VI.G. The University Alcohol and Drug Policy

VI.G. The University Alcohol and Drug Policy

(Source: Resolution of the Executive Board of Trustees, February 13, 1970; Office of the President, Almanac, July 12, 1994; revised, Almanac, September 7, 1999; Offices of the President and Provost, revised, Almanac, March 1, 2005)

The University Alcohol and Drug Policy, like other standards of conduct applicable to the University community, is intended to further the educational mission of the University of Pennsylvania. The University is committed to fostering an environment that promotes the acquisition of knowledge and nurtures the growth of the individual. Each member of our intellectual community is responsible for his or her own actions and is expected to contribute to the Penn community and to respect the rights of others to participate in the academic and social life of the University. The following alcohol and drug policy, with its emphasis on individual and shared responsibility, healthy and informed decision-making, maintaining a caring environment, and the promotion of genuine dialogue, is adopted in this spirit.

This 2005 University Alcohol and Drug Policy supersedes and replaces both the previous Alcohol and Drug policy and the Greek Alcohol Management policy.

Students, staff and faculty may be subject to additional requirements and procedures set forth by their respective schools or departments, which may be stated in handbooks generated by those entities.

I. Standards of Conduct


The University of Pennsylvania prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, sale, possession or use of any drug by any of its students, employees in its workplace, on its premises or as part of any of its activities. This policy is intended to supplement and not limit the provisions of the University’s Drug-Free Workplace Policy.


A. General Rules Governing the Use of Alcohol

The University of Pennsylvania seeks to encourage and sustain an academic environment that respects individual freedom and promotes the health, safety and welfare of all members of its community. In keeping with these objectives, the University has established the following policy governing the possession, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages by members of the University community, and conforming to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The University’s alcohol policy and programs are intended to encourage its members to make responsible decisions about the use of alcoholic beverages, and to promote safe, legal, and healthy patterns of social interaction.

1. The University of Pennsylvania prohibits:

The possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of twenty-one on property owned or controlled by the University or as part of any University activity.

The intentional and knowing selling, or intentional and knowing furnishing (as defined by Pennsylvania law) of alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of twenty-one or to persons obviously inebriated on property owned or controlled by the University or as part of any University activity. Pennsylvania law currently defines “furnish” as “to supply, give, or provide to, or allow a minor to possess on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged.”

The consumption of alcoholic beverages by all University students and employees so as to adversely affect academic or job performance and/or endanger the physical well-being of other persons and/or oneself, and/or which leads to damage of property.

The possession, sale, distribution, promotion or consumption of an alcoholic beverage in a manner that constitutes a violation of federal, state or local law, including the sale, directly or indirectly, of any alcoholic beverages at a premise or by an entity not licensed for such sales on property owned or controlled by the University or as part of any University activity.

2. The University of Pennsylvania permits the lawful keeping and consumption, in moderation, of alcoholic beverages on its property or property under its control by persons of legal drinking age (twenty-one years or older).

3. In cases of intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning, the primary concern is the health and safety of the individual(s) involved. Individuals are strongly encouraged to call for medical assistance for themselves or for a friend/acquaintance who is dangerously intoxicated. No student seeking medical treatment for an alcohol or other drug-related overdose shall be subject to University discipline for the sole violation of using or possessing alcohol or drugs. This policy shall extend to another student seeking help for the intoxicated student.

4. Vice provosts, vice presidents, deans, and heads of administrative and residential units have the authority and responsibility to govern the use of alcohol in areas they control, both indoors and out, and to approve or disapprove of plans designed to ensure that (at events where alcohol will be served in such areas) only legal age individuals shall have access to such alcohol. Further, those hosting such events must take reasonable steps to ensure that the acquisition, distribution and consumption of alcohol otherwise complies with applicable law and University policy.

5. At any event at which alcohol shall be served, quantities of non-alcoholic beverages and food also must be available to guests without cost.

6. Consistent with Pennsylvania law, advertisements of social events shall not promote nor describe the availability of alcoholic beverages nor promote the consumption of alcohol by minors.

7. Ordinarily, consumption of alcoholic beverages in outdoor public areas such as walkways, building steps and porches, unenclosed patios, green spaces, and the like is not permitted regardless of the age of the drinker. However, appropriate administrators may grant exceptions to this guideline on an event-by-event basis. Exceptions shall be granted only for those events where an overwhelming majority of those reasonably expected to attend an event are of legal drinking age. Events for which exceptions have been granted must be limited to areas that are clearly demarcated and in which it is possible to exercise adequate control of access to and consumption of alcohol.

8. Kegs of any amount of beer are not allowed in any University-managed undergraduate residence.

B. Rules Governing Alcohol Use at Registered Undergraduate Social Events

In order to minimize the risk of alcohol abuse, promote compliance with the law, and encourage students to make responsible decisions about the use of alcohol, a number of rules have been designed to control the volume and nature of alcohol products available and, ultimately, to reduce the risk of alcohol-related incidents that pose a threat to the health and welfare of students and colleagues. These rules may be found at:, under Standards of Conduct, section B., and include the required registration of undergraduate student events in which alcohol is served, the prohibition of hard alcohol, easy identification of of-age drinkers, and the inclusion of trained, non-alcohol-consuming host monitors at registered functions.

C. Violations

Violators of the University’s Alcohol and Drug policy shall be subject to University disciplinary procedures.

II. Penn’s Commitment to Health Education and a Supportive Environment

Consistent with its educational mission, the University sponsors programs that help eradicate misperceptions about alcohol use among peers, create opportunities for open, honest dialogue about alcohol use and abuse, and promote awareness of the physical and psychological, social and behavioral effects of alcohol consumption.

The University is committed to supporting continuous and expanded peer education, to creating opportunities for curricular integration of alcohol and drug-related issues in each of its undergraduate schools, and to maintaining an effective, coordinated and responsive alcohol abuse prevention and treatment plan implemented by the University’s Director of Alcohol Policy Initiatives. In addition, the University’s Alcohol Rapid Response Team, comprised primarily of undergraduates along with faculty and staff members, advises the President and the Provost on alcohol policy matters as they arise.

In order to promote responsible group behavior regarding alcohol use, each recognized student organization having more than ten members must fulfill the following expectations:

1. It must have at least one member, in addition to the organization’s leader or president, trained to identify high-risk drinking and substance abuse within the membership (both individual and collective) and be able to provide appropriate referrals to education and counseling services.

2. If the organization intends to host registered events with alcohol (both on-campus and at third party vendors), it must design and implement an individualized plan to demonstrate competency in managing risk related to alcohol consumption. Such a plan should identify the methods through which the organization shall control service of alcohol, promote moderate alcohol consumption, and respond to alcohol-related medical concerns. Each organization must specifically identify appropriate strategies for creating an environment in which alcohol use is secondary to the event itself and which emphasizes food and activities not related to alcohol so as to minimize the risk associated with its presence. A competency plan must be submitted to the Director of Alcohol Policy Initiatives and the appropriate umbrella organization for approval prior to the registration of the first event of each academic year.

Organizations not officially recognized by the University are encouraged to undertake similar efforts to ensure that high-risk drinking and substance abuse are appropriately addressed within the informal group.

III. Consequences for Policy Violations

All University students are expected to comply with applicable local, state and federal laws regarding the possession, use or sale of alcohol or drugs, whether on or off-campus, and are expected to comply with all University regulations regarding alcohol possession or use.

Any student or employee who violates University policies or applicable law may be subject to disciplinary sanctions and/or referral for prosecution. Disciplinary sanctions for students range from disciplinary warning to expulsion as provided by the Charter of the University’s student disciplinary system. The severity of the sanctions shall depend, in part, on whether there have been repeated violations and on the seriousness of the misconduct. Employees found to be in violation of this policy or applicable law shall be subject to University disciplinary procedures that may impose sanctions up to and including termination from employment and/or referral for prosecution. The University also supports enforcement, by applicable law enforcement agencies, of all local, state and federal laws.

Along with disciplinary consequences, the University is committed to providing treatment and education as appropriate to assist members of the community.

Organizations must comply with these policies and applicable laws. Organizations, as well as individuals involved who violate this policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary sanction.

IV. Resources in the Penn Community for Information and Counseling Related to Alcohol and Drug Use

The University provides services and resources for community members who experience alcohol and/or drug related difficulties. The following programs are available for students, staff and faculty:

1. Office of Health Education—provides comprehensive health promotion and prevention services for students addressing such issues as alcohol and other drug use. Health Education coordinates the work of six student peer education groups, including the Drug and Alcohol Resource Team (DART), Reach-a-Peer Helpline (RAPLine), and the Student Health Advisory Board (SHAB). The office maintains an extensive lending library and staff are available to make referrals for on-campus and off-campus clinical services (i.e. HIV testing, alcohol treatment services.) Assistance is available by calling (215) 573-3525.

2. Director of Alcohol Policy Initiatives—responsible for ensuring the efficient and productive coordination of all relevant, alcohol-related campus services. Assistance is available by calling (215) 573-3525.

3. Penn Employee Assistance Program and Worklife Benefits—a free, confidential one-on-one counseling service provided by the University for Penn faculty and staff and their family members. This program can offer assistance with serious life issues 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-888-321-4433. Services are available at over 450 locations throughout the Delaware Valley, including an on-campus office at 36th and Market Streets.

4. Additional Resources—The following offices provide information, education and services related to alcohol and other drug concerns. These services are provided free of charge and are available to all students, faculty and staff at the University.
Affirmative Action, Office of (Faculty, Staff & Students) African American Resource Center (Faculty, Staff & Students) Counseling and Psychological Services (confidential) Health Education, Office of the Director of Alcohol Policy Initiatives (confidential) Human Resources, Division of Quality of Worklife Penn Women’s Center Division of Human Resources, Staff and Labor Relations Student Health Services (confidential)

(Almanac, March 1, 2005)