Hamline Policies

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Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use

Owner: Dean of Students

Pertains to: All students

Description: Hamline University is concerned with preventing the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol on campus and in connection with activities sponsored by or affiliated with a Hamline University program, class or organization. Hamline also has an interest in educating students regarding the physical and psychological hazards of the use of illegal drugs and alcohol abuse, and increasing student sensitivity to the ways in which substance abuse interferes with the rights and privileges of others.


Hamline University has a tradition of students acting responsibly and refraining from actions that are damaging to themselves, to others, or to the university. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own conduct and to comply with federal, state and local laws, as well as with Hamline University's policy, regarding alcohol and drugs use. Hamline University prohibits the purchase, use, possession, sale, transfer or distribution of illegal drugs, and being under the influence of illegal drugs, on university property or in university sponsored or affiliated activities. Students also are expected to act lawfully and in accordance with this policy with respect to the purchase, consumption, possession and distribution of alcoholic beverages.

Health Risks of the Use of Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

The use of any mind or mood-altering substance, including alcohol, can lead to psychological dependence, which is defined as a need or craving for the substance and feelings of restlessness, tension, or anxiety when the substance is not used. In addition, with many substances, use can lead to physical tolerance, characterized by the need for increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the same effect, and/or physical dependence, characterized by the onset of unpleasant or painful physiological symptoms when the substance is no longer being used. As tolerance and psychological or physical dependence develop, judgment becomes impaired and people often do not realize they are losing control over the use of the substance and they need help.

Alcohol acts as a depressant to the central nervous system and can cause serious short and long-term damage. Short-term effects include nausea, vomiting, and ulcers; more chronic abuse can lead to brain, liver, kidney, and heart damage and even eventual death. Ingesting a large amount of alcohol at one time can lead to alcohol poisoning, coma, and death. Drugs such as LSD, amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol alter emotion, cognition, perception, physiology, and behavior in a variety of ways. Health risks include, but are not limited to, depression, apathy, hallucinations, paranoia, and impaired judgment.

Abuse of either alcohol or drugs during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects, spontaneous abortion, and stillbirths. It is impossible to accurately predict how an individual will react to a specific drug or to alcohol because effects vary depending on the person, environmental variables, the dosage and potency of the substance, the method of taking the substance, and the chronicity of use, and whether the substance is taken in conjunction with other substances. Illegal drugs have partially unpredictable effects due to variability in dosage and purity. When two or more substances are combined, there is often an effect that is stronger than their additive sum.

Assistance for Alcohol Abuse and/or Illegal Drug Use

Hamline University is committed to education and counseling as the primary focus of its substance abuse policy and programs and provides confidential, professional assistance for students. Students are urged to seek information and help regarding substance abuse for themselves or their friends. A variety of services including counseling, educational materials, and/or referrals are available at the following offices:

  • Counseling and Health Services Center, 651-523-2204
  • Dean of Students Office, 651-523-2421
  • Residential Life Office, 651-523-2061

Local resources within the Twin Cities area also are available. Please note that it is not the university’s role or responsibility to protect members of the university community from their own use or abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs. 

Federal, State and Local Laws Applicable to Illegal Drug Use and Alcohol Abuse 

Federal, state and local laws establish severe penalties for the unlawful use, purchase, possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. Upon conviction, these sanctions may range from a fine and probation to lengthy imprisonment. In the case of possession or distribution of illegal drugs, these sanctions could include seizure and the summary forfeiture of property, including vehicles.

Foreign country laws apply to students studying abroad. Students studying abroad must comply with Hamline’s prohibitions regarding illegal drugs and comply with the laws of the countries visited regarding drugs and alcohol.

Hamline Policy Applicable to Alcohol Use and Illegal Drug Use

Illegal Drugs

The purchase, use, possession, sale, transfer or distribution of illegal drugs and paraphernalia and being under the influence of illegal drugs, is prohibited on university property and in connection with any activity, on or off campus, sponsored by or affiliated with a Hamline University program, class, or organization.

Marijuana has been legalized in some states, but is still illegal in Minnesota and under federal law. As such, Hamline prohibits the purchase, use, possession, sale, transfer or distribution of marijuana on university property and in connection with any activity sponsored by or affiliated with a Hamline University program, class, or organization, even for students participating in a Hamline activity in a state in which marijuana has been legalized.


Consumption or Display in Public
Consumption or display of alcoholic beverages is prohibited from the public grounds of the university, including athletic facilities, lawns, property bordering city sidewalks, windows, walkways and parking lots.

Service/Consumption by Minors and To Those Intoxicated
Alcohol may not be served to, purchased for, consumed by, or possessed by anyone under the age of twenty-one (21) years.

Alcohol may not be served or furnished to any person who is intoxicated.

Service at Events
On Campus Events – sponsored and/or funded by student organizations
All student organizations wishing to serve alcohol as part of an organized event, may do so by adhering to the Policy for Serving Alcohol at Events.

Off Campus Events – sponsored and/or funded by student organizations
Any event sponsored and/or funded by a student organization wishing to serve or provide alcohol at an off campus event needs the approval of the dean of its respective school. Undergraduate student organizations approval is through the Dean of Students Office.

Purchase of Alcohol with Fees
Undergraduate student fees or any proceeds from an event may not be used for the purchase of alcohol.

Study Abroad
Students studying abroad must comply with all requirements of the study abroad program regarding alcohol and drugs, including compliance with the laws of the countries visited while studying abroad.

Residence Halls and University Owned/Regulated Houses

Consumption of alcoholic beverages by individual students of legal age within the confines of their own residence hall rooms with the door shut are not subject to this policy so as long as it does not take place in corridors, lounges or common areas, and as long as the rights of other students or neighbors to an orderly environment and reasonable quiet are not infringed upon. The same applies to individuals of legal age in university owned or regulated houses, as long as consumption does not take place on porches, lawns or other public areas. Minors (individuals under 21 years of age) may not be in the presence of alcohol or empty alcohol beverage containers (same room), and individuals over the age of 21 may not consume or possess alcohol in the presence of a minor. In addition:

  • All alcohol beverages in residence halls and apartments must be in single serving or bottles not to exceed 2 liters. No kegs or party balls are allowed in residence halls, apartments, and houses.

  • Alcoholic beverage containers, whether empty or full, are not to be displayed in any areas of the campus including residence hall/house/apartment individual rooms, public areas, and windows.

  • No alcohol may be consumed in residence hall rooms in which any of the occupants are underage, regardless of whether or not a minor is present.

  • Students who exhibit disorderly behavior inside residential buildings or on residential grounds as a result of intoxication may be held in violation of this policy whether or not the alcohol is consumed in the residential building. This policy applies to everyone, regardless of age or residency status.

  • In apartments and houses, alcoholic beverages may only be consumed by of-age residents and their of-age guests. In houses, residents may consume alcohol in living rooms and kitchens and other public areas only if there are no guests present.

  • Incapacitated students or guests: Students not responsible or incapacitated due to alcohol consumption or other drugs are in violation of this policy and the university reserves the right to contact emergency professionals to transport to area hospitals or detox areas in St. Paul. Detox units are defined as areas in the cities (usually at a hospital or emergency room) that has a specialty in dealing with intoxicated people.

Guests and visitors to Hamline University are responsible to follow all Hamline policies. Hamline University students are responsible for the guests they bring to campus and to Hamline activities and may be held accountable for their guest’s behavior.

Amnesty (Good Samaritan) Provision for Illegal Drug/Alcohol Violations

When on campus and assisting an individual who is intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs and who needs medical assistance or assistance due to a sexual assault by alerting university staff (e.g., RA, residence professional staff member, Office of Safety & Security) or other appropriate authorities, neither the impaired individual nor those who seek such help will be subject to formal disciplinary action for violation of this policy.

Those calling for help must remain with the impaired student until university staff arrives. In order for this policy to apply, impaired students must follow the medical, health, and safety recommendations of the assisting staff. While no official disciplinary report will be filed in a student’s record, impaired individuals may be required by the Dean of Students to follow-up by completing alcohol/drug education programs, chemical use assessment and/or treatment depending on the level of concern for their health and safety. If a student does not comply with the recommendations of the Dean, he or she will be subject to additional sanctions through a formal disciplinary process. The additional sanctions may include disciplinary probation up to and including suspension or expulsion.

Hamline University is committed to the health, well-being, and safety of its students. This amnesty (Good Samaritan) provision is designed to be used when, in the judgment of others, a student needs medical assistance because of drug or alcohol use or is impaired and needs assistance due to a sexual assault. It is intended to encourage students to come forward without fear of disciplinary action being taken against the impaired student or those who seek to help them. This provision is based upon the premise that failure to call for medical assistance in an alcohol or drug related emergency or an emergency involving a sexual assault is a violation of our community standards.

This amnesty (Good Samaritan) provision applies to alcohol/drug infractions only. It does not apply to the individuals responsible for infractions such as property damage, hazing, harassment, or physical or sexual assault. When necessary, the Dean of Students will render the final decision regarding whether the amnesty (Good Samaritan) provision can be applied in a particular situation. The university cannot guarantee that criminal charges will not be brought against the student if local law enforcement officials are required for assistance during the incident. In cases in which a student is transported to the hospital or a detoxification center for a medical emergency and is unconscious or otherwise in serious physical jeopardy, parental notification by university officials may occur, not for the purpose of disciplinary action, but as a health and safety measure.

Sanctions for Violation of Law and/or Hamline Policy Regarding Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use

Hamline University will impose sanctions on individuals and organizations that violate this policy. These sanctions will be consistently enforced and penalties will depend on the severity of the offense. The Dean of Students in the Student Affairs division will deal with violations and disciplinary action.

Penalties can include expulsion from the university and referral for prosecution for violations of the law. A student who is found, for example, to be selling illegal drugs or providing alcohol to minors may be suspended or expelled from the university, even for a first offense. Sanctions for less severe offenses may include, but are not limited to, the following: verbal and written warnings, the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program, and suspension for the repeat offender. An event may be closed immediately or other intervention may be taken to correct a violation. Disciplinary action may be invoked apart from any civil or criminal penalties that the student might incur.