Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy
Explore the alcohol and drugs policy for the university. Effective Date: September 1, 2021. Revisions: September 1, 2023.
The university is committed to the health, safety, and well-being of each member of the Stanford community. In order to further student learning and development, and to promote the university’s academic mission, Stanford fosters an environment of personal and collective responsibility and respectful citizenship. This means that all members of the university community—students, faculty and staff—have a role in safeguarding a healthy living and learning environment free of alcohol and other drugs misuse. The university also strives to create a culture that supports students who do not use alcohol, and students who are of legal age to use alcohol in a safe and responsible manner.
Throughout this policy “student group” includes all registered student organizations, sports teams, and student-led dorm communities.
This policy applies across all Stanford University campuses and premises where the activities of the university are conducted, including all off-campus university sanctioned or funded programs and events.
II. Policy Statement
- Members of the Stanford community are required to abide by all applicable laws and university policies, including those governing alcohol consumption, distribution and possession. Under California law and university policy, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol in any public or private space on campus. It is also illegal and a violation of university policy to furnish alcohol to an individual under the age of 21. Violations of university policies, state law, and federal law also constitute violations of the Fundamental Standard. Relevant specific laws and policy provisions governing the use of alcohol are listed below.
- Hard Alcohol — Distilled liquor/spirits/hard alcohol (alcohol by volume 20% and above, i.e. 40 proof) (“Hard Alcohol”) bottles, containers, etc. 750 mL and above, in undergraduate student residences (rooms, common spaces, etc.), or in the possession of undergraduate students in university public spaces, is prohibited. Hard Alcohol in bottles, containers, etc. smaller than 750 mL that are allowed under this policy, for people 21 years of age or older, must be contained and stored in the original bottle, container, etc. in which it was purchased from a licensed establishment. All Hard Alcohol, regardless of container size, is prohibited at all categories of undergraduate parties.
- Parties — Parties must be registered with the university in accordance with the party planning guidelines coordinated by Student Affairs. Individual parties or social gatherings cannot be registered at the residential level. Beer, wine and packaged pre-mixed alcoholic beverages (e.g. wine coolers, pre-mixed cocktail or seltzer drinks under 20% alcohol by volume, etc.) are the only alcoholic beverages that can be present at on-campus undergraduate student parties. Any student group or residence that includes undergraduate members is subject to this policy restriction. Student groups and residences that are 100% graduate students in membership are exempt and may have hard alcohol in the form of mixed drinks at registered “Members” parties. Shots of hard alcohol are prohibited at all parties.
- Drinking Games — Games and activities that promote high-risk drinking or rapid alcohol consumption are not allowed on campus.
- University Funds and the Purchase of Alcohol or Drugs — No university funds or funds collected by the university may be used in a way that violates this policy. In undergraduate student residences, house dues or student group funds may not be used to buy alcohol or drugs. Requiring or pressuring students to contribute to the purchase of alcohol or drugs is prohibited.
- Dining Halls — Alcoholic beverages are prohibited and cannot be possessed or consumed in R&DE dining halls, outside seating areas, or patios, unless allowed as a special exception as approved by R&DE. R&DE staff can deny admission, access or meal service to anyone who is deemed to be overly intoxicated by the Dining management staff.
- White Plaza — Alcoholic beverages in White Plaza are strictly prohibited unless allowed as a special exception as approved by the Office of Student Engagement.
- End of Quarter Period and Finals Week — No parties (with or without alcohol) can occur during the End of the Quarter Period (dead week) or Finals Week unless allowed as a special exception as approved by the Office of Student Engagement.
- Athletic Facilities — No alcohol is permitted to be brought inside Stanford athletic facilities during athletic events.
- Stanford Conferences and University Facilities — The university requires that event sponsors and student groups wishing to offer alcoholic beverages at their programs and events operate within state and local laws, as provided by the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC). Alcohol is not allowed in classrooms.
- Admit Weekend — Stanford students are prohibited from providing, serving, or in any way making alcohol available to any prospective frosh (“ProFro”). All undergraduate student groups and residences may host only alcohol-free parties or events during Admit Weekend. This specifically means that no alcohol is to be present, served or consumed at any undergraduate student group and/or residence function during Admit Weekend.
- New Student Orientation (NSO) Period — Stanford students are prohibited from providing, serving, or in any way making alcohol available to any new, incoming undergraduate student (freshman or transfer). All undergraduate student groups and residences will host only alcohol-free parties or events during New Student Orientation. This specifically means that no alcohol is to be present, served, or consumed at any undergraduate student group and/or residence function for the duration of NSO programming.
- California State Law:
- It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to possess an alcoholic beverage in any public place or any place open to the public (CA Business and Professions Code 25662)
- Any person who furnishes, gives, or sells any alcoholic beverage to someone under the age of 21 is guilty of a misdemeanor (CA Business and Professions Code 25658(a))
- Any person under the age of 21 who attempts to purchase an alcoholic beverage is guilty of an infraction (CA Business and Professions Code 25658.5)
- Any person under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a controlled substance in a public place and unable to exercise care for their own safety or that of others is guilty of a misdemeanor (CA Penal Code 647(f))
- It is illegal for persons to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs or with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher (CA Vehicle Code Section 23152). NOTE: A golf cart is a motor vehicle
- It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in their blood to drive a vehicle (CA Vehicle Code Section 23140(a))
- It is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to drive a vehicle when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01% or higher (CA Vehicle Code Section 23136)
- It is a misdemeanor to ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both (CA Vehicle Code Section 21200.5)
- It is an infraction to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage while in a motor vehicle (CA Vehicle Code Section 23223)
- It is an infraction for an owner or driver of a motor vehicle to allow an open container of alcohol in any area of the vehicle normally occupied by the driver or passengers (CA Vehicle Code Section 23225)
B. Other Drugs
- It is the policy of Stanford University to maintain a drug-free workplace and campus. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession and/or use of controlled substances (including but not limited to cocaine, opioids, hallucinogens, and benzodiazepines) is prohibited on the Stanford campus, or as part of any of the university's activities. Synthetic or counterfeit substances that are an analogue for a controlled substance are also prohibited under this policy. In addition, Stanford prohibits the possession or use of drug paraphernalia.
- Cannabis — While California has legalized certain recreational cannabis usage among persons aged 21 years or older, cannabis still remains illegal under federal law. The federal Controlled Substances Act criminalizes possession and distribution of controlled substances, including cannabis, with a limited exception for certain federally approved research. The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug-Free Workplace Act require that the university, as a recipient of federal funding, establish policies that prohibit cannabis use, possession and distribution on campus and in the workplace. For the avoidance of doubt, the possession, use, storage, delivery, cultivation, distribution and sale of cannabis in any form is prohibited on all Stanford University property, including university-owned and leased buildings, housing and parking lots. Cannabis is also not permitted at university events or while conducting university business.
- Abuse of legal substances — Possession or use of stimulants, depressants, and other agents having potential for abuse (except with a properly designated physician's or dentist's prescription), or distribution of such agents, is forbidden by university policy and local, state and/or federal law and is prohibited on Stanford University premises, or as part of any university activity.
- Distribution — Selling, transferring, exchanging, giving away or in any way distributing controlled substances is illegal and prohibited and is considered an egregious violation of this policy.
C. Additional Relevant University Regulations
- Students living in university housing sign a residence agreement that outlines university housing policies and expectations for conduct, including with respect to alcohol and drugs. Violations of the residence agreement can lead to loss of university housing and/or the withdrawal of future university housing privileges.
- The Stanford Administrative Guide, section 2.2.8 (Controlled Substances and Alcohol), applicable to all Stanford employees, students and others on campus, prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession and/or use of controlled substances and the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol.
- To ensure the appropriate referral for health, safety, and support, except as provided in Section F below, all violations of this policy, and students of concern due to alcohol or drug misuse must be referred to the Dean of Students Office.
- First incidents of underage alcohol consumption and/or cannabis consumption will result in the student being sent an outreach letter that contains educational resources to help them understand their habits, behaviors, and how to navigate campus norms. Second incidents will result in the student being required to engage with a support resource such as completing an online assessment and/or a meeting with a Resident Director or Graduate Life Office Dean to address understanding of policy, harm reduction behaviors, and impact on the community. Third incidents will require participation in an educational program offered by the Office of Substance Use Programs, Education & Resources (SUPER). Such interventions are intended to be educational in nature and will not result in a formal disciplinary record. Students who fail to participate in the assigned educational consequences will be referred to the Office of Community Standards (OCS) for failure to comply, where sanctions can range from a restorative action to a formal disciplinary process. Repeat incidents (4 or more) may be referred to the Dean of Students Office for further action.
- First incidents of over-intoxication (unable to care for self and/or needs assistance) will result in the student being required to engage with a support resource, such as a meeting with a Resident Director or Graduate Life Office Dean, and will require participation in an educational program offered by SUPER. Such interventions are intended to be educational in nature and will not result in a formal disciplinary record. Students who fail to participate in the assigned educational interventions will be referred to the OCS for failure to comply, where sanctions can range from a restorative action to a formal disciplinary process. Repeat violations (2 or more) may be referred to the Dean of Students Office for further action.
- First incidents of providing alcohol to persons under 21 (absent other aggravating factors) will result in the student being required to engage with a support resource, such as a meeting with a Resident Director or Graduate Life Office Dean, to address understanding of policy, harm reduction behaviors, and impact on the community. Second incidents will require participation in an educational program offered by SUPER. Such interventions are intended to be educational in nature and will not result in a formal disciplinary record. Students who fail to complete the assigned educational interventions will be referred to the OCS for failure to comply, where sanctions can range from a restorative action to a formal disciplinary process. Repeat incidents (3 or more) may be referred to the OCS or to the Dean of Students Office for further action.
- Violations involving other drugs, such as possession or use of controlled substances (other than cannabis), or egregious violations, such as the distribution or attempted distribution of any controlled substances, will require participation in an educational program offered by SUPER and will result in a referral to the OCS, where sanctions can range from a restorative action to a formal disciplinary process. The Dean of Students Office may take action as well in certain circumstances.
- Violations of this policy by student groups will be referred to the Student Group Accountability Process. Student group leaders and/or event coordinators may also be held accountable for violations of this policy.
- Other violations not specifically delineated above will be addressed according to the specific circumstances of a given incident, as determined through a dialogue between the Dean of Students Office and any other relevant university departments, including but not limited to SUPER, Residential Education, Resident Fellows, the Graduate Life Office, Department of Athletics, Physical Education & Recreation, and OCS.
- When a university staff member (student or professional) encounters controlled substances (including cannabis) they must immediately notify the Resident Director On-Call or Graduate Life Office Dean On-Call, who will notify the Stanford Department of Public Safety (SUDPS). SUDPS will oversee the safe removal of any controlled substances.
E. Good Samaritans
- The health, safety, and well-being of our community is the highest priority. As such, we expect our community members to seek medical treatment when needed. Students seeking medical treatment and/or education for themselves or another person, as well as the student in need of medical treatment, will not be subject to disciplinary action with respect to the use of drugs or alcohol in violation of this policy. Educational programs can still be required.
- Similarly, student groups seeking medical treatment for someone for the effects of drug or alcohol use will not be subject to disciplinary action with respect to the use of drugs or alcohol in violation of this policy. Educational programs can still be required.
- The Good Samaritan provisions of this policy do not preclude disciplinary action regarding other violations of University standards, but may be considered a mitigating factor in any disciplinary action. No such mitigation will be available in cases involving Sexual Violence.
- If it is a medical emergency students must call 911. If it is not a medical emergency, sources of help might include: Residential Education, the Graduate Life Office staff, Vaden Health Services, and SUDPS.
- In order for this section of the policy to apply for the intoxicated/impaired student(s), the student(s) must engage with support and/or educational resources determined by the university. Serious or repeated incidents may prompt a higher degree of response, as determined by the Dean of Students Office after a dialogue with the affected student(s).
- In order for this section of the policy to apply to a student group they must complete recommended steps to address concerns. Serious or repeated incidents may prompt a higher degree of response, as determined by the Dean of Students Office after a dialogue with the affected student(s).
- In all instances, the failure on the part of an individual or student group to seek medical assistance for another student when needed will be considered a serious aggravating factor in any resulting disciplinary action.
F. Sexual Violence Reporting*
- The prevention of Sexual Violence is of utmost importance to the university, and nothing in this policy is intended to chill victims’ willingness to seek help or report such matters.
- Students who report experiencing Sexual Violence will not be subject to any reporting or disciplinary action under this policy (commencing when such report is made) with respect to their alcohol or drug consumption in connection with reported incident(s) of Sexual Violence.
- Similarly, witnesses who aid any report of Sexual Violence will not be subject to any reporting or disciplinary action under this policy (commencing when such report is made) with respect to their alcohol and drug consumption in connection with reported incident(s) of Sexual Violence.
- The term “Sexual Violence” as used in this policy includes but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and all other Prohibited Sexual Conduct described in Stanford Administrative Guide 1.7.1 whether under Title IX or some other University rule, or an attempt to commit or to knowingly aid or facilitate another person to commit any of the above.
*Should a sexual assault victim report an assault, any ongoing alcohol violation process will be halted; and if a process has been completed, any finding or consequences will be rescinded.
III. Resources and Support for Student Well-Being
- If you or someone you know is struggling with substance misuse, abuse, or addiction there are resources to help you.
- Meet one-on-one with a Substance Use Educator. Substance Use Educators can help you develop a plan for safer drinking, learn tools to modify substance use, give you personalized feedback, and/or assist in connecting you to additional resources. Student groups can seek guidance and support to cultivate safe and healthy communities by contacting a Substance Use Educator as well as staff in the Office of Student Engagement. They can help in developing effective events, educational programs, and providing strategies and resources.
- Meet one-on-one with a Well-Being at Stanford Coach. Well-Being at Stanford Coaches are experts in the change process and serve as skilled partners to help you make shifts in beliefs and behaviors to improve your overall well-being, or simply offer support when you’re struggling. With them, you can clarify values, set goals and priorities, talk through challenges, and create your own vision for well-being.
- Connect with CAPS. CAPS counselors offer individual alcohol and drug clinical services as well as groups and workshops.
- Meet one-on-one with a staff member in the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office helps students navigate university resources and helps students identify which resource options are best for them.
- The Stanford Collegiate Recovery Program offers flexible levels of support for students in recovery. It also offers resources for students who have a family member or friend in recovery and are seeking support.
- The Stanford Well House offers an undergraduate residential community focused on substance-free living and learning. The house will provide an environment and programming for students to learn and practice holistic approaches to physical, mental, and emotional health.
- More resources can be found here.