Drugs and Alcohol - Policies and Prevention Programs

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 seehttps://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

● Alice! Health Promotion – (212) 854-5453 - www.health.columbia.edu 
● Columbia University Counseling & Psychological Services - (212) 854-2878
● Columbia University Medical Services - (212) 854-7426 www.health.columbia.edu 
● Teachers College Office of the Ombuds - Dr. Stephen Peverly - (212) 678 4169 http://www.tc.edu/ombuds 
● Opioid Education and Naloxone Training:

B. Off-Campus Hotline Information:

● The Alcoholism Council of New York Help Line - (212) 252-7022
● Alcoholics Anonymous – in NY: (212) 647-1680 - http://www.nyintergroup.org 
● National AA 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 in the DEA Drugs of Abuse Resource Guide and DEA Drug Trafficking Penalties Guide. 

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: 21 U.S.C. § 860 - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 21. Food and Drugs § 860. Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools and colleges. 

B. Penalties under State and Local Law

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

 New York Penal Law Article 220  (controlled substances)
 New York Penal Law Article 222 (marijuana)
 New York Penal Law Article 120 (vehicular assault, sections120.03-04.)
 NYS DMV Penalties for alcohol or drug related violations.  

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

 New York City Administrative Code -- Public Safety  

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
Vice President for Finance and Administration and made available to others as required by law.
It is the responsibility of Assistant Vice President, Public Safety and Environmental Health to
propose changes to policies and programs and take action to correct any inconsistent application
of sanctions for drug and alcohol offenses by the College. The 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:  November 7th, 2022

Alcohol Policy

Policy regarding alcoholic beverages. Applicable to faculty, staff and students.

Owner: Public Safety


Tags: AP

The sale, service, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages at Teachers College (“College”) is governed by the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Law and other New York State and New York City laws and by College policy.

Teachers College is committed to providing an academic, living and working environment that supports individual freedom while promoting individual responsibility, health and safety, and community welfare. It is based on these laws and principles that Teachers College has developed this policy concerning the sale, service, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

This policy is applicable to the following situations:
(1) All events at Teachers College and/or its student residence halls at which alcoholic beverages are served or sold;
(2) All events, on and off the Teachers College campus, that are sponsored by the College or by any College organization, department or office; and
(3) All Teachers College activities, whether they occur at the College or not.

Possession and Consumption
1. Persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol at the College, within its student residence halls or at any event, on or off campus, sponsored by any College organization, department or office.

Sale and Service
1. No person shall be sold or served any alcoholic beverage if:

a. That person is, or appears to be, under the legal drinking age of 21; or
b. That person is, or seems to be intoxicated.

2. No person under the age of 21 shall misrepresent or proffer any false evidence of their age in order to obtain or try to obtain any alcoholic beverage or to gain access to any event or activity at which any alcoholic beverage is being sold or served.

3. No alcoholic beverage shall be sold to any person unless:

a. A license or permit sanctioning the sale of such alcoholic beverage has be obtained by the seller; and
b. The license or permit sanctioning such sale and any posters, signs, notices or other material or information required by applicable law or by the State Liquor Authority are prominently displayed at the site of such sales.


1. The “Sponsor” is the individual(s) and/or group(s) sponsoring an event or activity on or off the Teachers College campus and/or it’s student residence halls at which alcoholic beverages are to be sold or served.

2. The Sponsor shall be responsible for ensuring that all laws and regulations and all Teachers College policies regarding the sale, service, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages are complied with at such event or activity including:

a. The event or activity must comply with this Policy, including effective procedures for examining attendee’s evidence of age;
b. As part of the request to use College facilities, the Sponsor must notify Room Assignments of any event or activity at which alcoholic beverages are to be sold or served.
c. Student groups sponsoring events or activities on or off Teachers College campus and/or it’s student residence halls at which alcoholic beverages are to be sold or served must notify the Office of Student Affairs prior to the event and comply with the requirements regarding student organizations.
d. The Sponsor shall instruct the person or persons actually selling or serving the alcoholic beverages not to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to any person who is or appears to be intoxicated, or whom such seller or server knows to be a problem drinker, or who is or appears to be under the legal drinking age. In addition, specific policies, procedures and regulations governing particular facilities or populations may be developed by the persons or offices authorized to do so in conjunction with the Office of Public Safety.

1. Actions or situations that recklessly or intentionally endanger mental or physical health or involve forced consumption of alcohol or drugs in connection with initiation into or affiliation with any organization are strictly prohibited.
2. 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 and the impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person and there is no specific amount of alcohol or drugs consumed that leads to incapacitation.[1]
3. Violations of this policy or of any related laws are subject to College disciplinary codes and policies. Sanctions which may be assessed against violators include: Suspension and expulsion for students and discharge for employees. Visitors who violate this Policy may be removed from the event or activity, from the campus and/or banned from the College.

Criminal Penalities
1. Faculty, staff and students and others affiliated with the College also should be aware that, in addition to College sanctions, violators may be subject to criminal penalties for unlawful manufacture, possession, service or sale of alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 21 years. [2]

1. AVI is the recognized caterer for all College events and activities. A bartender must be retained and the costs covered by the organization, department or office hosting the event or activity. Arrangements for catering and bartending services must be confirmed in advance with Teachers College Public Safety and Room Assignments.

For smaller and informal events (10 attendees and under), organizations, departments and offices may serve wine or beer without hiring a bartender, provided the following standards are met and service is consistent with applicable laws and does not create undue risk for the TC community:
1. There must be no charge for alcoholic beverages or for the event
2. Alcoholic beverages must be purchased from a licenses vendor
3. Open alcoholic beverages remaining after the event must be properly discarded
4. All unopened alcoholic beverages must be stored in a location where they are not available to passersby
5. Signs must be posted at the doors to the event location indicating that alcoholic beverages may not be taken beyond that location
6. New York law forbids serving alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 or to anyone “disorderly, visibly intoxicated, or known to be a habitual drunkard.” The Office of Public Safety must be contacted at 212-678-3333 immediately if anyone in attendance at the event or activity is disorderly or visibly intoxicated.
7. When alcoholic beverages are served, alternative beverages and food must be provided.
8. The Sponsor must be responsible for complying with these procedures and that representative’s contact information must be provided to room assignments at least two weeks prior to the event or activity.

To ensure the fluidity of the event or activity, the College recommends that the sponsoring organization, department or office follows approved catering vendor processes.

For rules, policies and regulations regarding the student residence halls, please refer to the Residential Services Contract.

Responsible office: Office to Public Safety
Last updated: October 19, 2022

[1] For additional information about the relationship between alcohol and drugs and gender-based misconduct, please see the Columbia University/Teachers College Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures for Students.

[2] For information about relevant federal, state and local alcohol laws, please see the Teachers College Drug Free Campus Policy and the Teachers College Drug Free Workplace Policy

Drug Free Workplace

Policy regarding drug free workplace (employees) HR Policy 408.

Owner: Vice President for Administration


Tags: HR



       To establish Teachers College policy and procedure pertaining to unlawful use, distribution or possession of drugs or alcohol in its workplace. 

2.0   SCOPE

       This policy applies to all employees.


       The interpretation and administration of this policy shall be the responsibility of the Human Resources Officer.

4.0   POLICY

4.1  The College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, sales, possession or use of any drug or substance by its employees and in its facilities.  The sale, service, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages at Teachers College is governed by the New York State Alcoholic Control Law and by other laws of the State of New York, as indicated in TC policy. See www.tc.edu/policylibrary/Alcoholic Beverages

4.2  Any College employee who violates the College's policy or who is convicted of a drug-related crime is subject to the College's disciplinary procedures, up to and including termination. Where appropriate, an employee who has violated the College’s policy may be required to participate satisfactorily in a drug or alcohol abuse assistance or rehabilitation program as a condition of continued employment.

4.3  The College must certify to contracting government agencies that it provides a drug-free workplace in connection with its government contracts.  All employees are therefore given and required to sign a statement explaining the policy.  The College complies with its legal obligation to notify the federal government of any employee’s workplace-related drug conviction.

4.4   Each College employee agrees, as a condition of employment, to abide by this policy and to notify his or her supervisor no later than five (5) days after any conviction under a criminal drug statute.

4.5   Reasonable efforts will be made to assist an employee who comes forth and discloses that s/he is known to be a substance abuser. The College will endeavor to make supervisors aware of the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace.


Responsible office: Human Resources 

Last updated: November 9, 2015

TC Employees may contact Human Resources for more information about drug and alcohol treatment programs.   They may also contact TC's Employee Assistance Program.

Smoke-Free Campus

Policy regarding smoke-free campus.

Owner: Public Safety


To establish Teachers College policy and procedure in conforming with NYS and NYC regulations pertaining to smoking or vaping tobacco and/or nicotine products on College property. 

This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

The interpretation and administration of this policy shall be the responsibility of the Director of Public Safety or their equivalent.

NYS Public Health Law, Article 13-E, known as the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA,) prohibits the smoking of tobacco products and use of vapor products in nearly all indoor and certain outdoor public and workplaces.

The NYC Smoke Free Air Act (SFAA) prohibits smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes in most workplaces and public spaces. This applies to any substance, including cannabis, and includes areas near hospital entrances, in parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. The SFAA also prohibits the use of smokeless tobacco at sports arenas and recreational areas that issue tickets.

Therefore, and in accordance with the NYC Smoke-Free Air Act and the NYS Clean Indoor Air Act, the College prohibits smoking of any kind, the use of smokeless tobacco products, the use of e-cigarettes, and the use of vaping devices of any kind in all College buildings and common areas including private offices, lounges, rooftops, residence halls, including rooms and apartments, and the Russell Courtyard. Smoking is also prohibited within fifty (50) feet of all building entrances.

Smoking, vaping, smokeless tobacco use, and e-cigarette use where prohibited is a violation of both Teachers College policy and, in most cases, New York City and State law. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action within TC as well as legal penalties.

Violations of the Smoke-Free Campus Policy should be reported to the Office of Public
Safety by telephone at number 212-678-3333, or by email to publicsafety@tc.edu.

Responsible Office: Public Safety
Last Updated: October 19th, 2022

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