Alcohol & Other Drug Policy

Bates seeks to educate the whole person in a collaborative residential community. As members and stewards of this residential community, we have a shared responsibility to cultivate the living and learning environment we desire through our daily words and actions. Our actions, both as individuals and as a collective, shape our environment. As such, our alcohol and other drug policies address those behaviors that negatively impact other individuals and thus the community we all are charged with creating and maintaining.

To address alcohol and marijuana use and abuse in a clear and consistent manner, we have adopted a policy that acknowledges the inherent risk or health implications, including risk of dependency, of certain behaviors to both individuals and the community. For example, we have a hard alcohol ban because the abuse of hard alcohol often leads to extreme intoxication, resulting in transports to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, injury to self and others, and in the most extreme cases, alcohol-related death. Similarly, it is considered more serious when an alcohol or marijuana violation is combined with another violation (such as disorderly conduct, a fire safety violation, dorm damage, or not complying with the directions of an employee of the college). These more serious violations are considered Level II Violations.

Incidents involving operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the distribution of marijuana, or involving illegal drugs other than marijuana typically result in a referral to the Student Conduct Committee. These referrals to the Student Conduct Committee typically result in suspension or expulsion and may include police involvement.

Keeping in mind a holistic perspective of student development, we know that patterns of behavior may be indicative of more serious issues. For this reason, policy violations remain with students throughout their tenure at Bates College. For incidents where other violations are involved or where the conduct is particularly egregious, sanctions in addition to the ones listed below may be required. Such incidents may also be referred to the Student Conduct Committee where sanctions of suspension and expulsion are considered.

Incidents not involving alcohol or other drugs are not considered part of this policy, but they may be considered when determining the outcome of alcohol and other drug violations. Similarly, alcohol and other drug violations may be considered when determining the outcome of cases not involving alcohol or other drugs.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and there remains evidence that the use and abuse of marijuana can impact one’s health. As such, even though marijuana possession and use have been legalized in the state of Maine, the use, possession, and distribution of marijuana on campus remain prohibited except for those with a medical written certification that is valid in the state of Maine. For those with a valid written certification, all other campus policies (such as the prohibition on smoking in residence halls) still apply.

Level I Violation

  • Possession or consumption of non-hard alcohol (beer or wine) by an individual under the age of 21
  • Possession or use of marijuana

Level I Violations typically result in a warning letter sent to the student involved. Accumulation of three Level I Violations will result in a Level II Violation.

Level II Violations

  • Possession or consumption of hard alcohol or any beverage containing hard alcohol by any student on the premises of the College, at any college-sponsored event, or while the student is engaged in a college-related activity
  • Use of a fake ID to purchase alcohol
  • Furnishing alcohol to an individual or individuals under the age of 21
  • Underage possession or consumption of alcohol combined with an additional violation such as disorderly conduct, damage to college property, or not complying with the directions of a college official
  • Possession or use of marijuana combined with an additional violation such as a fire safety violation (ie. smoking in a residence hall or covering a smoke detector) or not complying with the directions of a college official
  • Accumulating three Level I Violations

First Level II Violation

A first Level II Violation will result in a meeting with a member of the Student Affairs staff. A warning will be issued, and a written copy of the warning will be sent to the student. A copy will also be placed in the individual student’s file. If needed, the student may be referred to Counseling and Psychological Services for additional support related to the violation.

Second Level II Violation

A second Level II Violation will result in a meeting with a member of the Student Affairs staff. The student will be required to complete an alcohol and other drug intervention program. Additionally, a reflection paper may be required. If needed, the student may be referred to Counseling and Psychological Services for additional support related to the violation. An outcome letter will be sent to the student, a copy will be placed in the student’s file, and a copy will be sent home to the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s).

At the meeting with the staff member, the student will be notified that an additional Level II Violation will result in a referral to the Student Conduct Committee where a one semester suspension is the likely outcome.

Third Level II Violation

A third Level II Violation will result in a referral to the Student Conduct Committee for adjudication where the likely outcome will be a one semester suspension from Bates College.

Medical Amnesty

In situations where a student has contacted Security or Bates EMS for medical treatment either for themselves or for a fellow student, neither the student calling nor the student receiving medical attention will receive a violation through the student conduct system. Students transported to the hospital in association with the consumption of alcohol or marijuana will have a conversation with the College’s alcohol, tobacco and other drug counselor, and a letter will be sent home to their parents. If a student is transported to the hospital more than once, college staff will explore whether a medical leave of absence is appropriate.

Situations involving a transport to the hospital as a result of illegal drugs other than marijuana or involving other violations (such as assault, disorderly conduct, etc.) fall outside the scope of the medical amnesty policy and may be handled through the student conduct system.