Alcohol and Other Drugs

As an educational institution, the college recognizes that the use of alcohol is a matter of individual choice and does not, therefore, encourage or discourage the reasonable legal use of alcoholic beverages. Oswego strives to empower students to make positive choices that reflect attitudes and behaviors that result in healthy lifestyles and contribute to a positive campus learning environment. New students, in particular, are likely to encounter choices to be made regarding peer expectations to drink alcohol and use drugs in social situations. To help new students navigate their first year college social environment, the college provides a health and wellness on-line suite – MyStudentBody – that includes student-oriented alcohol and other drug information.  It is relevant to both students who choose to drink and those who do not.  The goal of the course is to increase students’ knowledge, decrease harmful behaviors, and provide information to help students make good decisions.  Every new student, including transfer students, is required to complete MyStudentBody.

Individual students are responsible for their behavior related to their use of alcohol and other drugs.  Possession, distribution, or excessive and illegal use of alcohol, and/or illegal use, possession, distribution, sale, or manufacture of controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, and marijuana, including intentional misuse and distribution of legally prescribed drugs, are prohibited on or off campus, in college facilities and grounds, at college sponsored events and at activities and events sponsored by registered student organizations, athletic teams or sports clubs.

Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are directed to the college Statement in Support of a Drug Free Campus (reviewed annually) for the campus philosophy and referral resources.

1.   Use of alcoholic beverages and/or drugs on or off campus

A. The legal age of possession and purchase of alcohol in New York state is 21 years of age.

B. The consumption, possession and distribution of alcohol on campus grounds and in campus facilities is prohibited, except at events and under conditions authorized by the college and only by persons of New York State legal age.

C. The conditions of study and sleep in residence halls are vital to the college’s educational purposes as a residential college and integral to student academic performance.  The use of alcohol and illicit drugs in a residence hall community not only impacts student users but also has significant negative impact on other students in the residence hall community. Therefore:  

    1.  Alcohol is not permitted at any time in a residence hall room, suite or apartment in which all assigned residents are under the age of 21 years.  If at any time one or more empty containers of alcohol are present in such residences, the residence hall staff will assume consumption has occurred for purposes of reporting and responding to the residents assigned to that room.
     2.  Persons age 21 years or older may possess and consume alcoholic beverages in their room, suite or apartment. Students of legal drinking age must ensure that the amount of alcohol present in the room is reasonable for consumption by the individual resident over a reasonable period of time. In keeping with this, students of legal age may possess one of the following at any one time:

  • Up  to one 12-pack of 12 ounce cans OR
  • One 1.5 L or two 750 ml of wine OR
  • One 750 ml of hard liquor

     3.   Binge drinking, as defined by national norms as more than four (4) drinks in one sitting/event is detrimental to the health and welfare of our densely populated residential community.  Permission to possess and consume for those students who are of legal drinking age is predicated on our expectation of responsible use that does not have a negative impact on the rest of the residential floor or community.

     4.  Possession of open containers used for alcoholic beverages is not permitted for any student, guest or visitor in public areas of residence halls such as corridors, lounges, bathrooms, elevators, lobbies, offices, stairwells, doorways, etc.

  D. Intoxication on campus, in class or at college-sponsored events, is prohibited and constitutes grounds for student disciplinary action and dismissal from enrollment at the college.  Students who are transported to a hospital emergency room as a result of alcohol or drug use are required to meet with the Dean of Students to discuss the circumstances of their transport and their plans/strategies to refocus on their education.

  E. Students who are belligerent or uncooperative with Residence Life staff, University Police, emergency medical personnel, or Oswego Hospital staff will be subject to college disciplinary action and/or arrest.

  F. The use, possession, and/or distribution of predatory drugs or alcohol as a means of inhibiting a person’s ability to make clear and reasonable decisions regarding sexual contact are prohibited.

  G. Possession or use of drinking game equipment is prohibited.

  H. Members of registered student organizations, sports clubs or athletic teams, collectively or individually, or individual students, who sponsor events and activities on or off campus where alcohol is present are responsible for abiding by the tenets of the NYS Social Host Law, including but not limited to:
     1.   Host(s) will serve only persons of legal age
     2.   Host(s) will be held responsible for injuries and/or damage that occur even after an individual who was served has left the venue
     3.   Host(s) of events where alcohol is served in exchange for money or a door charge or a donation to enter are required to obtain permission from the local municipality

2. Disciplinary action related to alcohol and other drugs

Any student, student organization, team or sports club, and/or their guests and visitors, who violate this policy, will be subject to college disciplinary action and/or criminal action. Sanctions resulting from disciplinary action may include mandatory participation in Alcohol and Other Drug intervention programs, required conditions for continued enrollment, limited access to campus facilities or residence halls, suspension, or expulsion from the college.  Visitors and guests and student organizations who violate this policy may be denied access to the campus under the Rules for Maintaining Public Order.

     A. Violations of the college’s Code of Conduct and policies, including Alcohol and Other Drugs, are cumulative in nature and, therefore, will remain a part of the student’s disciplinary record for the duration of the student’s enrollment at the college.  Multiple violations constitute a pattern of behavior contrary to the educational purposes of the college and will be cause for consideration of suspension from enrollment at the college as an appropriate sanction.

     B. Students and/or student organizations may be referred to attend mandatory Alcohol and other Drugs intervention, which includes BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) or, In-Shape (a 30 minute health interview session that assesses drinking, smoking, drug use, exercise, sleep, eating habits, stress management and attitudes related to alcohol/other substances using motivational interviewing. Students explore individual use choices and behaviors and are given feedback about personal risk factors and advice about ways to moderate use, or a meeting with a campus Substance Abuse Counselor.  Students mandated for an alcohol or drug evaluation are required to arrange for the evaluation in accordance with instructions provided by Student Conduct and follow the recommendations that result from the evaluation.

     C. Members of the college community who provide alcohol or other drugs to others are responsible for the actions of those individuals and may be subject to college disciplinary action and/or criminal action for the conduct of those to whom they have given or otherwise provided alcohol.

     D. The college and City of Oswego work together to improve the quality of life in the Oswego City community for students and their neighbors.  Information regarding student behavior off campus is routinely shared with the college by the Oswego City Police where violations occur related to the use of alcohol and other drugs and related behavior. Violations of city ordinances or state and federal law may be reported to the college by the city police and subsequent college disciplinary action may result. The Mayor's Office may notify parents, by letter, of any student arrest off campus for student behavior related to use of alcohol and other drugs and related behavior.

3.  Notification to parents regarding student’s violation of alcohol and other drugs

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 was amended to permit colleges and universities to disclose to a parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21 information regarding any violation of Federal, State or local law, or any rule or policy of the institution, where the incident includes use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substances.  The College recognizes the important role that parental involvement may have in promoting positive choices by our students and reserves the right to notify parents of their student’s use, possession, or distribution of alcohol or illegal drugs.

4.  Summary of applicable New York State laws for alcohol use

     Section 65 of the New York State Alcohol Beverage Control Laws

     A.  It is illegal in the State of New York for any person under the age of 21 years to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage.

     B.  The sale of alcoholic beverages to persons under the legal New York State purchase age is prohibited.  No one may “sell, deliver or give away; cause, permit or procure to be sold, delivered or given away any alcoholic beverages” to anyone underage.  Legal consequences may include both fines and jail time.  

     C.  It is illegal in the State of New York for any minor to use false identification to obtain alcohol. Legal consequences may include a fine of up to $100 and/or up to 30 hours of community service.

     D.  In New York State, the sale, gift, or delivery of alcoholic beverages to a “visibly intoxicated person” is prohibited. 

     E.  Zero Tolerance Law:  Persons under age 21 who are caught driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .02 of 1% or more but not more than .07 of 1% will lose their driver’s license for at least 6 months and may have to pay civil penalties and suspension termination fees.

     F.  Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is the operation of a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.  Legal consequences may include fines, jail time, a revoked or suspended driver’s license.

5. Summary of applicable New York State laws for controlled substances, drug paraphernalia and marijuana

A. Controlled substances and drug paraphernalia

     1) With the exception of legally prescribed medication, it is illegal in the State of New York for any person to possess or traffic in any controlled substances and/or drug paraphernalia including, but not limited to, the following:  

  • Narcotics: opium, morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.
  • Depressants: barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methaqualone, rohypnol, etc.
  • Stimulants: cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, etc.
  • Hallucinogens: LSD, PCP, mescaline, peyote, ecstasy, etc.
  • Inhalants: nitrous oxide, butyl nitrate, propyl nitrate, etc. 
  • Precursors: chemical compounds
  • Prescription drugs: steroids, ritalin, etc.
  • Drug paraphernalia: packaging materials, scales & balances, hypodermic needles, etc.

     2) Legal consequences for the possession or criminal sale of controlled substances and/or drug paraphernalia may include fines and jail time. 

B. Marijuana

     1) It is illegal in the State of New York to possess, use or traffic in marijuana (i.e., cannabis, hashish, hashish oil, tetrahydrocannabinol, etc.). 
     2) Legal consequences for the possession or criminal sale of marijuana may include fines and jail time.

C. Driving while ability impaired by drugs

Driving while ability impaired by drugs (DWAI) is the operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of a drug as defined in the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192(4).  Legal consequences may include fines, jail time, and/or a revoked or suspended driver’s license.