College Policy on Alcohol and Drugs
STUDENT HANDBOOK: Policies and Procedures
Bennington College students are required to comply with state and federal law regarding alcohol and other drugs, including use of prescription drugs. Use of marijuana is prohibited in all areas of Bennington College. Any student involved in the illegal use, abuse, possession, sale, or distribution of alcohol, drugs or drug paraphernalia; or who is cited in a police and/or Campus Safety report involving such an offense or whose behavior is revealed in an investigation to indicate alcohol or other drug abuse will be referred to a member of the Student Life leadership team (Director of Campus Safety, Director of Residence Life and Community Standards, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Wellness) for adjudication and/or resolution. Additionally, Bennington College will cooperate fully with local, state and federal enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of illegal drug use and distribution. Federal regulations require revocation of federal student aid to anyone prosecuted and convicted of a drug offense.
Support and Counsel
Alcohol and drug abuse can present serious legal and medical problems. The College encourages any student with alcohol- or drug-related problems to seek assistance from appropriate College services or private agencies. The educational, counseling, and referral services of the Health and Psychological Services staff are available to those experiencing difficulty with the use/abuse of alcohol and/or drugs. These services are available to the user and to those students whose lives are affected by the use/abuse of others. The use of Health and Psychological Services for alcohol or drug abuse advice or referral is confidential. Confidentiality will be maintained unless otherwise required by law. Health and Counseling Services can provide information about Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al Anon, and Adult Children of Alcoholics groups and can assist students who are interested in attending meetings either on campus or in the local community.
24/7 Access – Dial 767 (SOS) for Emergencies
Campus Safety can activate, depending on the situation, the following on-call resources:
- On-call Student Life staff member
- On-call College physician
- On-call Psychological Services counselor
- On-call Campus Safety director
Individuals are also encouraged to seek support and advice from the following resources:
- AA meetings (447-1285)
- United Counseling Services (442-5491)
- Southwestern Vermont Medical Center ER (442-6361)
- Turning Point Club (442-9700)
Alcohol and Drug Policy
The College Alcohol Policy is intended to encourage lawful and responsible decision making on the part of all Bennington College students. It is intended to be consistent with state and federal law; to stress moderation, safety, and individual accountability for those who choose to drink lawfully; to prevent alcohol abuse and its effects; to provide information and education for all community members; and to provide confidential advising and counseling for those with concerns related to alcohol use and alcoholism.
- Only persons of legal alcohol drinking age under Vermont State law (21 years of age) may consume or possess alcohol at Bennington College.
- Selling and/or providing alcohol to an individual who is under the age of 21 years is prohibited.
- Kegs of beer, beer balls, or mixing alcohol in a large container for serving many- “bathtub punch” or any container capable of holding more than 144 ounces of alcohol are prohibited.
- Alcohol, regardless of age, is not allowed in any common areas of Bennington College except at authorized College events where participants are required to show photo identification to be served. Additionally, no alcohol is allowed on Common Lawn, in the Student Activities Center, Dining Services and in common areas of houses.
- Alcohol games are not permitted.
- Alcohol may only be stored in private student rooms when the student is 21 years or older.
- Alcohol may not be stored in common areas of any house.
- Empty alcohol containers may not be displayed in any common area of a house.
- The use of a false ID, using another person’s ID for the purpose of being served alcohol at an authorized College event is prohibited.
- Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and possibly deadly. It is not permitted and any suspected driver under the influence of alcohol may be referred to local police.
- Publicity and posters for College functions and/or private parties may not mention alcohol or imply alcohol is available.
- Alcohol may never be present in an individual room where at least one of the assigned residents is less than 21 years of age.
- Visitors to Bennington College may not transport alcohol onto campus.
If it is suspected alcohol is present in the common area or being served at a House party or private party, the party will be disbanded by Campus Safety and Residence Life staff.
Marijuana is not permitted in any area at Bennington College. Any suspected violations of this will be documented and investigated by Campus Safety and the student(s) involved referred as appropriate by the Director of Campus Safety. Students who have a medical prescription for marijuana may present it to the Bennington College physician for marijuana use on campus.
Illegal Drugs, Misuse of Prescription Drugs
Illegal drugs, including organic hallucinogens, are not permitted in any area at Bennington College. Any suspected violations of this will be documented and investigated by Campus Safety and the student(s) involved referred as appropriate by the Director of Campus Safety.
Prescription drugs may only be possessed and consumed by the person who has been prescribed the drug. Any suspected violations of this will be documented and investigated by Campus Safety and the student(s) involved referred as appropriate by the Director of Campus Safety.
The manufacture, delivery and/or sale of illegal drugs or prescription drugs is not permitted and may be referred to local law enforcement for investigation and/or referred as appropriate by the Director of Campus Safety.
Any suspected violations of the above alcohol expectations will be documented and investigated by Campus Safety and the student(s) involved referred as appropriate by the Director of Campus Safety.
It is important to Bennington College that all perceived violations of the alcohol and drug policies be reported, so those affected can receive the support and resources needed. Therefore, in order to facilitate reporting, students acting in good faith who report violations of the alcohol and drug policy will not be subject to disciplinary action for violations related to Student Conduct standards related to the alcohol use and/or drug use, but still may be referred to supportive services. Bennington College reserves the right to take steps necessary to address health and safety concerns for the individual and the community.
- Only persons of legal drinking age under Vermont State law (21 years of age) may consume or possess alcohol.
- Selling and/or providing alcoholic beverages to an individual who is under the age permitted (21) to consume them by the state of Vermont is prohibited.
- Kegs of beer, beer balls, or any container capable of holding more than 144 ounces of alcohol (the equivalent of a traditional 12 pack) are prohibited.
- Alcohol games are not permitted. Consumption of alcoholic beverages or possession of an open container of alcohol is prohibited in common areas of student houses, non-residential College buildings, and out of doors except at authorized College events (under the auspices of Dining Services).
- Operating a motor vehicle on campus while under the influence of alcohol as determined by Campus Safety is prohibited.
- The use of a false ID, the ID of another person, or falsifying one’s ID for the purpose of purchasing alcohol is prohibited.
- Publicity and posters for College functions and/or private parties may not mention alcohol, imply that it will be available or have a theme of overconsumption.
Specific alcohol regulations regarding gatherings in student rooms:
- Each resident of the room is responsible for events or guests in his or her room and for abiding by Vermont State law and College policies regarding the use of alcohol.
- Gatherings in student rooms where there is not at least one resident present may result in Campus Safety clearing the room of all persons and securing the room door.
Alcohol-free rooms (at least one occupant is under the legal drinking age of 21):
- Alcohol is prohibited in any student room where one or more of the occupants is under the legal drinking age of 21.
- Visitors, including guests, students, family members, or alumni may not bring alcohol into a room occupied by people under the age of 21.
Alcohol-permitted rooms (all occupants are of the legal drinking age of 21):
- Alcohol is permitted in student rooms where all occupants and persons present (guests, other students, etc.) are of the legal drinking age of 21.
- Underage persons are not allowed to possess alcohol at any time in any location. When violations are observed, regardless of the source of the alcohol, all occupants will be held accountable and subject to disciplinary action for supplying alcohol to minors, and the underage students will also be subject to disciplinary action.
Federal Drug-Free Schools and Campuses (EDGAR Part 86) Annual Notice
The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 requires that Bennington College annually notify all students, faculty, and staff of the community standards and policies regarding drug and alcohol use. This annual notice also includes the required applicable sanctions under federal, state, and local law for the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs and alcohol by faculty, staff, or students.
Bennington College values the health and well-being of our entire community. As such, in the notice you will also find a description of the health risks associated with the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol and a description of any drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation available to employees or students.