As a condition for receiving federal funds or any other form of federal financial assistance, all institutions of higher education must implement a drug and alcohol policy that complies with applicable federal, state and local drug and alcohol laws. The law requires institutions to implement a program that will prevent the unlawful manufacturing, dispensing, possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. Dickinson College has programs and policies in place to support a drug-free environment. One may obtain a complete copy of Dickinson’s Drug and Alcohol Policy by contacting HR Services.

Any violation of these policies or of local, state or federal laws regarding illicit drugs or alcohol will result in appropriate disciplinary action. In addition to college disciplinary sanctions, students, faculty and staff involved with illegal use, possession or distribution of controlled substances may face criminal penalties, and the college will cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies as appropriate. If an employee has concerns about drug or alcohol use – their own or others – they may want to consult with the college’s employee assistance program (EAP) counselors.

As members of an academic community, students can expect an atmosphere that supports personal growth and learning. However, because we are also members of a residential educational community, students have an obligation to support and foster an environment for themselves and others that promotes and enhances our ability to work, study, live and learn together. Issues around the use, misuse and abuse of alcohol often have an impact on both the academic and social success of students in our community. The college requires that its students comply with legal standards applicable to alcohol use. Further, it is the expectation of the community that those students who are legally eligible to drink will affirm their commitment to community living by consuming alcohol responsibly and in locations that do not put underage students at risk. This Alcohol Policy together with the Community Standards and the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, provide the framework for guiding your decisions around alcohol.

The Law (Alcohol)

  • The minimum age in Pennsylvania for the purchase, consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages is 21 years.
  • It is illegal to furnish or serve alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of 21.
  • The law prohibits carrying or consuming alcoholic beverages in open containers outdoors on public property, regardless of a person’s age.
  • It is illegal to possess or use false identification or to misrepresent one’s age for the purpose of obtaining or consuming alcoholic beverages.
  • No group which is not licensed by the Liquor Control Board (LCB) may sell alcoholic beverages. The use of chits, chips, tickets or other means of exchange in place of cash violates LCB regulations.
  • It is illegal to appear in any public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol to the degree that you may endanger yourself or other persons or property or annoy persons in your vicinity.  
  • A person under the age of 21 is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle with ANY alcohol in his/ her system.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater) is illegal.

Community Standards

The following list contains specific provisions of Dickinson College’s standards of conduct for which students are accountable under the Community Standards. When community members ignore their responsibilities or lose their ability to reason, control their actions or consider the impact of their behavior on others due to excessive alcohol consumption, they are engaging in behavior that threatens not only themselves, but the community as a whole.

Underage Possession/Consumption
Student under the legal drinking age may not possess, consume or be under the influence of alcohol.

Drinking Games
Any activity or game that promotes or encourages the consumption of large amounts of alcohol is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, such activities as beer pong, quarters and flip cup.

Alcohol Paraphernalia
The possession of materials used in drinking games or other activities that promote or encourage the consumption of large amounts of alcohol is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, beer pong tables, beer funnels, beer/party balls, kegs and beer bongs.

Hosting Underage Guests
Any student who serves alcohol to underage students or does not have the service of alcohol monitored by a TIPS-trained bartender is violating College policy.

Public Intoxication
Any student who is under the influence of alcohol resulting in a disturbance to community members, college officials, law enforcement and/or property is violating college policy.

Hosting/Attending an Unregistered Event
Any event with alcohol and five (5) or more guests, in addition to the residents, must be registered. Hosting or attending an unregistered event with alcohol that should have been registered through the Office of Campus Life is prohibited.

Kegs/ Large Volume Containers
Kegs, beer/party balls, punch bowls or the equivalent are not permitted unless specifically authorized by the Office of Campus Life.

Multiple Locations
Events or activities, whether formally or informally organized, which simultaneous serve alcohol in three or more spaces, or encourage dangerous consumption, are not permitted (i.e., “Around the World” or progressive parties).

Other Dangerous Conduct
The consumption of large quantities of alcohol or the sustained consumption of alcohol that interferes with a student’s participation in the academic residential community and/or that poses a risk to the health or safety of the students or others is prohibited.

Violations of the Alcohol Policy
  • Students who violate the law may be accountable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The specific violations and potential penalties are set forth in the table entitled “Pennsylvania State Sanctions Related to Alcohol and Drug Offenses” set forth below.
  • Students who violate the college’s Alcohol Policy are in violation of the Community Standards and will be held accountable.
  • If students under the age of 21 are found to be in a location where alcohol is being consumed, other than at an event being held in compliance with the college’s “Hosting Guide for Events with Alcohol,” the college will presume that the underage students are in the possession of, and have been consuming, alcohol. It is therefore best for those under the age of 21 not to be in situations that give the appearance of Alcohol Policy violations or violations of Pennsylvania Law.
  • Those students over the age of 21 who are hosting unregistered events at which alcohol is provided should know that they bear a special responsibility under the Community Standards and Pennsylvania law to prove that they were not providing alcohol to minors and that persons under the age of 21 were not consuming or possessing alcohol.

Drug Free College Community

The Congress’s DrugFree Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 require that, as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any Federal program after October 1, 1990, all institutions of higher education must certify that they have adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful manufacturing, dispensing, possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. Likewise, anyone who submits research proposals to federal agencies must certify that they will not engage in any of the aforementioned activities during the period covered by the grant.

Individuals who do not make such certification and those who violate its terms will lose federal funds. As required by Federal regulations, this information was developed and distributed to inform all College community members of the seriousness of the use and abuseof illicit drugs and alcohol. It also sets forth standards of conduct regarding such activity.

Standards of Conduct
The unlawful manufacturing, possession, distribution, dispensing or use of illicit drugs or alcohol on college property or as part of any college activity by any member of the collge community is strictly prohibited. Any violation of college policies and/or local ordinances, State or Federal laws will result in appropriate disciplinary action. In addition to college sanctions, students should know that where appropriate, the college will cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies.

When on college owned property or at any college activity (on or off campus), all individuals and groups will be expected to observe and comply with drug and alcohol laws. The host of any event at which alcohol is provided in any way is responsible for complying with public laws, regulations and policies established by the college. The “host” is the person, persons or organization who provides the food, beverages or accommodations in which the activity takes place. The college reserves the right to prohibit or otherwise limit consumption of alcohol at certain events and in certain facilities. For more information, contact the Office of Campus Life at 717-245-1671.

Illicit Drugs
Illicit Drugs are controlled substances that possess a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in the United States and demonstrates a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Controlled substances so defined fall under seven headings: marijuana (marijuana, hashish); stimulants (amphetamines, cocaine); depressants (barbiturates, tranquilizers, hypnotics); hallucinogens (LSD, PCP); opiates or narcotics (heroin, morphine, opium, codeine); inhalants (sprays, solvents, glue); and designer drugs (synthetic drugs similar in effect to stimulants, hallucinogens and narcotics). To be used legally and safely, some of the drugs above must be prescribed by a physician. This list is not comprehensive; there may be substances omitted that are also illegal and fall under the designation of controlled substances.

Alcohol
Alcohol, the shortened term for ethyl alcohol, is a depressant that slows the activity of the central nervous system and the brain. Alcohol is a substance regulated by local, state and federal agencies with respect to its purchase, transportation, consumption and possession.

References to legal sanctions are illustrative only and can vary due to technical sentencing guidelines and revisions. Therefore, in any given offense, the penalty will be affected by factors such as any prior record, the quantity of any controlled substance involved and whether or not the offender is a current drug user.

Legal Sanctions
The purchase, consumption, transportation or possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21 is punishable by fines of up to $500 and loss of driving privileges in Pennsylvania. Misrepresentation of age to purchase alcohol and altering, selling or manufacturing of false identification is also punishable by minimum fines of $1,000 and loss of driving privileges. The selling or furnishing of alcoholic beverages to those under 21 is punishable by a mandatory fine of $1,000 for the first offense and $2,500 for each subsequent violation. Lying about age to obtain alcohol, making a false ID and furnishing alcohol to individuals under age 21 are misdemeanor offenses.

The legal sanctions for the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs are more diverse than the sanctions governing alcohol. They may vary from fines for first time misdemeanor offenses involving simple possession of certain substances to felony counts and multiple year terms of imprisoment for more serious violations.

The unlawful possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana or less than 8 grams of hashish, for example, is a misdemeanor and may carry a maximum jail sentence of 30 days and/or a fine of $500. The manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver heroin and other narcotics is a felony and carries a maximum jail sentence of 15 years and/or $250,000 fine.

A more complete summary of penalties related to alcohol and illicit drugs may be found online at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Individuals seeking legal advice regarding drug or alcohol laws should consult legal counsel.

Health Risks
All drugs, including alcohol, can have side effects. Their influences can affect the safety and well-being of the users as well as their friends.

Illicit drugs can interfere with important brain activities including coordination, memory and learning. They increase the risk of lung cancer, destroy liver cells, initiate severe weight loss and may weaken the immune system. Users may also experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat and irregular breathing. Convulsions, coma and death are also possible. Combining drugs can be fatal.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is absorbed into the blood stream and transmitted to all parts of the body. Moderate doses reduce physical coordination and mental alertness while larger doses of alcohol drastically impair an individual’s ability to function, sometimes rendering them unconscious. Long term drinking can increase the risk of developing liver and heart disease, circulatory and stomach problems, various forms of cancer and causes irreversible brain damage.

Drug/Alcohol Abuse Education Programs

Student Resources- Counseling, Education and Treatment
Drug and alcohol education programs are conducted regularly to heighten everyone’s awareness of the necessity to have a drug free college community. Resources are provided by sources such as the Health Center, the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Campus Life and the Counseling Center.

Employee Resources – Counseling, Education and Treatment
If an employee has concerns about drug or alcohol use – their own or others – they may want to consult with the college’s employee assistance program (EAP) counselors.

Assistance, Treatment, Support and Community Resources
Emergency Assistance:

  • On-campus call 1111 (717-245-1111) or contact your RA
  • Off-campus call 911


Medical Treatment:

  • Health Center x1835 (717-245-1835)
  • Carlisle Regional Medical Center Emergency Department 717- 960-1695


Emotional Support:

  • Counseling Center x1485 (717-245-1485)


Community Resources:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous 717-249-6673
  • Holy Spirit Hospital Drug and Alcohol Services 717-763-2369
  • The Letort Center 717-243-9000 (confidential treatment for addictions)