food and nonalcoholic beverages are also available free of charge. In addition, at least 25 percent of an event’s food and beverage budget must be used for the purchase of food, and at least 25 percent of an event’s food and beverage budget must be used for the purchase of nonalcoholic beverages.
c) Unless otherwise authorized by the dean of students, hosts or hosting organizations are required to provide food and nonalcoholic beverages as a part of any activity or event at which alcohol will be available via a cash bar. Food and nonalcoholic beverages must be available in sufficient quantities (in general, they should be available throughout the entire event) for the expected attendance of the event.
d) No alcoholic beverages are permitted to be brought into the function area by attendees.
ix. In addition, on–campus student events in which alcohol is served or consumed must follow the guidelines below:
a) Alcohol permitted at an event will be restricted to beer and/or wine.
b) No alcoholic beverages are to be taken out from the function room.
c) Alcoholic beverage service will last no longer than three hours in duration, and is to end no later than 11:30 pm.
x. In addition, student organization–sponsored events in which alcohol is served or consumed must follow the guidelines below, unless otherwise authorized:
a) No alcohol other than what is served by the College’s dining services (for on-campus events) or a licensed server (for off-campus events) is permitted.
b) At least two members of the hosting organization and its advisor or designated faculty/staff member need to be present and not drink alcoholic beverages throughout the entire event. For on-campus events, the organization is responsible for arranging to have a member of the Emerson College Police Department or a security officer, contracted through Emerson College, present throughout the entire program.
c) Admission to the program will be restricted to currently enrolled Emerson students and members of the College faculty/staff. Students will be permitted to host one guest and may not leave an event without their guest. At on-campus events, students will be required to sign in their guest at the registration desk.
d) When deemed appropriate, students and their guests must demonstrate proof of age with a government–issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport.
e) No one under the legal drinking age will be admitted to an on-campus event. The members of the hosting organization, with the assistance of its advisor or designated faculty/staff member and a staff member from the College’s dining services, will be responsible for monitoring entrance to the event throughout the duration of the program.
f) The College’s dining services (for on-campus events) or the licensed server (for off-campus events) will be responsible for managing the beverage bar in keeping with federal, state, and local alcoholic beverage laws and regulations. The hosting organization is responsible for ensuring that the Emerson College AOD Policy is observed at all times.
xi. The College also reserves the right to discipline students, regardless of age, if the College determines that a student’s service of alcohol to others, including at off-campus, private, non– Emerson related events, negatively affected the College’s relationship with, or reputation in, the greater community or posed a danger to any individual’s health or safety.
3. Residence Hall Regulations
a. An individual of legal drinking age may possess and/or consume alcohol only in their room or in the room of another resident who is of legal drinking age. Possession or consumption in a residential suite common area may occur only if all residents of the suite are of legal drinking age.
b. An individual of legal drinking age is prohibited from consuming alcohol or possessing an open container of alcohol in any room where individuals under the legal drinking age are present.
c. The maximum amount of alcohol permitted in residence hall rooms for those that are of legal drinking age: twelve 12-ounce coolers, malts, or beers; or one 750 ml. bottle of wine; or one pint of hard liquor up to 80 proof. The total amount of alcohol in a residence hall room or suite may not exceed the total amount permitted for the residents of the room or suite that are of legal drinking age. The College reserves the right, in its sole discretion, and given the specific circumstances of a given incident, to determine the volume of alcohol which constitutes a violation of this policy.
d. Residence hall activities fees may not be used for the purchase of alcohol.
e. Individuals under the legal drinking age are prohibited from being in the presence of an open container of alcohol without written authorization.
f. Alcoholic beverage containers of any kind (e.g., bottles, cans), even if they are empty, are not permitted in any student room except where a student is the legal drinking age.
g. Alcohol paraphernalia including, but not limited to, beer pong tables or funnels is prohibited.
h. All students are prohibited from hosting a gathering in a residence hall room, suite, or common area where individuals under the legal drinking age are in the presence of an open container of alcohol.
College Tobacco and Smoking Policies
1. College-Wide Regulations
a. Smoking, including use of electronic smoking devices, is prohibited in all Emerson College–owned or –leased buildings.
b. Smoking, including use of electronic smoking devices, is prohibited within the archway of the 80 Boylston Street entranceway during posted hours.
c. Smoking, including use of electronic smoking devices, is prohibited within 25 feet of 150 Boylston Street.
d. Smoking, including use of electronic smoking devices, is prohibited in all Emerson College–owned or – leased transportation vehicles including buses, vans, shuttles, ECPD patrol cars, and Facilities Management vehicles.
e. The retail sale of tobacco, tobacco products, and electronic smoking products is prohibited.
f. The commercial distribution of tobacco, tobacco products, and electronic smoking products is prohibited.
g. Funding, donations, giveaways, and other remuneration for Emerson College events and activities by the manufacturers, distributors, or sellers of tobacco, tobacco products, and electronic smoking products are prohibited.
College Other Drugs Policies
1. College-Wide Regulations
a. Possession or use of marijuana.
b. Possession or use of other illegal drugs (i.e. cocaine, MDMA, heroin, hallucinogens, synthetic marijuana, etc.).
c. Attempted or actual sale, distribution, or manufacturing of illegal drugs (i.e. marijuana, cocaine, MDMA, heroin, hallucinogens, etc.).
d. Impairment as a result of the use of illegal drugs or misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medication.
e. Possession or use of any drug paraphernalia (i.e. pipes, bongs, hookahs, etc.).
f. Manufacture, or attempted or actual distribution of any illegal drug or drug paraphernalia (i.e. pipes, bongs, hookahs, etc.).
g. Unlawful possession, unlawful use, abuse, or attempted or actual distribution or manufacturing of any controlled substance (i.e. prescription drug) or over-the-counter medication.
h. Knowingly being in the presence of someone using an illegal drug.