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Student Handbook

Alcohol and Illegal Drug Policy

Hamilton College Alcohol Policy

I. Introduction

The Hamilton College alcohol policy and related educational programs are designed to promote responsible decision-making concerning the use of alcohol in this community. The College expects all members of the community to be respectful of the rights of others in order to contribute to an environment conducive to education and personal growth. Intoxication is never justification for behavior that violates the standards of conduct and expectations of the College.

This policy reflects local and state laws governing the use and distribution of alcohol, recognizing the rights of individuals who are 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol in a legal manner. The College expects community members to abide by the laws of New York State and the policies of the College. Any member of the community, including resident advisors and Campus Safety personnel, may confront and detain students whose behavior is in violation of these policies. Sanctions, ranging from one judicial point to separation from the College, may be imposed upon students who violate this policy, or other policies of the College.

II. Summary of New York State Laws Governing Alcohol

Under New York State law it is illegal:
  1. To provide alcohol to persons under the age of 21 or to persons who are visibly intoxicated. Providing alcohol to persons under the age of 21 is a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or 3 years probation;
  2. To misrepresent the age of a person under the age of 21 for the purpose of inducing a sale of alcohol. Those found guilty of violating this law shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200, or by imprisonment for not more than five days, or by both fine and imprisonment;
  3. For a person under the age of 21 to possess alcohol with the intent to consume it. Those found guilty of violating this law shall be punished by a fine of not more than $50 and/or required to complete an alcohol awareness program and/or required to provide up to 30 hours of community service;
  4. For any person under the age of 21 to present or offer any written evidence of age which is false, fraudulent or not actually his own, for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol. Those found guilty of violating this law shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100, and/or required to complete an alcohol awareness program and/or required to provide up to 30 hours of community service. Additionally, if it is found that a New York State driver's license was the written evidence of age used for the purpose of the purchase or attempted purchase, the person's license to drive a motor vehicle may be suspended for 90 days. Lastly, alteration of the required forms of identification (driver's license, passport or armed forces ID card) may constitute "possession of a forged instrument… with intent to defraud," which is a Class D felony under New York State penal law.
  5. To sell alcohol, including charging admission at the door of an event where alcohol is distributed free of charge, without an Alcoholic Beverage Control license. Under New York State civil law the provider of alcohol may be liable for any damages or injuries caused by an intoxicated person.

III. General Policies

  1. Persons 21 years of age and older may possess and consume alcohol in residence hall rooms, suites and apartments.
  2. Open containers of alcohol are not permitted in public areas. Public areas include, but are not limited to, academic buildings, residence hall lounges and hallways, and outdoors. For purposes of this policy, suite lounges are not considered public areas.
  3. Gatherings with bulk alcohol (defined as any quantity of beer in excess of two cases (48 twelve oz. cans), or the alcohol equivalent of wine or liquor) are not permitted in the residence halls (except where noted below). Kegs, beer balls and/or taps are not permitted in residence halls (except where noted below). Empty kegs may not be stored in residence halls.
  4. Gatherings with bulk alcohol are permitted in College designated social spaces (Bristol Center Hub, Bundy Dining Hall, Beinecke Annex A & B, and Emerson Hall [ELS] basement). Social hosts are required to comply with the "Policy for Student-Sponsored Social Events," published here and in A Guide to Social Programming available in the Office of Student Activities.
  5. The College reserves the right to notify the parents or guardian of a student who is transported to the hospital for an alcohol or drug-related overdose, and to require that the student participate in an educational program on alcohol and/or other drugs. The College may also choose to notify parents or guardian of any alcohol or drug-related violation.

IV. Hamilton College Policy for Student-Sponsored Social Events With Alcohol

Students over 21 years of age who have attended the Social Host Preparation Workshop and TIPS Training may host social events with alcohol in College designated areas provided the events are conducted in accordance with the following policies:

  1. Events must be registered and implemented in accordance with the regulations set forth by the Student Activities Office.
  2. Provision and consumption of alcohol must comply with Hamilton College policy and New York State law, which prohibit dispensing alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, or to any visibly intoxicated person. The social host(s) will be held personally and individually accountable for ensuring that the event is conducted in a safe, responsible, and legal manner, in accordance with these regulations. Social hosts who violate these regulations will be subject to disciplinary action through the College judicial process that may include separation from the College. Social hosts may also be subject to criminal sanctions and/or civil liability if a person to whom alcohol is served injures a third party. In addition, organizations may also be held accountable for events that violate these regulations.
  3. The hosts of student-sponsored events with alcohol are responsible for the actions of their guests, whether invited or uninvited, and will be held responsible for damages to the area where the event is held, as well as entries and bathrooms used by guests. All events must be conducted in a safe, responsible, and legal manner that is not disruptive to the surrounding area. Campus Safety will close any gathering that fails to meet this requirement and disciplinary action will follow.
  4. The yellow copy of the Social Host Responsibility Form (SHRF) must be prominently displayed throughout the duration of the event. Failure to do so may result in termination of the event.
  5. The social host(s) must be present at all times while alcohol is available and/or served.
  6. The social host(s) will refrain from consuming alcohol and remain sober for the duration of the event.
  7. The social host(s) will not exceed the amount of alcohol approved on the Social Host Responsibility Form (SHRF).
  8. The social host(s) and sponsoring organization are responsible for enforcing the NO SMOKING policy in College facilities.
  9. Members of the sponsoring organization must staff the entrance to the event at all times.
  10. Proper identification indicating that a guest is 21 years of age must be presented before alcohol is served. Hamilton College Little Pub Accepted Identification cards are the preferred form of identification.
  11. Hosts must identify students of legal drinking age with bracelets provided by the Student Activities Office.
  12. Only TIPS-trained servers may dispense alcohol to any person at the event.
  13. Non-alcoholic beverages and food must be easily accessible and provided in quantities appropriate for the number in attendance.
  14. The sale of alcohol, including charging admission at the door of an event where alcohol is distributed free of charge, IS PROHIBITED. It is illegal to sell alcohol without an Alcoholic Beverage Control License from the New York State Liquor Authority.
  15. College funds may not be used to purchase alcohol unless the alcohol is served by a third-party, licensed vendor.
  16. Social events with alcohol may not be scheduled during New Student Orientation, reading, or exam periods.
  17. Alcohol may not be served after 2AM.
  18. Cleanup of the area must be completed by 7AM the morning after the event.
  19. Public advertising (including campus email announcements) of events may not mention alcohol.

V. Educational Programs

Intervention and support programs are offered through the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services, the Student Health Center and the Dean of Students Office, as well as in the town of Clinton and surrounding communities. For further information, please refer to Section III of the Illegal Drugs Policy or contact the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services.

For additional information about the College alcohol and drug policy, please contact the Dean of Students Office.

The above information on alcohol and other drugs is presented in accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.(Adapted with permission from Drug-Free Communities: Turning Awareness into Action, by the Office for Substance Abuse Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1989; and Complying with the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations: A Guide for University and College Administrators, by The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, US Department of Education)

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