Student Affairs - Dean's Office
Student Handbook

Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

The University prohibits the underage and unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students or by employees on university property or while participating in any university-sponsored activity. The University will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees who violate the standards. Disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed on students include warning, disciplinary probation, community service hours, suspension, and dismissal. The University may also require a student who violates these standards to participate in a program of rehabilitation. Whenever the University determines that a student has violated one of the standards, it will consider as a possible sanction referral of the matter to law enforcement officials for prosecution. Although sanctions will vary according to the specific circumstances of the case, and greater or lesser sanctions imposed depending on these circumstances, it is nonetheless important for students to understand the potential consequences of violating the University’s policies on drugs and alcohol.
  • Financial Aid
    • A student who has been convicted of any offense under Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance will not be eligible to receive certain grants, loans or work assistance from the time of conviction through a period of ineligibility. The Dean of Students Office will monitor and report any known conviction to the Financial Aid Office.

  • Sanctions
    • First Offense

      For minor violations, the student may receive a disciplinary warning via a simplified procedure (pursuant to section III-D-3 of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct). For serious violations, the student may receive more severe sanctions.

      Second Offense

      The student may receive a period of disciplinary probation and an educational assignment. As permitted by the 1998 Reauthorization of Higher Education Act, Wesleyan may notify parents by letter when a student is placed on disciplinary probation as a result of an alcohol/drug policy violation (generally this occurs as a result of a second offense or serious first offense).

      Third Offense

      If such an offense occurs during the probationary period, the student may be suspended for at least one semester. If the offense occurs after the probationary period, the student may receive an extended period of disciplinary probation, an educational assignment, and community service.

      Local, State, and Federal Legal Sanctions

      Numerous local, state, and federal laws govern the possession, use, and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. The following is a brief overview of those laws. This overview cannot be an exhaustive or definitive statement of the various laws, but rather is designed to indicate the types of conduct that are against the law and the range of applicable legal sanctions. It is important to note that, while the activities covered by state, local, and federal law and those covered by Wesleyan’s rules are largely the same, the laws and the rules operate independently and do not substitute for each other. Wesleyan may pursue enforcement of its rules whether or not legal proceedings are under way or in prospect, and it may use information from third-party sources, such as law enforcement agencies and the courts, to determine whether university rules have been broken. The University will make no attempt to shield members of the Wesleyan community from the law.33

  • Local, State, and Federal Laws
    • Local Laws

      A. Alcohol

      1. Use of Alcoholic Beverages Prohibited (see Middletown Code of Ordinances, 18–9)

      a. The possession and/or drinking of alcoholic beverages, including, but not limited to, wine and beer, by any person on any city-owned property under the jurisdiction of the Parks and Recreation Department of the city of Middletown shall be prohibited, except that the possession and/or drinking of wine and/or beer shall be allowed in posted areas and at posted times, or by permit, at Veterans Memorial Park, Area A, and Crystal Lake.

      b. No person under the age of 21 shall be in possession of alcohol on public or private property.

      c. Beer kegs on any city property under the jurisdiction of the Parks and Recreation Department of the city of Middletown shall only be permitted by special permit.

      d. Any person violating these provisions shall be fined in an amount not to exceed $90 per violation per day.

      2. Consumption and Possession of Alcoholic Liquor Within and Upon Public Highways, Sidewalks, and Parking Areas (see Middletown Code of Ordinances, 25–47)

      a. Except as permitted by the ordinance, no person shall consume any alcoholic liquor or possess with the intent to consume any alcoholic liquor upon or within the limits of any public highway or sidewalk or parking area within the city of Middletown.

      b. Consumption of alcoholic liquor or possession with intent to consume alcoholic liquor shall not be permitted in parked vehicles within or upon public highways, streets, or parking areas under any circumstances.

      c. Any person violating this ordinance shall be fined not more than $99 for each offense.

      State Laws

      A. Drugs

      1. Penalties for Illegal Manufacture, Distribution, Sale, Prescription, or Dispensing of Controlled Substances

      a. Hallucinogenic or narcotic substances other than marijuana. First offense: Prison sentence not to exceed 15 years and/or fine not to exceed $50,000. Second offense: Prison sentence not to exceed 30 years and/or fine not to exceed $100,000. Each subsequent offense: Prison sentence not to exceed 30 years and/or fine not to exceed $250,000. (See Connecticut General Statutes 21añ277.)

      b. Other controlled substances excluding marijuana. First offense: prison sentence not to exceed seven (7) years and/or fine not to exceed $25,000. Each subsequent offense: Prison sentence not to exceed 15 years and/or fine not to exceed $100,000. (See Connecticut General Statutes 21añ277.)

      c. Examples of such substances include, but are not limited to, mescaline, peyote, morphine, LSD, cocaine (including “crack”), opium, amphetamines, and heroin. For a complete definition of controlled, hallucinogenic, and narcotic substances, see Connecticut General Statutes 21a-240.

      2. Penalties for Illegal Manufacture, Distribution, Sale, and Prescription or Administration by Nondrugdependent

      a. Minimum prison term of not less than five years and maximum term of life imprisonment for the manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession or transportation with the intent to sell of one ounce or more of heroin, methadone, or cocaine (including “crack”), or one-half gram more of cocaine in a freebase form, or five milligrams or more of LSD. (See Connecticut General Statutes 21a-278.)

      b. Minimum prison term of not less than five years for first offense, and for subsequent offenses, minimum prison term of not less than 10 years, for the manufacture, distribution, sale or transportation or possession with the intent to sell any narcotic, hallucinogenic or amphetamine-type substance, or one kilogram or more of a cannabis-type substance (which includes marijuana). (See Connecticut General Statutes 21a-278.)

      3. Penalties for Illegal Manufacture, Distribution, Sale, Prescription, or Administration Involving Minors (See Connecticut General Statutes 21a-278a.)

      a. Mandatory two-year prison term for the distribution, sale, dispensing, offering, or giving of any controlled substance to another person who is under 18 years of age and who is at least two years younger than the person violating the statute.

      b. Mandatory three-year prison term for the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, sale, transportation or possession with intent to sell, offering or gift of any controlled substance on or within one thousand feet of the real property comprising a public or private elementary school.

      4. Penalties for Possession (see Connecticut General Statutes 21a–279)

      a. Any person who possesses or has under his control any quantity of any narcotic substance, including marijuana, for a first offense may be imprisoned not more than seven years and/or fined not more than $50,000, and for a second offense, may be imprisoned not more than 15 years and/or fined not more than $100,000.

      b. A variety of sentences are available under this statute depending on the substance possessed, its quantity, and the background of the offender.

      B. Alcohol

      1. Sale of Alcohol to Minors and Intoxicated Persons (see Connecticut General Statutes 30-86)

      a. Any permittee who sells or delivers alcoholic liquor to any minor, or to any intoxicated person, or to any habitual drunkard shall be fined not more than $1,000 and/or imprisoned not more than one (1) year.

      b. Any person who delivers or gives alcoholic liquor to any minor, except on the order of a practicing physician, shall be fined not more than $1,500 and/or imprisoned not more than 18 months.

      2. Inducing Minors to Procure Liquor (see Connecticut General Statutes 30-87)

      a. Any person who induces any minor to procure alcoholic liquor from any person permitted to sell the same shall be fined not more than $1,000 and/or imprisoned not more than one year.

      3. Misrepresentation of Age (see Connecticut General Statutes 30–88a)

      a. Any person who misrepresents his age or uses or exhibits for the purpose of procuring alcoholic liquor an operator’s license belonging to any other person shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $500 and/or imprisoned for not more than 30 days.

      4. Procuring Liquor by Persons Forbidden and Public Possession of Liquor by Minors (see Connecticut General
      Statutes 30-89)

      a. Any person to whom the sale of alcoholic liquor is by law forbidden who purchases or attempts to purchase such liquor or who makes any false statement for the purpose of procuring such liquor shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $500.

      b. Any minor who possesses any alcoholic liquor on any street or highway or in any public place or place open to the public, including a club that is open to the public, shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $500.

      5. Dram Shop Act (see Connecticut General Statutes 30–102)

      a. If any person, by himself or his agent, sells any alcoholic liquor to any intoxicated person, and such purchaser, in consequence of such intoxication, thereafter injures the person or property of another, such seller shall pay just damages to the person injured, up to the amount of $20,000, or to persons injured in consequence of such intoxication up to an aggregate amount of $50,000.

      6. Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Liquor or Drug or While Impaired by Liquor (see
      Connecticut General Statutes 14-227a)

      a. Any person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drug or both or who operates a motor vehicle while his ability to operate is impaired by the consumption of intoxicating liquor shall, for conviction of a first violation, be fined not less than $500 and be imprisoned for not more than six months, and shall have his operator’s license suspended for one year.

      b. This statute provides for greater penalties for subsequent offenses.

      Federal Laws

      A. Federal Penalties and Sanctions for Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance

      1. Penalty for Simple Possession (See 21 U.S.C. 844[A].)

      First conviction: Up to one year imprisonment and fined at least $1,000 but not more than $100,000 or both.

      After 1 prior drug conviction: At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed two years, and fined at least $2,500 but not more than $250,000 or both.

      After 2 or more prior drug convictions: At least 90 days in prison, not to exceed three years and fined at least $5,000 but not more than $250,000 or both.

      Special sentencing provisions for possession of crack cocaine: Mandatory at least five years in prison, not to exceed 20 years and fined up to $250,000 or both, if:

      a. First conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds five grams;

      b. Second crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds three grams;

      c. Third or subsequent crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds one gram.

      2. Criminal Forfeitures (See 21 U.S.C. 853[a][2] and 881[a][7].)

      Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than one-year imprisonment. (See special sentencing provisions regarding crack.)

      Forfeitures (See 21 U.S.C. 881[a][4].)

      Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft, or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance.

      4. Civil Penalties for Possession of Small Amounts of Certain Controlled Substances (See 21 U.S.C. 844a.): Civil fine up to $10,000 (pending adoption of final regulations).

      5. Denial of Federal Benefits to Drug Traffickers and Possessors (See 21 U.S.C. 853a.) Denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses up to one year for first offense, up to five years for second and subsequent offenses.

      6. Firearm Forfeiture (See 18 U.S.C. 922[g].) Ineligible to receive or purchase a firearm.

      7. Miscellaneous Revocation of certain federal licenses and benefits, e.g., pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, etc., are vested within the authorities of individual federal agencies.

      8. Federal Trafficking Penalties

      See “Federal Trafficking Penalties” charts (Appendix A).

  • Health Risks
    • While most college students either do not drink or drink moderately, some students report high risk alcohol consumption.

      The U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have identified high risk drinking among college students as a major public health problem, which is neither victimless nor cost-free.

      Consuming alcohol at high risk levels is more likely to result in personal consequences such as:

      • hangovers, vomiting or nausea

      • memory loss (“blacking out”) or loss of consciousness (“passing out”)

      • being criticized for their drinking behaviors

      • regretting actions taken while under the influence of alcohol

      • damage to relationships with friends and family

      • unplanned or unsafe sexual activity

      • missing classes

      • poor performance on an exam or project

      • lower grade point averages

      • driving while intoxicated

      • hospitalization due to injury or severe intoxication

      • citation by university judicial system or arrest by local police

      • alcohol dependency or addiction

      • death due to injury, accident or alcohol overdose

      Those who do not drink or do not abuse alcohol may experience secondhand consequences from others’ excessive
      alcohol use. In addition to physical and sexual assault and damaged property, these consequences may include unwanted sexual advances and disrupted sleep and study.

      Many students carry an expectation that there are a subset of drinking behaviors relegated to the college years. While it is often the case that we “grow out” of potentially perilous drinking behaviors, there may be patterns set which have lasting impacts. While only a small minority of students will develop clinical alcoholism, many more will suffer avoidable negative impact on relationships and studies. (Information adapted from the Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges,” April 2002. Available at

      Health Risks Associated with Illicit Drug Use

      Similar to alcohol, someone who uses illicit drugs on a regular basis is at increased risk for experiencing negative consequences (see “Health Risks Associated with Alcohol Use,” above). These consequences can vary greatly depending on the substance, the quantity consumed, if it is combined with alcohol or other substances, and the frequency of consumption. Some consequences may include the following:

      • Mental and physical health problems, including lowered resistance to disease/illness, Increased risk of ulcers, heart disease, and cancers of the liver, mouth, throat and stomach, memory loss, anxiety disorders, phobias, and depression.

      • Increased risk of serious injury to self or others, due to fighting, sexual assault, driving under the influence, homicide and suicide.

      • Increased likelihood of engaging in unprotected/unsafe sex, due to impaired judgment which may result in unplanned pregnancy and/or infection with a sexually transmitted disease.
      • Increased likelihood of developing an addiction, particularly those with a family history of alcohol or other drug addiction. They are at least four times more likely to develop an addiction.

      • Increased likelihood of death. Drug use increases the odds of death from accidental or intentional drug overdoses as well as participation in other unsafe behaviors (e.g., driving under the influence).

      Multiple drug use: Drugs, by definition, impact the body’s physiologic processes by chemical means. These interactions may be unpredictable, especially when the constituents of drugs are partially unknown (as with street or club drugs), or of unexpected intensity as when prescription drugs are misused. Such effects are especially problematic when drugs are mixed or combined with alcohol or with other prescription or herbal medications a student may be taking.

      At best, such an outcome is frightening or uncomfortable; at worst it could lead to unintended effects as detailed above. In addition to these risks, there is the possibility of addiction to behavior patterns or physical addiction, both of which can yield devastating impact on family, finances, health, etc.

      The charts “Controlled Substances—Uses and Effects” (see Appendix B) provide additional information on the uses and effects of controlled substances.

      (Information adapted from McDowell, U. and Futris, T., “Adolescents at Risk: Illicit Drug Use.” Department of Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University, 2002; and C. Kuhn, S. Swartzwelder and W. Wilson, “Buzzed: The straight facts about the most used and abused drugs from alcohol to ecstasy,” 1998.)

  • Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention and Education for Students
    • WesWELL, the Office of Health Education | Davison Health Center, 327 High Street

      WesWELL, the Office of Health Education, coordinates alcohol and other drug prevention education activities. These efforts consist of educational outreach activities with the goal of informing and educating the Wesleyan community about the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. The program is aimed at creating an environment on campus in which responsible choices about alcohol and drug use are supported. Some strategies include:

      1. The director of health education hires a team of student Peer Health Advocates who create peer-led outreach activities on a range of health issues, including alcohol and other drugs. They design and disseminate a variety of activities and materials, assist the director in planning prevention activities, and help staff the WesWELL Office.

      2. The health education staff offers informative and interactive programs during New Student Orientation, residentially-based workshops throughout the year, and sponsors awareness events and speakers, often in collaboration with other departments or student organizations.

      3. The health education staff supports students referred for educational follow-up as a result of alcohol and other drug policy violations. This may be a one-on-one meeting with the director, participation in a web-based AlcoholEdu for Sanctions program, or completing university service hours.

      4. The director of health education conducts Residence Life student staff training and in-services, assists with event staff training, and supports the training needs of other departments and groups on alcohol and other drug issues as requested.

      5. WesWELL coordinates the HealthFull Words Fund, which provides funding for student organizations for educational events on health issues, including alcohol and other drugs.

      6. The office maintains an in-house resource library that includes pamphlets, books, journals, and DVDs, and access to appropriate Internet-based resources via the WesWELL Web site:

      7. The director of health education serves as a resource and an advisor to the Well-Being community, which includes students who opt to live in alcohol- and drug-free housing.

      8. The office regularly assists in conducting research on students’ attitudes and behavior regarding alcohol and other drug use.

      A. Identification, Intervention, and Referral of Students with Substance Abuse Problems

      Health Services and other Student Affairs and Deans’ Office staff are trained to identify students who may have substance-abuse problems and can intervene, if appropriate, to refer these individuals to the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or to a local treatment center for assessment and treatment, if necessary. The Residential Life student staff and the Peer Health Advocates may also refer students to Health Services and CAPS for problems with alcohol and other drugs.

      Additionally, students who violate the University’s Alcohol and Other Drug Policy may be referred by the Student Judicial Board (SJB) to meet with staff in Health Services and/or CAPS for an evaluation/ assessment or ongoing therapy.

      B. Ongoing Support for Students in Recovery

      Professionals are available in CAPS for ongoing counseling and support. Twelve-step support programs are available locally; for more information contact the Office of Health Education. Students in recovery have the option to live in substance-free housing available through the Office of Residential Life.

      Alcohol and Drug Counseling and Treatment for Students

      Davison Health Center, 327 High Street | 860-685-2470,

      The Davison Health Center serves as an important point of first contact for many students. The Health Center staff are well-attuned to the direct and indirect effects of alcohol and other drugs on students’ lives and factor this in virtually every clinical encounter. Educating and advising students on the use of alcohol and other drugs occurs directly when medical history or exam suggest that their use may be having an impact on physical, academic or social functioning and indirectly as when students are advised to avoid alcohol use to promote recovery from a viral illness. When necessary, students are referred to the Office of Behavioral Health or other substance abuse resources.

      Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) | Davison Health Center, 327 High Street | 860-685-2910,

      The drug/alcohol treatment program of CAPS is designed to meet the varied needs of students with substance abuse problems, and the program is designed to deal with different groups of students: those who are self-referred, those who are referred by other offices and members of the university  ommunity,and those who are returning to campus following treatment for substance abuse.

      The CAPS drug/alcohol program consists of four components: consultation and assessment, voluntary treatment, drug awareness education, and an individualized reentry program.

      A. Consultation and Assessment

      The assessment consists of one to two sessions with a therapist who assesses the nature of the drug/alcohol use and makes explicit recommendations regarding treatment if that is indicated. The consultation portion of the program is designed to be used by students who have concerns about their drug/alcohol use but who might be reluctant to seek treatment. Any member of the university community can also refer students directly to the CAPS program.

      B. Voluntary Treatment

      Treatment begins with an assessment of the nature and extent of drug/alcohol use and the formulation of a treatment plan, which may include individual therapy, AA/NA meetings, and group therapy. When outpatient therapy is insufficient to meet the needs of the student, a referral to an inpatient facility is made. In those instances, careful consideration is given to the student’s support networks, to family finances, to the type of program, and to post-rehabilitation  requirements before any recommendation is made.

      C. Individualized Reentry Program

      This program is for those students who are returning to the University following treatment (usually inpatient) for drug/alcohol abuse. When the student returns to campus, he/she will meet with a therapist to develop an individualized plan for his/her successful return to the University. This plan will be coordinated with the treatment facilities with which the student was involved.

      Policy Review

      The University will review the Illegal Drugs and Alcohol Policy at least every two years to assess its effectiveness and ensure that disciplinary sanctions are consistently enforced. Changes in the policy will be implemented as needed following each review.