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Alcohol Policy

Washington & Jefferson College is subject to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Consumption, purchasing, possession, or transportation of any alcoholic beverages by people under the age of 21 is illegal. It is also unlawful for any person to knowingly provide alcoholic beverages to anyone under the legal drinking age of 21. Students are expected to obey the law and to take responsibility for their own conduct. In addition, the College maintains the following regulations regarding alcohol:

  • The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in any "public areas" of the College, specifically including athletic facilities and outside grounds. Neither students nor the public may bring alcohol to any event that is open to the public.
  • Alcoholic beverages may only be served at "closed" social functions in compliance with College policy and state law. "Closed" functions are by written invitation only.
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be included in organized membership recruitment activities.
  • The advertising, promotion, and sale of alcohol are prohibited.
  • Individual students and student organizations are responsible for their conduct, and the conduct of their guests and for promoting compliance with Pennsylvania laws and College policy.
  • College faculty and staff are expected to promote compliance with Pennsylvania laws and College policies regarding alcohol.

**Please note that these are the minimum sanctions for Alcohol violations.

  1. Students found responsible for violating the W& J College Alcohol Policy are subject to the jurisdiction of the State of Pennsylvania, and in addition assessed a $100 fine, written warning, and mandatory attendance at an Alcohol Education Class presented by a certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor.
  2. Second offense may result in a $150 fine, personal assessment and treatment plan, and college probation.
  3. Third offenses are independently evaluated based on the circumstance of the incident and may include suspension from W&J College.
Alcohol: Health Risks

As students make choices concerning the use of alcohol, it is important to consider the health risks associated with consumption.

  • Alcohol is a depressant, although it may initially stimulate emotions. It slows heart rate and respiration and causes intoxication, sedation, unconsciousness and death.
  • Alcohol is generally metabolized at the rate of one drink per hour.
  • Mixing alcohol with other drugs can be lethal.
  • Food slows down the absorption of alcohol.
  • Long term alcohol misuse can lead to liver disorders, heart disease, brain damage, sterility, and dependency.
  • Approximately 1 in 10 drinkers becomes an alcoholic; children of alcoholics are 3-4 times more likely to become alcoholics themselves.
  • BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) is affected by the amount consumed, rate of drinking, size and gender of drinker, and tolerance.
  • Alcohol impairs judgment, performance, memory, and motor skills.
  • An impaired person cannot usually recognize his/her own impairment.
  • Tolerance, the need to use more of a substance to maintain the effectiveness of that substance, occurs with use over an extended period of time. Tolerance increases the risk of alcohol-related problems, including alcoholism and social problems.

Drug Use and Abuse

In accordance with state and federal laws, it is illegal for students to possess, use or sell illegal drugs, and to abuse or distribute prescription drugs. Included in these categories are: opiates, barbiturates, amphetamines, marijuana, hallucinogens, illegal steroids, date-rape drugs, and other illegal or prescription drugs. Not only is it unlawful, but the presence, use and abuse of these drugs within the College are contrary to the intellectual and educational purposes for which the College exists. Possession of these substances may well be an indication that the student is not constructively engaged in academic endeavors.

Individuals arrested for selling drugs or found to be in possession of significant quantities shall be subject to immediate suspension pending final disposition of the case in the College judicial process. If the student is subsequently found guilty by the College, she or he will be expelled from Washington & Jefferson College.

Use or abuse of illegal and controlled substances is a violation of College regulations. Students violating this policy should expect disciplinary action, which may include suspension from the College. Subsequent violations may result in suspension or expulsion.
The possession of paraphernalia, making no distinction between whether it has or has not been used for its intended purpose, is prohibited. Therefore, students should not possess hookahs, water pipes or bongs, pipes designed to smoke tobacco alternatives, one-hitters or dugouts. Any items found will be confiscated and destroyed by the Office of Protection Services.

Student Life staff members and the student counseling services are available to provide counseling or referral services to students with concerns about drugs or alcohol use.


**Please note that these are the minimum sanctions for Drug Use & Abuse violations.

  1. Students found responsible for violating the W&J Drug Use and Abuse Policy are subject to the jurisdiction of the State of Pennsylvania, US Federal Law Enforcement, and additionally, are minimally assessed a $100 fine, written warning, and mandatory attendance at a Drug Education Class presented by a certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor.
  2. Second offense may result in a $150 fine, personal assessment and treatment plan, and college probation.
  3. Third offenses are independently evaluated based on the circumstance of the incident and may include suspension from W&J.
Psychoactive Drugs

Penalties for the use and possession of illicit drugs, along with illegal use of prescription drugs, vary greatly. Possession of a larger amount of a drug will typically result in charges of distribution, leading to much stiffer penalties. Some examples of penalties:

  • A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for federal student aid.
  • A criminal record for drug possession may prevent professional licensing and/or certification.
  • Possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana- up to 30 days in prison, $500 in fines.
  • Possession of any controlled substance, such as heroin- up to 1 year in prison, $5,000 in fines.
  • Possession of 5+ grams of cocaine- 5-20 years in prison, $1000 in fines.
  • Manufacture, distribution, importation of any designer drug, such as ecstasy - up to 20 year in prison and $250,000 in fines.

In situations where drugs and/or drug paraphernalia, weapons, or other dangerous or potentially dangerous items are found in plain view, Campus Police Officers may perform a room search within legal limits with the AOC present.

If the College receives a report of a potential policy violation, particularly a violation of the College’s drug, health and safety, and/or weapons and explosive materials policies, the Dean of Student Life or Dean of the Faculty or his/her designee may authorize a search in writing.  The Associate Dean of Student Life, the Associate Dean/Director of Residence Life, or the Assistant Director of Residence Life must be present such a room search.  Only Campus Police Officers can perform room searches.

Campus & Public Safety Office has a Student Consent Form for room searches that are used when students consent to the room search.  This should be signed prior to the room search.   A room search may also be conducted when a student gives verbal consent to a Campus Police Officer with the AOC present.

Drug Use and Abuse: Health Risks

As students make choices concerning the use and misuse of drugs and controlled substances, it is important to consider the health risks associated with consumption.

Cocaine/Crack are powerful central nervous system stimulants that constrict blood vessels, dilate pupils, increase blood pressure, and elevate heart rate. Cocaine use may induce restlessness, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, seizures, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, and death. Cocaine is extremely addictive, both psychologically and physically. Great risk exists whether cocaine is ingested in inhalation (snorting), injection, or smoking.  Compulsive cocaine use may develop even more rapidly if the substance is smoked, and smoking crack cocaine can produce particularly aggressive paranoid behavior in users.

Date Rape Drugs (Rohypnol, rophies, roofies, GHB, Ketamine, etc.) may incapacitate a person, particularly when used with alcohol. Rohypnol and GHB (gammahydroxybutyrate) are characterized as “date rape” drugs because they incapacitate users, thereby increasing vulnerability to sexual assault and other crime. Sedation, relaxation, and amnesia are associated with Rohypnol use. Rohypnol may be psychologically and physically addictive and can cause death if mixed with alcohol or other depressants. GHB usage may result in coma and seizures and when combined with methamphetamine appears to cause an increased risk of seizure.  Combining use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and difficulty in breathing. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. Ketamine may induce feelings of near-death experiences.

Ecstasy (X, Adam, MDMA, XTC, etc.) has amphetamine - like and hallucinogenic properties. Its chemical structure is similar to other synthetic drugs known to cause brain damage. Ecstasy use may cause psychological difficulties including confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, paranoia, and even psychotic episodes. Similar difficulties may occur weeks after taking MDMA. Physical symptoms such as increases in heart rate and blood pressure may result from use of such substances. Other physical symptoms include muscle tension, blurred vision, nausea, rapid eye movement, and involuntary teeth clenching.

Hallucinogens (acid, PCP, LSD, psilocybin[mushrooms], dextrometorphan[dxin]) are among the most potent mood-changing chemicals and may produce unpredictable effects that may impair coordination, perception, and cognition. Some LSD users experience flashbacks, often without warning, without the user having taken the drug again. Violence, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, convulsions, coma, cardiac arrest, and respiratory failure may result from hallucinogen use.

Marijuana (pot, grass, hash, cannabis sativa, etc.) may impair memory, attention, coordination, and learning.  Short-term effects of smoking marijuana may include problems with memory, learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, loss of coordination, increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks. Persons who smoke marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, including daily cough and phlegm, chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Because users of marijuana deeply inhale and hold marijuana smoke in their lungs, they incur a higher risk of getting lung cancer.

Narcotics (heroin, opium, morphine, codeine, pain medication [Demerol, Percodan, Lortab, etc.]) may produce temporary euphoria followed by depression, drowsiness, cognitive impairment, and vomiting.  Narcotic use may cause convulsions, coma, and death. Tolerance and dependence tend to develop rapidly.  Using contaminated syringes to inject drugs may result in contracting HIV and other infectious diseases such as hepatitis.

Nicotine (tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, nicotine chewing gum and patches) is highly addictive and according to the Surgeon General is a major cause of stroke and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Over time, higher levels of nicotine must be consumed to achieve the same effect. Nicotine consumption results in central nervous system sedation and after initial activation may cause drowsiness and depression. If women smoke cigarettes and also take oral contraceptives, they are more prone to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases than are other smokers. Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes run an increased risk of having stillborn or premature infants or infants with low birth weight.

Sedative-hypnotics (depressants, Quaaludes, Valium, Xanax, etc.) depress central nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory functions. Sedative-hypnotic use may lower blood pressure, slow reactions, and distort reality. Convulsions, coma, and death are outcomes associated with sedative-hypnotic use. Consuming sedative-hypnotics with alcohol or 3.2 beer is especially dangerous.

Steroids (anabolic-androgenic) may permanently damage liver, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems.  Possible side effects include liver tumors, cancer, jaundice, fluid retention, and hypertension. In men, steroids may cause shrinking of testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, breast development, and increased risk for prostate cancer. In women, steroid use may cause growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, menstrual changes, enlarged clitoris, and deepened voice.

Stimulants (amphetamine, methamphetamine, speed, crystal, crank, Ritalin, ephedra, caffeine, various over-the-counter stimulants and diet aids) are powerful central nervous system stimulants that may increase agitation, physical activity, and anxiety. Stimulants may decrease appetite, dilate pupils, and cause sleeplessness.  Dizziness, higher blood pressure, paranoia, mood disturbance, hallucination, dependence, convulsions, and death due to stroke or heart failure may also result from use.

(Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, NationalInstitutes of Health,

Educational Resources and Treatment Options

It is recommended that any organization considering an event involving alcohol formulate and implement a program to increase alcohol awareness and prevent alcohol misuse for its members and guests. There are a number of resources available on and off campus to provide alcohol education or assistance with alcohol concerns:

  • The Office of Residence Life, including Resident Assistants, Residence Life Coordinators, and the Assistant Director, are a valuable resource and provide much of the alcohol education programming on campus.
  • Counseling services are available to address individual concerns, provide assessments and referrals for treatment off campus, and to provide information and education about alcohol use.
  • Student Health Services is available to assist individuals with situations involving alcohol that affect the physical well-being of a student.
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