Bard College Student Handbook

Alcohol and Drug Policy

Bard College is committed to providing a healthy learning environment that facilitates the highest level of academic achievement and fosters the full development of all students. The community strives to support and promote safe and legal behavioral norms and standards with respect for individual integrity coupled with our shared responsibility to create a safe and vibrant academic environment. The purpose of policies related to alcohol and illegal drug use is to:

  • stress safety, well-being, and individual accountability for all Bard College students
  • provide an atmosphere free from coercion to abuse alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs
  • discourage and prohibit the illegal use of alcohol and drugs or misuse of prescription drugs
  • prohibit the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of illegal and prescription drugs
  • prevent problem behavior and to combat alcohol and drug abuse
  • provide prevention and intervention information and education for all students
  • provide students with information about confidential on- and off-campus resources to address issues related to alcohol and drug use and abuse.
Every member of the community is responsible for abiding by the alcohol and drug policy and for encouraging others to do the same. The College expects that all members of the community will, through year-round educational programming and orientation events, familiarize themselves with the physical risks of and legal constraints on alcohol and drug use, and that they will make informed decisions regarding their own behavior. The use, sale, transfer or manufacturing of illegal drugs, the abuse of alcohol and the abuse of prescription medications disturbs and offends members of the Bard community bringing unintended consequences that create an atmosphere of fear and distrust at odds with the educational mission of the College.

Students are recognized as adults and, therefore, held responsible for their own behavior. All students are expected to obey all local, state, and federal laws as well as college policies and regulations. The College expects moderation, restraint, and care in the use of alcohol for students of legal age; only students age 21 or older may consume alcohol in designated campus locations or at college-sponsored events. Those students are permitted to consume alcohol only at registered college events that have been approved to serve alcohol (refer to section on how to register events with alcohol for additional information) or in limited quantity in their rooms (refer to the Residence Life and Housing section for additional guidelines on alcohol in residence halls). Students may not consume alcohol in their rooms, even if they are age 21 or older; if they live in a wellness residence hall, or a residence hall that houses primarily first-year students; or if they have not have obtained permission from their roommate(s). Possession of open containers of alcohol outside a registered venue will result in disciplinary action. The responsible use of alcohol on campus by those of legal age is a social privilege which, if abused, may be revoked. A room whose occupants are under 21 cannot have any alcohol stored or consumed in it.

Safety and Security, Residence Life and Housing and Dean of Student Affairs staff will confiscate alcohol if a student is not of age or quantities are considered larger than individual servings. Drinking games and other activities that encourage rapid ingestion of alcohol are not permitted.

All members of the Bard community must take responsibility for their own actions and for compliance with the laws of New York State and the Drug-Free School and Communities Act. The major points of the law are as follows:

1. Legal Age and Intoxicated Individuals: No person shall sell, deliver, give away, cause, permit, or procure to be sold, delivered, or given away any alcoholic beverages to: (1) any person actually or apparently under the legal age (21); or (2) any intoxicated person or any person under the influence of alcohol.

2. Dram Shop Liability: Any person who shall be injured in person, property, means of support, or otherwise by an intoxicated person or by reason of the intoxication of any person, whether resulting in death or not, shall have a right of action against any person who shall, by unlawfully selling to or unlawfully assisting in procuring liquor for the intoxicated person, have caused or contributed to the intoxication. In any such action the injured person will have a right to recover actual and exemplary damages.

3. Social Host Liability: If intoxication results in injury or damages to a third party, anyone who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages to any intoxicated person under the legal age of purchase, can be held subject to civil liability.

Dangerous Drinking

The safety and health of students is the College’s overriding concern. Any member of the community who observes another member involved in dangerous drinking should feel a responsibility to discourage the behavior and help the intoxicated individual. In cases of intoxication, alcohol poisoning or alcohol and/or drug overdose, individuals are asked to call for medical assistance (x7777) for themselves or for any members of the Bard community. The College believes it is the personal responsibility of each student to call for medical assistance in cases of alcohol or drug-related medical emergency. Special consideration for policy infractions will be given in cases where students voluntarily seek medical attention for themselves or other members of the community. Serious sanctions may result in cases where students do not seek appropriate medical treatment for intoxication or overdose.

False Identification
Any person under the legal age of purchase who is found to have presented or offered false or fraudulent written identification of age for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages will be sanctioned and false identification will be confiscated.

Possession or Distribution of Alcohol, Illegal Drugs and Improper Use of Prescription Drugs

An academic environment is incompatible with the use of illegal drugs, the abuse of any drugs, and the use of drugs not medically prescribed and supervised. Federal and New York State law prohibit the possession of illegal drugs that are defined as controlled substances which cannot be obtained legally or which, although available legally, have been obtained illegally. This includes prescription drugs that have not been lawfully prescribed for the individual (see the Federal Controlled Substances Act for a list of controlled substances).

While the College’s emphasis is on preventive and educational approaches to substance use and abuse, the College will not protect students from local, state, or federal laws. The College prohibits the unlawful possession, use, manufacture, or distribution of alcohol or illegal drugs or misuse use of legal or prescription drugs by students. Bard College cannot and will not protect students from prosecution under federal, state, or local law, nor are students immune from legal investigation or arrest by civil authorities resulting from the unlawful possession, use, manufacture and sale of any dangerous drugs. The sale, transfer or manufacturing of alcohol or illegal or prescription drugs will result in prompt and forceful action, and include immediate removal from campus and possible prosecution under Section 220.000 of the New York State penal code. Information received about drug dealers is shared with local police agencies. Further, persons suspected or found using illegal drugs or voluntarily being in the presence of their use are potentially subject to disciplinary action by the College.

Paraphernalia includes those items made expressly for the purpose of supporting the use or distribution of illegal drugs or items made for another purpose, but used for the distribution or use of drugs. Items with the purpose or effect of facilitating the abuse of alcohol are considered in this category. Items considered to be paraphernalia may be confiscated and become property of the College, including paraphernalia identified as having been used in a drinking game, including tables.

Policy Violations

Violations of these policies will result in disciplinary action. Penalties will reflect both the degree and number of offenses and may include written warnings submitted to the student file, restitution to community, fines, social probation, mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation, mandatory attendance in educational programs, loss of housing privileges, loss of scholarship, disciplinary leave, suspension and expulsion. Those whose drinking or illegal drug use repeatedly leads to problem behavior will be dealt with more severely because of the predictable relationship between the use and the behavior that follows.

In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the College may notify parents or guardians of violations of the College’s alcohol and drug policy. The College reserves the right to notify parents or guardians when a student is found in violation of the alcohol and illegal drug policy, including hospital transport for alcohol or illegal drug-related overdose.