Community Standards

Alcohol and Drug Policy


The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 requires Colleges who receive federal financial assistance to certify the United States Department of Education documentation of a prevention program on the illicit use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol by members of the College community.

Union College's Policy on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Union College prohibits the unlawful use, possession, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by students and employees on the Union College campus, or while engaged in Union College-sponsored activities or employment. This includes all paraphernalia associated with the use of drugs and/or alcohol abuse. Union College observes all laws governing the use of alcoholic beverages within the State of New York and prohibits any violations of these laws.

Students will be held personally responsible for complying with all aspects of federal, state, and local laws as well as the College’s Code of Conduct and any other rules governing alcohol and drug use. In its enforcement of the College policy, Union will act neither as a police agency enforcing the law nor as a sanctuary protecting those who violate laws regarding alcohol or other drugs


    As a matter of personal safety and well-being, the College regards the use of illegal drugs and alcohol as a health concern, a hindrance to academic performance, and a disciplinary matter. Union College encourages its students to comply with local, state and federal laws regarding alcohol and drugs. The College will hold individuals responsible for violation of the College Alcohol and Drug policy. Sanctions consist of disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the College and referral to law enforcement officials for investigation and criminal prosecution where applicable. More information about sanctioning can be found in the Code of Student Conduct.

    Students or organizations found selling, manufacturing, or possessing drugs in amounts that indicate drug sales or distribution will face penalties ranging from suspension to expulsion. Students or organizations found illegally selling, manufacturing, or distributing alcohol will face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. Possession of drug paraphernalia that has been used, whether at the time of confiscation or not, is against the law and students who violate the law are subject to College discipline.

    While each disciplinary case is evaluated individually, students who put themselves at risk or who violate the Alcohol and Drug Policy or the Conduct Code while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can expect to face disciplinary charges through the student conduct system and the criminal justice system where applicable. If found in violation of the Conduct Code, disciplinary sanctions may range from a formal warning to expulsion. Students will be required to complete an educational experience. The educational experience may involve assessments, Campus service, parental notification, and meeting with The Health Educator to discuss personal alcohol and other drug use and abuse. Repeat violators of the Alcohol and Drug policy can expect more severe disciplinary sanctions which may include progressive educational experiences, suspension, or expulsion.

    The Counseling Center and Student Health Services can provide confidential consultation and referral to students with problems or concerns related to alcohol and/or drug use. Information about substance abuse and treatment programs is also available in the Office of the Dean of Students.

    This policy implements the Drug Free School and Communities Act (20 U.S.C. 1145g)

    For more information about Union College's policies regarding Alcohol and Drug Abuse, please check the following links:

    Biennial Review of Union College's Alcohol & Other Drug Programs 2020-2022

    The Drug Free Schools and Campuses Regulations (34 CFR Part 86) of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) requires an institution of higher education such as Union College to certify it has implemented programs to prevent the abuse of alcohol and use of illicit drugs both by Union students and employees both on its premises and as a part of any of its activities. At a minimum, each institution of higher education must annually distribute information in writing to all students and employees; these are listed in Union’s Student Handbook and Staff Handbook, and are reiterated in our “Notice to Present Students” and “Notice to Present Employees” documents.

    They include the following:

    • Standards of conduct that clearly prohibit at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees,
    • A description of the legal sanctions under local, state, or federal law for the unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol,
    • A description of the health risks associated with the abuse or misuse of alcohol or illicit drugs,
    • A description of any drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, rehabilitation, or re-entry programs that are available to employees or students,
    • A clear statement that Union College will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees, and a description of those sanctions, up to and including expulsion or termination of employment and referral for prosecution, for violations of the standards of conduct.

    The law further requires that the institution conduct a biennial review of its program with the following objectives:

    1. determining the effectiveness of the policy and implementing changes to programs pertaining to alcohol and drugs, if they are needed; and
    2. ensuring that the sanctions developed are enforced consistently.

    The biennial review must also include the number of drug and alcohol related violations occurring on the campus or as part of their activities that are reported to campus officials, and the number and type of sanctions the school imposes on students or employees as a result of such violations.

    Union College acknowledges its legal obligation to conduct a biennial review of compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and authorized an administrative review of the initiatives. The intention of this document is to meet the legal requirements of conducting a biennial review and also summarize the programs and activities related to alcohol and drug prevention on Union’s campus during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years.

    Union College has a comprehensive approach to drug and alcohol abuse that spans a number of departments. The senior staff at the college has committed attention to the issue, and the president has provided significant leadership. Union, as a school in the northeastern US with strong participation and engagement with Greek life and Athletics, attracts a student body demographic that will be more likely to engage in alcohol activities during their time in college. It is, therefore, necessary for us to engage in significant programs for the management of those behaviors.

    Biennial Review for 2020-2022