Alcohol & Drug Policies & Disclosures
Policy on Illegal Drugs and Alcohol
Boston University’s campuses and activities are not sanctuaries from federal, state, and local laws. Boston University prohibits the unlawful use, possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances or alcohol on University property or as part of University activities. Boston University’s alcoholic beverage policy is consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
However, the University’s standards of personal conduct substantially exceed the minimum expectations of civil law and custom. Students found in violation of the University alcohol policy or engaging in misconduct related to the abuse of alcohol, whether on or off campus, will be subject to disciplinary action under the Code of Student Responsibilities as well as to prosecu- tion. Boston University enforces the Massachusetts underage drinking law and state and federal drug laws. The legal drinking age in Massachusetts is 21.
Boston University neither permits nor condones the possession, use, or sale of illegal drugs and narcotics. Violators are subject to University disciplinary procedures, as well as to criminal prosecution under state and federal laws. Dealing in narcotics or illegal drugs anywhere on campus will result in expulsion from the residence system and further disciplinary action by the University. Conviction for drug-related offenses in any jurisdiction may affect a student’s eligibility for federal, state, or University financial aid.
The University falls within federal and state Drug-Free School Zone laws.
Violations of drug and liquor laws are reported under the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, and under Massachusetts law.
Standards of Conduct
The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs or alcohol by any student or employee on University property or in conjunction with any University activity is prohibited.
The University will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees who violate University standards of conduct. In addition, students or employees who violate public law are subject to criminal prosecution. Conviction may result in fines, imprisonment, and revocation or loss of eligibility to receive federal funding (such as grants and financial assistance) and other privileges.
University-imposed discipline may include sanctions up to and including expulsion of a student or termination of employment, in addition to referral for criminal prosecution. Disciplinary sanctions may include required participation in a treatment, counseling, or other approved rehabilitation program.
Alcohol in University Residences
- Students who are 21 years of age or older and possess a Massachusetts driver’s license are currently extended the privilege to possess and consume alcoholic beverages in University residences. Such privileges may be revoked.
- Students who are under 21 years of age may not possess or consume alcoholic beverages in the residences.
- Quantities of alcoholic beverages permitted to be brought into or stored in any residence facility by any resident 21 years of age or older are limited to seventy-two ounces of beer (for example, a six-pack), and one liter of other alcoholic beverage; any substantial quantity of alcoholic beverages (such as beer balls or kegs; cases of beer, wine, or other alcohol) may not be delivered to or brought into residences or other University facilities. Students who bring substantial quantities of alcoholic beverages into the residences will be subject to disciplinary action; this may include, but is not limited to, expulsion from the residences.
- No alcoholic beverages may be served or sold at Boston University functions that are attended primarily by undergraduate students. Applications for exceptions will be considered by the Dean of Students for certain events (for example, a senior class function).
- Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed in any public areas of the University.
- Guests of residents, regardless of age, may not bring alcoholic beverages into University residences.
- The possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages should not be part of an activity that is in violation of a University policy, as stated in the Code of Student Responsibilities and the Residence License Agreement, and such beverages are not to be consumed in any restricted area, such as hallways, lobbies, and common areas.
- The University reserves the right to conduct inspections in appropriate circumstances in order to enforce its policies and confiscate any beverages on University property in violation of this policy.
Proper identification must be presented to University personnel upon request.
As further clarification of our approach to dealing with illegal use or possession of alcohol, it is useful to understand the typical sanctions in cases where students do not seek medical assistance. See the “Alcohol & Drug Policies & Disclosures” section for information on the disciplinary sanctions typically imposed for underage alcohol possession and use violations, together with the education and counseling programs that are usually required.
Violations in University Residence Halls
Following are the sanctions and education and counseling programs typically imposed for underage alcohol possession and use violations that take place in University residence halls. More serious sanctions may be imposed in appropriate circumstances, including when the quantity of alcohol is excessive (e.g., exceeds one case of beer or one liter of liquor) and when an individual provides alcohol to persons who are under 21 years of age. If other unacceptable behavior—such as fighting, sexual assault, or property damage—occurs in conjunction with the alcohol violation, additional sanctions may be imposed for that behavior. Second violations are uncommon and third violations are rare. Sanctions for a third violation will include, among other things, separation from University housing.
- Disciplinary Sanction: Letter of reprimand and warning and $25 fine
- Education/Counseling: alcohol education
- Disciplinary Sanction: Residence Probation
- Education/Counseling: Alcohol education class
The University permits students who are over 21 to possess and consume alcohol within the residence halls. However, when an excessive quantity of alcohol is present, members of the residence hall staff contact the Boston University Police Department (BUPD). BUPD determines whether to take action against an individual, including whether to refer the matter to local authorities. (Under Massachusetts law, a minor in possession of alcohol may be arrested and fined and his or her driver’s license may be suspended. An individual who buys alcohol for a minor may be fined up to $2,000 and sentenced to up to six months in jail.)
Violations Not in University Residence Halls
Following are the sanctions and education and counseling programs typically imposed for underage alcohol possession and use violations that do not take place in University residence halls. If other unacceptable behavior—such as fighting, sexual assault, or property damage—occurs in conjunction with the alcohol violation, additional sanctions may be imposed for that behavior. Second violations are uncommon and third violations are rare. Sanctions for a third violation will include, among other things, suspension from the University.
- Disciplinary Sanction: Probation and $100 fine
- Education/Counseling: an online self-assessment and education on alcohol use
- Disciplinary Sanction: Deferred suspension
- Education/Counseling: Alcohol education class
By federal law, students convicted of drug offenses committed while receiving Title IV federal financial aid may be ineligible for federal financial aid for one or more years from the date of conviction. For additional information, visit the Financial Assistance website.
Boston University requires every incoming first-year student to take AlcoholEdu for College, an online, non-judgmental, evidence-based alcohol abuse prevention course.
The following resources are available at Boston University to address alcohol- and drug-related issues:
- Wellness & Prevention Services (a department of Student Health Services) offers drug and alcohol groups and interactive education classes;
- substance abuse assessments, including BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students);
- consultation services;
- and online intervention programs, including ‘AlcoholEdu for College’ and ‘e-Checkup to Go’ for both alcohol and marijuana.
Faculty and staff may contact the Faculty & Staff Assistance office; (617-353-5381) for referrals.