Alcohol and Other Drugs
Sarah Lawrence College aims to create an environment that promotes the highest levels of learning within a healthy and vibrant social atmosphere. To this end, the College’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy stems from the belief that students who are educated as to the effects of the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs should be trusted and expected to make healthy, respectful decisions for themselves and the entire community.
Students are responsible for living within the parameters of this policy and for encouraging others to do the same. Violations of the spirit and intent of this policy will be responded to with disciplinary action (see “Discipline Process”). The influence of alcohol or other drugs is not an excuse for unacceptable behavior and will not be seen as a mitigating factor in disciplinary hearings.
Furthermore, members of the community should understand that Sarah Lawrence College observes all federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing the sale and/or purchase of alcohol and other drugs and the service of alcoholic beverages by all members of its community (see Appendix 2). The College expects that these laws will be adhered to at all events associated with the College (see “Events with Alcohol and Hosting Guidelines,” page 110). The College cannot and will not protect any member of the Sarah Lawrence community who has broken federal, state, and/or local law.
Good Samaritan Policy
Student health and safety are primary concerns of the Sarah Lawrence community. To ensure that students receive prompt and appropriate medical attention for alcohol or other drug intoxication and to reduce impediments to seeking such assistance, the College has instituted this Good Samaritan Policy.
In those instances in which students contact Public Safety or other College officials to request medical assistance (either for themselves or for another student) due to intoxication, neither student will be subject to formal disciplinary action for being intoxicated or under the influence of other drugs or for having provided the intoxicated person with alcohol.
In lieu of formal disciplinary action, the involved students will meet with a student affairs staff member to discuss the incident. The student requiring medical attention will be referred to Health Services for an assessment and must complete the assessment and any resulting treatment recommendations in a timely manner. This policy does not excuse or protect students who flagrantly or repeatedly violate the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy and does not preclude disciplinary action regarding other violations of College policy.
The spirit of the Good Samaritan Policy is that we all have an ethical responsibility to help people in need. As a community we expect that all members will take active steps to protect the safety and wellbeing of other members of our community.
Education and Prevention
The College provides alcohol and other drug education to all new students, as well as programming about alcohol and other drug use and abuse throughout the academic year. Additionally, the College provides both counseling support and educational programs for students found to be in violation of this policy. Two subcommittees of the Committee on Student Life provide additional evaluative and educational programs regarding substance use on campus. The Substance Use Subcommittee focuses on developing strategies for promoting and educating the Sarah Lawrence community about responsible decision making with regard to substance use as well as assessing and evaluating the culture of substance use within the community. The Health Programs Subcommittee provides health and wellness education programs, including those on substance use, throughout the year.
Risks Associated with Abuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs
Sarah Lawrence recognizes that alcohol and other drug abuse is harmful to the social, personal, and academic lives of students as well as the health and safety of our College community as a whole. The following risks are associated with the use and/or abuse of alcohol and other drugs.
Illness and Health Problems: All drugs can be toxic when abused. Alcohol and other drugs can interact negatively with over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and every individual reacts differently to the effects of both these drugs and the combination involved. Short-term alcohol and other drug abuse can hinder a person’s immune system, and long-term abuse can lead to serious health risks such as addiction, liver disease, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer.
Academics: Difficulty meeting academic responsibilities is one of the most common consequences of alcohol and other drug use. Academic problems may include missing classes, falling behind on assignments and conference work, poor evaluations and the possibility of academic probation, leave with review, or suspension.
Impaired Judgment: The use of alcohol and other drugs can impact a person’s judgment, normal reaction, and perception; impair motor skills; lower inhibitions; and intensify emotions. All of these increase the chances of accidents either to the user or to others.
Interpersonal Problems: The more a person abuses alcohol or other drugs, the greater the potential for problems with relationships. Students who do not drink or do not abuse alcohol experience secondhand consequences from others’ excessive use, which may include unwanted sexual advances and disturbed study and sleep.
For more information on the effects of the use and/or abuse of specific substances, please see www.nida.nih.gov.
Alcohol and Other Drug Interventions
Sarah Lawrence College is committed to basing prevention efforts on strategies identified and tested for effectiveness by scientific evidence and evaluation. The College acknowledges and is committed to changing the culture that underlies alcohol misuse among young people. Therefore, we employ comprehensive, integrated prevention programs that target individual students, including at-risk or alcohol-dependent drinkers; the student population as a whole; and the College community. The College recognizes that drug use can be motivated by an array of personal, behavioral, biological, and genetic as well as social and environmental factors. In response to these diverse and intersecting influences, we provide a full spectrum of tailored treatments that are matched to the unique needs of the individual.
As members of a small and close community, we are often aware of the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs by our friends, peers, students, or colleagues. In cases where substance use is negatively affecting the health, academic performance, emotional wellbeing, or behavior of a community member, we are in a position to help through intervention. Students are referred to Health Services for evaluation and counseling in the following circumstances:
- A student exhibits behavior that is in violation of the College’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy.
- A student’s use of alcohol or drugs is disruptive or life threatening to themselves or others within the community.
- A student is not able to function effectively in their academic program due to alcohol and/or drug use.
In such cases, a student may be required to seek an evaluation and follow the recommendations of a Health Services clinician. As stated earlier, the recommendations of the clinician will be tailored to the individual needs of the student. They may include (but are not limited to) further counseling and/or referral to on- and off-campus resources. Failure to have the evaluation or to follow any recommendations resulting from the evaluation may result in further action including a required Leave with Review from the College.
There are many resources available to students who would like help with substance issues, whether seeking help for themselves or others.
Health Services (914) 395-2350 Health Services clinicians have extensive experience in alcohol and other drug counseling and are available on campus to meet with students or concerned friends, faculty, or staff. Appointments may be scheduled by calling x2350. Services for students include:
- mental health evaluations;
- harm reduction therapy group;
- abstinence-based therapy group;
- short-term individual therapy;
- Web-based alcohol education: “Alcohol Wise,” “Under the Influence,” “Marijuana 101”;
- Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS). This harm reduction approach is administered in the form of at least two individual sessions with a clinician. The focuses of these sessions include: evaluation, goal setting, and feedback about drinking behavior. Through these sessions, the student works toward change, either abstinence, moderation, or other harm-reduction goals.
Don, Resident Adviser, Graduate Hall Director In addition, students are encouraged to speak to their don, RA, GHD, a member of the dean of studies or student affairs staff, or the dean of graduate studies if they are concerned about their own alcohol/substance use or the alcohol/substance use of a peer.
Local and Other Resources
The following list includes some of the local resources available to those seeking information, support, and help regarding alcohol and other drug use. The College does not endorse any of the organizations or vouch for the efficacy of any treatment or recovery option.
Alcoholics Anonymous (meeting dates and times available in the Health Services section of MySLC)
Narcotics Anonymous (meeting dates and times available in the Health Services section of MySLC)
Addiction Institute of New York (212-280-0100) The Addiction Institute utilizes the College Outreach and Prevention Education (COPE) program. COPE is group therapy for college students based on the principles of the stages of change and of motivational interviewing.
Al-Anon/Alateen (www.al-anon-alateen.org) Help for families and friends of alcoholics
Smart Recovery Self-Help Network (www.smartrecovery.org) Abstinence-based, but not 12-step or spiritually based
Moderation Management (www.moderation.org) Moderation, balance, self-management, personal responsibility
Marijuana Anonymous (www.marijuana-anonymous.org) 12-step, abstinence based
Harm Reduction (www.harmreductioncounseling.com) Alternative treatment approach that views the reduction of harm as a goal for substance users.
Prohibited Behaviors and Sanctions
Failure to comply with this policy will result in disciplinary action (see “Discipline Process”). Prohibited behaviors regarding the use, possession, and distribution of alcohol and other drugs on campus as well as minimum sanctions for engaging in such behaviors are outlined in the charts linked below. Some of these behaviors may also be violations of local, state, and federal laws and may be subject to off-campus legal action. A hearing officer or hearing panel may give sanctions greater than the sanctions listed in the chart below when warranted by the facts and circumstances of the specific violation. In addition, the period of time between offenses will be taken into account when determining sanctions.
To see a chart of prohibited behaviors and the minimum sanctions for engaging in such behaviors, download the Prohibited Behaviors and Sanctions chart (PDF).