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Appendix V. Policy Notice Regarding Alcohol and Other Drug Use

In keeping with the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, which require that all university students receive annual notice of the laws regarding alcohol and other drug use, the following information is offered:

Members of the university community enjoy a high degree of personal freedom, guaranteed by the United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and William & Mary's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. That freedom exists within the context of local, State and Federal law and the obligations imposed by university regulations. The Student Handbook is the official document describing university policy for student behavior, the student discipline system of William & Mary, and sanctions for violation of university policy.

  • The university clearly prohibits the use and distribution of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol.
  • Violations of local, State, or Federal law also constitute violation of university regulations.
  • When a student is charged with a violation of law, it is the practice of the university to initiate its own student conduct proceedings without awaiting court action. Behavior off-campus is subject to sanctions under the Code of Student Conduct.
Alcohol Policy and Sanctions

All students of the university and their guests and all organizations must observe Virginia law as it pertains to the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Virginia law specifically states that persons under the age of 21 may not purchase, possess, or consume any type of alcoholic beverages. The sanctions for violation of this regulation range from warning to dismissal and will usually include alcohol education or treatment.

Drug Policy and Sanctions

For the purpose of these regulations, drugs are defined as including marijuana/cannabis, hashish, amphetamines, LSD compounds, mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, narcotics, opiates, and other hallucinogens including Spice, K2, and synthetic marijuana/cannabis, except when taken under a physician's prescription in accordance with law.

University regulations, in conformity with Federal and State statutes governing drug use, provide the following:

  • Manufacturing or providing drugs to others is prohibited. The penalty for violation of this regulation shall range from deferred disciplinary suspension to dismissal from the university.
  • Possession or consumption of drugs is also prohibited. Possession of drug paraphernalia is prohibited. The penalty for violation of this regulation ordinarily shall range from deferred disciplinary suspension to dismissal.
Sanctions for Students under the Student Conduct System

Violations of university policy by students are addressed through the Student Code of Conduct or the Honor Code as appropriate.

When a student is found responsible for violating university regulations, the university can levy the following sanctions individually or in combination with other sanctions:

Warning; loss or restriction of privileges; restitution; task participation (including for example, service to the community and/or participation in an educational program); disciplinary probation; deferred disciplinary suspension; disciplinary suspension; and permanent dismissal. In extraordinary circumstances the university also can impose an immediate interim suspension.

I. Legal Sanctions

Members of the William & Mary community should be aware of legal penalties applied for conviction in cases of drug and/or alcohol abuse. An offense is classified in the Code of Virginia as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the type and the amount of the substance(s) involved. 


Virginia's Alcohol Beverage Control Act contains a variety of provisions governing the possession, use and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The Act applies to all students and employees of this institution. As required by the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, the pertinent laws, and sanctions for violations, are summarized below:

1.  It is unlawful for any person under age 21 to purchase or possess any alcoholic beverage. Violation of the law exposes the violator to a misdemeanor conviction for which the punishment is confinement in jail for up to twelve months and a fine up to $2,500, either or both. Additionally, such person's Virginia driver's license may be suspended for a period of not more than one year.

2.  It is unlawful for any person to sell alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21 years of age. Violation of the law exposes the violator to a misdemeanor conviction for which the punishment is confinement in jail for up to twelve months and a fine up to $2,500, either or both.

3.  It is unlawful for any person to purchase alcoholic beverages for another when, at the time of the purchase, he knows or has reason to know that the person for whom the alcohol is purchased is under the legal drinking age. The criminal sanction for violation of the law is the same as #2 above.

4.  It is unlawful for any person to consume alcoholic beverages in unlicensed public places. Violating the law, upon conviction, exposes the violator to a misdemeanor conviction for which the punishment is a fine up to $250.

Controlled Substances and Illicit Drugs

The unlawful possession, distribution, and use of controlled substances and illicit drugs, as defined by the Virginia Drug Control Act, are prohibited in Virginia. Controlled substances are classified under the Act into "schedules," ranging from Schedule I through Schedule VI, as defined in sections 54.1-3446 through 54.1-3456 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended.

As required by the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, the pertinent laws, including sanctions for their violation, are summarized on the Office of Compliance's Drug-Free Schools and Workplace webpage.

II. Risks

The university is dedicated to the education of students and employees about risks associated with the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Descriptions of some of these health risks are offered below. In addition, behavioral difficulties at work or in school, in relationships, and with the law can be linked to the abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car or walk home safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also are associated with increased incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including sexual assault, vandalism, and fighting. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn, memorize and perform academically, sometimes for weeks after the drinking occurrence. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to impairment, high tolerance, and dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver.

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants often have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. Research indicates that children of alcoholic parents have a greater risk of becoming alcoholics.

III. Area Resources Related to Substance Abuse

Students in the university community have access to several sources of assistance for substance abuse problems.

Campus Educational and Consultation Resources
  • Substance Abuse Education-interactive group, individual and classroom education. (Health Promotion)
  • Counseling Center-limited assessment, counseling, and referral services for drug and alcohol related issues. (221-3620)
  • New Leaf Clinic-substance abuse assessment and counseling (short and long term). 221-2363
Off Campus Support Groups
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)-a self supporting fellowship based on a Twelve Step program that offers individual sponsorship, group meetings and membership to anyone interested in dealing with an alcohol problem. (Telephone assistance and meeting information: 595-1212)
  • Narcotics Anonymous-individuals addicted to drugs may obtain help through this group. It offers a fellowship with other recovering addicts who help each other remain abstinent. (Telephone assistance and meeting information: 875-9314)
Off Campus Community Resources

Mental health services are generally covered by student's health insurance plan.

  • Colonial Service Board's Substance Abuse Unit-outpatient education and therapy for individuals, families and groups, with referral to inpatient services if needed. (220-3200)
  • The Counseling Center, LLC - offers mental health assessments, substance abuse screenings, intensive outpatient treatment, education groups, and individual counseling, as well as Aftercare. (757-229-4645)