Brown University's Alcohol and Other Drug Policy is intended to further the educational mission of the University.  The University is committed to fostering an environment that promotes the acquisition of knowledge and nurtures the growth of the individual; encourages and sustains an academic environment that respects individual freedom; and promotes the health, safety, and welfare of all members of its community.  Each member of our intellectual community is responsible for his or her own actions and is expected to contribute to the Brown community and to respect the rights of others.

In keeping with these principles and federal, state, and local laws, the University‘s Alcohol and Other Drug Policy emphasizes individual and shared responsibility, healthy and informed decision-making, the maintenance of a caring environment, and the promotion of genuine dialogue.

For information on policies related to faculty and staff, please consult the Office of the Dean of the Faculty and Human Resources, respectively.

I.  Definitions and Clarifications

  1. Other Drugs:  Includes all illegal drugs as well as the misuse of legal drugs, such as prescription medications.
  2. Illicit Drug Activity:  For the purpose of this policy, illicit drug activity shall be defined as the use, manufacture, distribution, dispensation, sale or possession of illegal drugs or the illicit use, manufacture, distribution, dispensation or sale of legal drugs.
  3. Paraphernalia:  Includes, but is not limited to, all items used for the purpose of preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise using other drugs.  As the term relates to alcohol, only paraphernalia that facilitates the rapid consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

II.   Federal, State, and Local Laws

Brown University expects all students to comply with federal, state, and local laws and University regulations related to alcohol and other drugs.

Under Rhode Island law, alcohol may be legally served and sold only to individuals twenty-one years of age or older. The law forbids misrepresenting one's age for the purpose of purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages.

Those who engage in illicit drug activities, regardless of whether or not the activities occur on University property, are in violation of the law and University regulations and demonstrate disregard for the Principles of the Brown University Community.

More information regarding state laws is available from the Rhode Island General Assembly.  The Principles of the Brown University Community are included in the University’s Code of Student Conduct and are available on the Student Conduct & Community Standards website or by contacting the office at 401-863-2653.

III.  Commitment to a Healthy, Safe, and Supportive Campus Environment

Consistent with its purpose as an institution of learning, Brown University is committed to educating students and their families about alcohol and other drugs through programs and materials that help eradicate misperceptions about drug use among peers; create opportunities for open, honest dialogue about the use and abuse of these substances; and promote awareness of their physical, psychological, social, and behavioral effects.  This commitment extends to legal substances such as tobacco and over-the-counter medications, the use of which may lead to addiction or have other detrimental effects on health or academic performance.  In addition, the University shall maintain and promote services for members of the University community who are concerned about their own or someone else’s use of alcohol and/or other drugs.

Brown University, along with its students, is committed to creating and supporting alcohol-free social and recreational opportunities and environments that promote a wide variety of social experiences.  Student residential units, athletic teams, and organizations are responsible for maintaining a community standard consonant with the principles of all aspects of the University’s policy on alcohol and other drugs. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action against individuals or organizations.

More information regarding resources available to students may be found through the office of BWell Health Promotion.

IV.  Seeking Medical Attention

In cases of intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning, health and safety are the primary concerns.  Individuals are strongly encouraged to call for medical assistance for themselves or others who may be dangerously intoxicated.  No student seeking medical treatment for alcohol or other drug use will be subject to University disciplinary action for the sole violation of using alcohol or other drugs.  This policy shall extend to a student seeking help for another student.

In keeping with the University’s commitment to a healthy, safe, and supportive campus environment, students who seek medical attention may be required to meet with a professional in BWell Health Promotion and/or may be referred to the Assistant Dean of the College for Recovery and Substance-Free Student Initiatives or other services, as appropriate.

V.  Provisions Specifically Relating to Alcohol

The goals of Brown University’s policies regarding alcohol use are to prevent underage drinking and to promote individual accountability, moderation, and safety for those of legal age who choose to drink. Additionally, Brown works to provide a college atmosphere free of coercion for those who choose not to drink and to maintain an environment that minimizes the effects of alcohol abuse and associated problem behaviors.

A. General Provisions

  1. Persons who provide alcohol bear a responsibility to see that no one is coerced, however subtly, to drink or to drink excessively.
  2. Activities or paraphernalia that encourage the rapid consumption of alcohol, including, but not limited to, drinking games and funnels, are inconsistent with healthy and responsible use of alcohol and are therefore prohibited on University property.
  3. Kegs and large-scale containers of alcoholic beverages are not permitted on campus except at licensed campus venues or non-residential events when a professional bartending service is procuring and serving the alcohol.  In such instances, the service must retain possession of any large-scale containers after the event has concluded.
  4. Individually-sized bottles of alcohol are not permitted in on-campus residences or at events sponsored in campus residential venues.  This prohibition was enacted in response to instances of intoxicated students using bottles as projectiles.  Requests to use bottles at events held in non-residential venues must be approved by the Student Activities Office to ensure that a plan for their safe use is in place.
  5. Except as part of official or registered events, the University prohibits the possession of any opened containers of alcoholic beverages outdoors, in all non-residential buildings, and in residence hall common areas.  Providence municipal ordinances prohibit the possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages on public property, which extends to the sidewalks and streets that run through Brown’s campus.
  6. The presence of alcohol must clearly be adjunct to an event or program.  Events, activities, and programs and their themes, titles and promotional materials may not directly or indirectly promote drinking, drunkenness or associated behaviors counter to the Principles of the Brown Community.
  7. The purchase of large quantities of alcohol is not permitted.  Amounts of alcohol purchased must be for individual events and be scaled for the anticipated number of attendees who are of legal drinking age that can reasonably be expected to attend.  In keeping with this policy, “bring your own” events are not permitted.
  8. Activities that support, promote, or construe endorsement of businesses that sell alcohol or encourage the sale or consumption of alcohol are expressly prohibited on campus, including, but not limited to, seeking sponsorship for on-campus activities or formal or informal promotional activities on campus, regardless of the location of the activity itself.
  9. While alcohol sales are permitted to support and cover the costs of alcohol service at events, alcohol sales may not be used as a means of fundraising.  Use of alcohol for fundraising creates a conflict of interest for event organizers and encourages consumption for financial gain.

Currently, the only licensed campus venue is the Faculty Club.  Note:  The Graduate Center Bar is an independent corporation renting space from the University.

B. Additional Provisions for Student-Organized Activities Involving Alcohol Held on University Property

Student-sponsored events at which alcohol will be available and that are to be held on University property require University review and approval unless contained within an individual residence hall room.  Events in an individual residence hall room are limited in size by the fire capacity for the room and are otherwise subject to laws and University regulations.  The residents will be held responsible for any such events.

In keeping with the principles of Brown as an academic community, on-campus events with alcohol at which undergraduates may be present may not be held during reading or final examination periods, the day before classes are to be held, or during times that classes are in session.  Events for graduate and medical students should be scheduled with careful consideration of the potential impact on the academic and work performance of their communities.

The University will develop and manage additional policies and procedures for student events where alcohol will be served.  Such policies and procedures shall be reviewed and approved by the Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services for graduate and undergraduate students and the Dean for Biology and Medicine for medical students. These administrators may consult with the Campus Life Advisory Board or its Subcommittee on Alcohol and Other Drugs.  In addition, University departments may officially and expressly sponsor student-organized events; in such instances, the University department assumes responsibility for ensuring that all alcohol policies and laws are followed and that other University rules and regulations for events are followed.

For more information, undergraduate and graduate students should consult the University’s Event Registration Policy and Social Function Planning and Management Procedures available through the Student Activities Office.  Medical students should contact the Medical School Student Affairs Office.

VI.  Provisions Specifically Relating to Other Drugs

Brown University prohibits illicit drug activity and/or paraphernalia used in illicit drug activity by any of its students, on its premises, or as part of any of its activities.

Student living units (sanctioned or specially assigned residential groups such as Greek Houses, Program Houses, Theme Houses, etc.) that shelter or encourage illicit drug activity will be subject to discipline and possibly to dissolution through procedures outlined in the Student Conduct Procedures, the Residential Council Guidelines, or University emergency procedures. This will be in addition to any disciplinary action taken against individuals.

Students who are dealers and/or providers of other drugs are subject to immediate separation from the University.

As provided for in the University’s Student Conduct Procedures, for matters in which individuals pose a danger to themselves or the immediate well-being of the University community, the President, the Dean of the College, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences and the Senior Associate Dean for Student Life, have the authority to separate a student(s) from the University and to impose any additional conditions deemed necessary.

VII.  Provisions Specifically Relating to Off-Campus Behavior and Activities

Many University expectations and standards for its students extend to behavior and activities off-campus.

If living off-campus, students are subject to all federal, state and local laws, as well as University standards of student conduct.

While not subject to University review and approval, student-sponsored events held off-campus where alcohol or other drugs are available may be sanctioned for violating laws and University regulations.

For information on student responsibilities when living off-campus, please contact the Office of Residential Life.  The Division of Campus Life can assist students in understanding the applicability of Standards of Student Conduct to off-campus behavior and activities.

VIII.  Conduct and Policy Violations

The University's Code of Student Conduct shall provide for procedures to respond to violations of the law and University policy relating to alcohol and other drugs.  Such procedures shall also outline the policy regarding parental notification.  Violations of these policies by students are handled by the student conduct system.

The use of any drug, including alcohol, related to any offense will be considered an aggravating circumstance independently of whether the drug was used legally or illegally by the offending party. This factor in a case may result in a more severe sanction and/or the imposition of terms requiring evaluation or treatment, as determined by appropriate professionals.  All students who are party to a disciplinary matter involving alcohol and who, in the determination of a dean, misused alcohol or exercised poor judgment due to alcohol or about alcohol, will be required to undergo appropriate alcohol education, evaluation, and/or treatment as determined by appropriate officials.

In addition to consequences provided under the law related to alcohol and other drug use, University penalties vary according to a number of factors, including but not limited to type of substance, amount in possession and/or delivered, and the number and type of previous violations.

For more information, please consult the  Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards website or call the office at 401-863-2653.