Drug and Alcohol Policy

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Pace University has a strong commitment to a healthy and safe environment for all members of the University community.  Any use of alcohol and drugs that is illegal or violates this Policy will not be tolerated. 

It is the policy of the University that the unlawful use, possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances and alcohol on University property or at University sponsored programs and activities are prohibited.  Even though its possession or consumption may otherwise be lawful, alcohol, except in limited circumstances, is not permitted on University property or at University sponsored programs and activities. 

There are two exceptions to the prohibition against the possession and consumption of alcohol on University property and at University sponsored programs and activities.  One exception to this Policy is for the moderate possession and consumption of alcohol at University sponsored programs and activities by individuals legally permitted to possess and consume alcohol, provided prior written approval from the appropriate University representative has been granted.  The second exception permits students, except for those who reside in Maria’s Tower, who are at least 21 years of age to possess and consume a moderate amount of beer or wine (not hard liquor) in their residential housing room. 

This Policy applies to each member of the University community -- students, faculty, and staff – as well as to contractors, vendors, licensees, invitees and visitors. 

This Policy is in compliance with the Drug- Free Workplace Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, and it is distributed to every student and faculty and staff member.  

Health Risks Of Controlled Substances And Alcohol

The illegal use of controlled substances and alcohol and the abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs may lead to permanent health conditions including, but not limited to, disorders of the central nervous system, reproductive functioning, cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, and endocrine functioning.  In addition, there may be both short-term and long-term effects on cognition, memory, retention, information processing, coordination, athletic performance, academic performance, and the exercise of judgment. 

Controlled Substances.  All drugs, whether illegal or prescribed, alter the chemical balance of the body.  The misuse of drugs may lead to addiction and even death.  Drug addiction and abuse can cause serious damage to the brain, stomach, lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, and the immune and reproductive systems.  The sharing of needles is a significant factor in the spread of HIV. 

Alcohol.  Inappropriate use and abuse of alcohol is often associated with lower academic performance and failures, sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies, vandalism, aggressive behaviors including sexual assault and rape, injuries, death, and prosecution for crimes related to the consumption of alcohol.  Even small amounts of alcohol may impair the ability to concentrate, as well as the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely thus increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident.  Small to moderate amounts of alcohol may also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spousal and child abuse.  Moderate to high doses of alcohol can cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information.  Very high doses may result in respiratory depression and even death.  When used in conjunction with other depressants of the nervous system, even a small amount of alcohol can result in these effects.

 Repeated use of alcohol may lead to dependence or addiction.  The sudden cessation of alcohol consumption produces withdrawal symptoms such as severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions, and can be life threatening.  Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, may also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver.

Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome.  Infants with fetal alcohol syndrome have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation.  Further, research shows that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics themselves. 

The possible effects of various controlled substances and alcohol, including the effects of an overdose and withdrawal, are identified in U. S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Drugs of Abuse Publication 2011 Edition, a DEA Resource Guide  http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/drugs_of_abuse_2011.pdf

Legal Sanctions

Possession Of A Controlled Substance.  It is a crime under federal law to knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance unless the possession is otherwise permitted by law, e.g., the controlled substance has been obtained pursuant to a valid prescription.  The penalties for the conviction of the unlawful simple possession of a controlled substance, sometimes referred to as personal use amounts, are severe.  The penalty for the first conviction is up to one year imprisonment, a fine of at least $1000, or both.  The penalty for the second conviction is imprisonment for not less than 15 days but not more than 2 years and a fine of not less than $2,500.  If there have been two or more prior convictions, the penalty is a period of imprisonment between 90 days and 3 years and a minimum fine of $5,000.  

A conviction for the possession of a mixture or substance which contains a cocaine base (such as crack cocaine) is subject to even more severe penalties.  The penalty for the conviction of possession of a cocaine based controlled substance is imprisonment for a period of 5 to 20 years and a fine of no less than $1,000, provided the amount exceeds 5 grams for the first conviction, 3 grams for the second conviction, and 1 gram for each subsequent conviction.

Trafficking In Controlled Substances.  It is a violation of federal law to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance.  As shown on page 26, penalties for trafficking in controlled substances are considerably more severe than those for the possession of a personal use amount of a controlled substance.  (U. S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Drugs of Abuse Publication 2011 Edition, a DEA Resource Guide, Federal Trafficking Penalties or http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/drugs_of_abuse_2011.pdf  Page 26.)  Moreover, if a person 18 years or older distributes a controlled substance to a person under 21 years of age, the penalties will be doubled for a first conviction and tripled for subsequent convictions.  Similarly, penalties will be doubled for a first conviction and tripled for subsequent convictions of distributing, possessing with intent to distribute, or manufacturing a controlled substance in or within 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school, college or university, playground, or public housing facility, or within 100 feet of a youth center, public swimming pool, or video arcade facility. 

The website of the Drug Enforcement Administration, http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml  is a useful source of information about controlled substances.

Alcohol.  It is a misdemeanor to sell or give, or cause to be sold or given, any alcoholic beverage to any person under the age of 21.  A person convicted of selling or giving any alcoholic beverages to someone under age may be imprisoned for up to 1 year and fined up to $1000.  Further, no person under the age of 21 may possess an alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it.  The penalties for possession of an alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it include a fine not exceeding $50, completion of an alcohol awareness program, and/or community service not to exceed thirty hours.

It is a violation of New York law for a person under 21 years of age to present written evidence of age which is false, fraudulent or not his or her own, for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase any alcoholic beverage.  Such conduct is subject to payment of a fine of, depending on the number of prior violations, between $50 and $700, community service, or both, and completion of an alcohol awareness program or evaluation to determine whether the person suffers from alcoholism or alcohol abuse.  Using a false or fraudulent written instrument officially issued or created by a public office or governmental instrumentality (e.g., a driver’s license) to procure alcohol is also a crime.  The penalties include imprisonment of up to seven years and a monetary fine.

It is unlawful to drive while intoxicated, i.e., blood alcohol content of .08 and higher, or “in an intoxicated condition.”  It is also a criminal offense for anyone to operate a motor vehicle if the person’s ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by alcohol or other drugs. 

A person under 21 years of age who drives a motor vehicle and whose blood alcohol content is between .02 and .07, is subject to civil sanctions of monetary penalties and fees, and revocation or suspension of his or her driver’s license.

The penalties for driving while intoxicated and driving while impaired, and the penalties for drivers who are under 21 and whose blood alcohol content is between .02 and .07, may be found in Appendix C. (See Appendix C – Drivers License Penalties.)

University Sanctions

Any violation of the University’s Drug and Alcohol Policy may be disciplined in accordance with the University’s disciplinary procedures for students and for employees.   Further, the University may refer the student or employee for criminal prosecution.  Any sanction imposed by the University is independent of, and is in addition to, any penalty imposed in connection with a criminal conviction.

The sanctions that may be imposed on a student include, but are not limited to, probation, and suspension, dismissal and expulsion from University housing and/or the University.  The sanctions imposed on an employee may include the termination of his or her employment.

The sanctions described below are illustrative of the range and severity of sanctions that may be imposed on a student, but they do not constitute a complete list of the possible sanctions.  In determining a sanction, the University will consider the nature and severity of the violation, the impact of the transaction on the Pace community as well as on the community at large, and the student’s disciplinary history.

Controlled Substances.  Violations of the University’s Drug and Alcohol Policy relating to the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of controlled substances, even if a first offense, are considered to be extremely serious.  Such violations may result in more severe disciplinary sanctions, even if there is no harm to the student, others, or property, than if the violation related to the use of alcohol.  In addition to probation, suspension, dismissal or expulsion, the student may be fined up to $200, and referred to a drug use assessment and required to comply with any recommendations. 

Alcohol.  There are 3 levels of alcohol violations.  Greater sanctions may be imposed for each successively higher level of violation: 

Level 1.  Generally, a first violation and there is no harm to the student, others, or property.  Sanctions include, but are not limited to, an admonition; a probationary period; participation in an alcohol prevention program (e.g., Alcohol 101); a fine of $100 or, in lieu of a fine, submitting to an alcohol use assessment and complying with any recommendations; and, community service.

 

Level 2.  Generally, a repeat violation or a first violation that caused harm to the student, others, or property.  Sanctions include, but are not limited to, submitting to an alcohol use assessment and complying with any recommendations; a probationary period; suspension, dismissal or expulsion from the University and/or University housing; a $200 fine; and, community service.

 

Level 3.   Generally, a repeat violation indicative of a pattern of inappropriate behavior including disregarding previous admonitions, or a serious first or second violation involving harm to the student, others, or property.  Sanctions include, but are not limited to, suspension, dismissal or expulsion from the University and/or University housing; a probationary period; a $300 fine; community service; and, submitting to an alcohol use assessment and complying with any recommendations.

Reporting Requirements

Any employee, including a student employee, who works in any capacity under a federal grant or contract must notify his or her immediate supervisor of his or her conviction for a violation of any criminal drug statute (including misdemeanors) occurring in the workplace no later than 5 calendar days after such conviction.  This applies to direct charge employees and to indirect charge employees who perform any support or overhead functions related to the grant.  The supervisor must then promptly report the conviction to the Vice President for Human Resources.  Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act, the University is required by law to report the conviction to the federal funding agency within 10 days of receiving notice of the conviction from the employee or from any other source. 

Parental Notification

If the University determines that a student under the age of 21 violated the Drug and Alcohol Policy, the University may disclose to a parent or legal guardian of the student, information regarding any violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the University, governing the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances.  If practicable, the student will be informed in advance that his or her parents or legal guardian are going to be given notice of the student’s violation of the University’s Drug and Alcohol Policy. 

Counseling and Treatment

Students and employees who have concerns about their use of alcohol or other drugs are urged to seek assistance.  Faculty and staff may obtain counseling or referrals from Human Resources (212-346-1630 in New York; 914-773-3810 in Westchester); the Pace University Employee Assistance Program, which is administered by CIGNA’s Life Assistance Program (1-800-538-3543); and through the internet at http://www.cignabehavioral.com/cgi. The User ID is “lap” and the Password is “member”.  Resources for students who are seeking counseling or referrals include the Dean for Students (212-346-1306 in New York; 914-773-3351 in Westchester); Office of Residential Life (212-346-1295 in New York; 914-923-2790 in Westchester); and the Center for Student Development and Campus Activities (212-346-1590 in New York; 914-773-3767 in Westchester).  Other resources available to all members of the University community include the Counseling Center (212-346-1523 in New York; 914-773-3710 in Westchester); and University Health Care (212-346-1600 in New York; 914-773-3760 in Westchester).

Organizations that provide support and assistance to individuals with substance abuse problems and to their families include:

Alcoholics Anonymous          212-870-3400

Al-Anon and Alateen             212-941-0094 (Greater New York)

Cocaine Anonymous              212-929-7300 or 212COCAINE (212-262-2463)

Covenant House Nineline      800-999-9999

Marijuana Anonymous           212-459-4423

Nar-Anon                              800-984-0066

Narcotics Anonymous            212-929-6262 or 212-929-7117

Nicotine Anonymous               415-750-0328 or 877-879-6422

LIFENET Crisis Referral Hotline 800-543-3638

A list of substance abuse treatment facilities can be found in Appendix D. (See Appendix D - Student Handbook - Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities.) Additional substance abuse treatment facilities are available at http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/locator/home.

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Revised October 8, 2010

Additional policies may be found at http://www.pace.edu/student-handbook/