Alcohol and Drugs in the Residence Halls

Introduction

The guidelines and policies for alcohol and drug use are set forth in Essential Policies. Information regarding alcohol and drug policy and violations specifically in residence halls is contained here. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with all University policy on alcohol and drugs.

Furthermore, students are expected to monitor their own behavior with respect to the law. Being intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance will not be accepted as an excuse for behavior that violates community standards nor will it lessen a resident’s accountability to the University or residential community.

Alcohol Policy

  • Alcohol may not be possessed, stored, or consumed by any person under the age of 21.
  • A person 21 years of age or older, regardless of the age of their roommate or suitemate(s), may possess, store, or consume alcohol in suite style residence halls (47 Claremont, East Campus, Hogan, Ruggles, Watt, and Woodbridge Halls) and in Brownstones, in the following locations only:
    1. In his or her contractually assigned private residence hall room.
    2. In the common area(s) within his/her contractually assigned suite.
    3. In the private residence hall room or common area(s) within the suite of another contractually assigned occupant who is also 21 years of age or older.
  • A person 21 years of age or older, regardless of the age of their roommate or suitemate(s), may possess, store, or consume alcohol in corridor-style residence halls (600 West 113th, Broadway, Carlton Arms, Carman, Furnald, Harmony, Hartley, John Jay, McBain, River, Schapiro, SIC House, Wallach, and Wien Halls), in the following locations only:
    1. In his or her contractually assigned private residence hall room.
    2. In the private residence hall room of another contractually assigned occupant who is also 21 years of age or older.
  • Students of legal drinking age who bring alcohol into a residence hall or possess alcohol in a residence hall are responsible for its legal use. This includes taking reasonable precautions to prevent the possession of alcohol by underage students and guests.
  • Alcohol may not be possessed, stored, or consumed in the common lounges, hallways, elevators, or public space of any residence hall.
  • Registered parties may only occur in a Brownstone occupied by a Fraternity.
  • Kegs, bulk containers, and devices designed for rapid consumption of alcohol are prohibited.
  • Games of chance, drinking games, contests, and other activities that induce, encourage, or result in the rapid consumption of alcohol are prohibited.
  • Alcohol that is not specifically manufactured for human consumption is prohibited.

Note: While each student has individual responsibility for abiding by local, state, federal, and University alcohol regulations, a contractually assigned resident may be held accountable for any violation within their assigned residence hall room or suite.

Violations of Alcohol Policy

Residential Life staff are trained and required to document community issues and policy violations for follow-up by the appropriate staff members in Residential Life and Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS). Columbia Housing, Public Safety, Security Desk personnel or other University staff may document incidents as well. Students may also bring behaviors to the attention of a staff member, who will then document the issue in an Incident Report.

Incident reports are reviewed and may be referred for follow-up. Follow-up regarding community issues and alleged policy violations may include a policy reminder and resource letter, a conduct meeting with a member of the staff within Residential Life, a recommendation or requirement to complete the BASICS process, and/or a referral to the Dean's Discipline Process, overseen by SCCS. In all cases, staff members are committed to educating students through engaging them in meaningful dialogue, directing them to the appropriate University resources, and holding them accountable for their actions when necessary.

Drugs Policy

The possession or use of illicit drugs and related materials is prohibited. Water pipes, bongs, hookahs, and other paraphernalia commonly associated with drug use are also prohibited in the residence halls. Further, the possession or use of a legal substance for any purpose other than the legally intended use is prohibited.

Drugs are defined as:

  • any stimulant;
  • intoxicant (including alcohol);
  • nervous system depressant;
  • hallucinogen;
  • other chemical substance, compound, or combination when used to induce an altered state; and
  • any otherwise lawfully available product or substance (such as over the counter or prescription drugs, glue, paint, etc.) used for any purpose other than its intended use.

Violations of Drugs Policy

Students who are believed to have violated the drug policy will be immediately referred to Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS) for a Dean’s Discipline proceeding.

Residential Life and Student Conduct work closely with Public Safety to ensure appropriate follow-up of campus incidents involving drugs.

The manufacture, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs, any involvement in illegal drug use or traffic, and possession or use of highly addictive drugs are among the drug violations considered to be most serious. Students manufacturing, selling, or distributing illegal drugs should expect a lengthy separation or expulsion from the University. Students possessing, using, selling, or manufacturing illegal substances may also be subject to mandatory penalties prescribed by the state.

Student success is a top priority for Columbia University. The University recognizes that a variety of factors may lead students to make unhealthy choices. Harm reduction informs our follow-up regarding alcohol and other drugs. The University strongly encourages students to connect with Columbia Health or a mentor if they or a friend are struggling with use, abuse, or addiction. In addition, Residential Life staff provide information regarding referrals or other support for any student seeking help.

Students with concerns about a friend’s known or suspected alcohol or other drug use or abuse may consult members of Columbia Health or Residential Life to discuss opportunities for follow-up, referral, or structured intervention. Students may also complete an anonymous alcohol use self-assessment online through Columbia Health. Please visit Essential Policies online for more information regarding the University Alcohol and Drug Policy.