Drug Free Campus | Policies

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Drug Free Campus

College Policy of a Drug Free Campus.

Owner: Public Safety

Tags: AP

Drug-Free Campus Policy

Teachers College (the “College”) is committed to creating and maintaining an environment for its students, staff, and faculty that is free of illicit drug and alcohol use. The College recognizes that the abuse of drugs and alcohol is a potentially strong threat to the College, to its educational mission and programs, and to the safety and well-being of the community as a whole. Accordingly, while several offices of the College are prepared to assist individuals seeking corrective help for drug or alcohol-related problems, it is the College’s policy that the unlawful manufacture, possession, use, or distribution of drugs and other controlled substances on or about the campus or any site of a College-sponsored or sanctioned activity is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.

Teachers College is committed to adopting and implementing programs, including awareness campaigns and counseling programs that may be needed to prevent the unlawful manufacture, possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by all students and employees on campus or as part of any of our activities.

Federal, state and local laws address the unlawful manufacture, possession, use, or distribution of drugs and other controlled substances, determine when drug and alcohol use is illegal, and set the legal sanctions for such laws.  The College and all of its members are subject to these laws as well as College disciplinary policies which also prohibit such illegal behavior.

The sale, service, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages at Teachers College is governed by the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, by other New York State and New York City laws, and by College policy.  To review the College’s Alcohol Policy see: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/policylibrary/publicsafety/alcohol-policy-/


Health and Other Effects of Drugs and Alcohol

Abuse of alcohol and drugs can have serious effects on the abusers, their families, friends and communities.  Some of these effects are listed below. Mindful of these risks, the College provides counseling, treatment, and educational programs to help those who abuse alcohol and drugs and those who may be affected by this abuse.  This Policy also identifies external assistance programs.

A.  Alcohol Risks

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) identifies “alcohol-related problems and impairments such as liver disease, gastritis, anemia, neurological disorders, impairments in cognition, [and] changes in mood or behavior.”  Alcohol consumption also presents serious health risks to pregnant women and can cause birth defects.   For more information, please see: https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol/facts-about-alcohol.

Alcohol abuse, including excessive or "binge" drinking, can also seriously affect academic and work performance.  Alcohol abuse can also lead to behaviors that are destructive, violent, or asocial.

In some cases excessive consumption of alcohol can directly or indirectly lead to death.

B.  Risks of Drugs and Controlled Substances

Effects of drugs vary greatly but are similar to the effects of alcohol in that drugs often pose serious health risks, impair cognition, and change mood and behavior.  Drug abuse can also directly or indirectly lead to death. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has prepared a listing of Commonly Abused Drugs showing their common street names, their effects and possible treatment options.  For more information, please see: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts.


Assistance Programs

Teachers College is committed to the education of its students regarding the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. While vigorously enforced policies and sanctions are essential to protect the safety and well-being of the community as a whole, we believe that the best way to achieve and maintain the objective of a drug-free campus and community is through compassionate attention and preventive education. To that end, the College provides on-campus support programs and referral services for those who may require help with alcohol and drug-related problems. For any member of the College community who may have developed an alcohol or drug-related problem, who suspects that they are at risk of developing such a problem, or who seeks information about illegal or controlled substances, support programs and services are provided on a voluntary and confidential basis.

A.  Campus Drug and Alcohol Counseling Programs


B.   Off-Campus Hotline Information

  • The Alcoholism Council of New York Help Line - (212) 252-7022

                                       -  National materials: http://www.aa.org/

  •  Cocaine Anonymous – (877) 958-8012 - www.canewyork.org 
  •  LIFENET– (800) 543-3638
  •  LIFENET En Español – (877) 298-3373
  •  Narcotics Anonymous – (212) 929-6262 – www.na.org
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - (800) NCA-CALL  (800) 622-2255 www.ncadd.org
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – (301) 496-4000 -  www.niaaa.nih.gov
  • New York City Department of Mental Health, Bureau of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services – (877) 846-7369
  • Pills Anonymous - (212) 874-0700


College Sanctions   

Abuse of drugs or alcohol is a violation of the College’s Student Conduct Code for which the College may impose its own penalties. Any student found in violation of the College’s policies regarding the unlawful manufacture, possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs, alcohol or other controlled substances on College premises or at any College-sponsored or sanctioned activity is subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, warning, censure, disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion. Please refer to the Student Conduct Code  for more information.  In addition to College sanctions, individuals who violate alcohol and drug laws may be subject to federal, state or local criminal prosecution and suspension of financial aid.

The use of alcohol or drugs is never an excuse for committing any College policy violation.  Regarding gender-based misconduct, the use of alcohol or drugs never makes someone at fault for experiencing gender-based misconduct and does not diminish anyone’s responsibility to obtain informed and freely given consent to sexual activity.

The health and safety of every student at the College is of utmost importance. Anyone in the presence of a severely intoxicated or apparently impaired person is encouraged to contact appropriate College or local medical or safety personnel immediately.  The College recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that gender-based misconduct occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct.  Because the College strongly encourages students to report gender-based misconduct (including but not limited to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking) to College employees, the College has adopted the following policy: A student (including a bystander), acting in good faith, who discloses any incident of gender-based misconduct to a College employee or law enforcement will not be subject to subsequent disciplinary action by the College for violations related to the possession and/or use of alcohol and/or drugs occurring at or near the time of the gender-based misconduct, whether use and/or possession is intentional or accidental. This does not apply to those who use alcohol or drugs as a weapon or to facilitate assault.


Laws Concerning Controlled Substances

Federal, state and local laws determine when drug and alcohol manufacture, possession, use, or distribution is illegal and set the legal sanctions for violations.  Under federal, state and local laws, drug and alcohol offenses can result not only in fines and lengthy criminal sentences but also in the forfeiture of personal and real property and the denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses.

A.  Penalties under Federal Law

  • Federal law criminalizes possession of controlled substances as well as drug trafficking and related crimes.  Information about federal criminal law and sanctions can be found at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/­21usc/­index.html (controlled substances act; see Part D for offenses and penalties) and www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/ftp3.shtml (trafficking offenses).
  • Drug offenses at or near educational institutions carry enhanced penalties.  Anyone found to have manufactured, distributed, or dispensed, or possessed with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance in or on, or within one thousand feet of, the real property comprising a public or private elementary, vocational, or secondary school or a public or private college, junior college, or university is subject to (1) twice the maximum punishment authorized; and (2) at least twice any term of supervised release for a first offense. A fine up to twice that authorized may be imposed in addition to any term of imprisonment authorized.  For additional information please see: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/860.htm

B.  Penalties under State and Local Law  

New York State law also criminalizes possession of controlled substances and related crimes:


The New York City Administrative Code also addresses alcohol and drug-related crimes:   


Suspension of Financial Aid Eligibility for Drug Offenses

The Higher Education Act generally provides that a student who has been convicted of any federal or state offense involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance for conduct that occurred while the student was receiving any federal grant, loan or work assistance is not eligible for any other federal grant, loan, or work assistance during the period beginning on the date of conviction and ending after the interval specified below: 

The penalties are:

Possession of a controlled substance:

  • First offense – One year ineligibility
  • Second offense – Two year ineligibility
  • Third offense – Indefinite loss of aid

Sale of a controlled substance:

  • First offense – Two year ineligibility
  • Second offense – Indefinite loss of aid

A conviction for multiple counts of possession or sale is considered a single conviction.  Juvenile court convictions are not considered.

Students whose eligibility has been suspended can be reinstated if the conviction is reversed or set aside, or if the student completes an eligible rehabilitation program.


Biennial Review Procedures

The College’s Campus Safety Advisory Committee shall review this policy biennially, on even-numbered years to evaluate the effectiveness of the College’s drug prevention policies and programs and to ensure that any College disciplinary sanctions are applied in a fair and consistent manner. A written report of the biennial review shall be prepared and submitted to the Assistant Vice President, Public Safety and Environmental Health, and to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, and made available to others as required by law.

The College’s Campus Safety Advisory Committee may propose changes to policies and programs and recommend action to correct any inconsistent application of sanctions for drug and alcohol offenses by the College. Those recommendations shall be reviewed for action by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, and the Assistant Vice President, Public Safety and Environmental Health.  College is committed to be responsive to the needs of its students, faculty and staff in continuing to develop policies, programs and enforcement schemes that prevent drug and alcohol abuse and comply with all regulatory requirements.


Responsible office: The Office of Public Safety

Last updated: October 1, 2020

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