Alcohol and Drug Policy

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Information

as published in the St. Ambrose University Student Handbook

Position Statement

The 1989 amendments to the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act, Part 86, requires that as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under a federal program, an institution of higher education must certify it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. St. Ambrose University therefore maintains and enforces alcohol and other drug policies consistent with federal, State of Iowa, and local laws. St. Ambrose University believes that alcohol abuse is a significant health issue that is counterproductive to the pursuit of academic excellence. While we do not view alcohol and other drug use as inherently detrimental to individual health, the risk remains high that traditional college age students in particular may become involved in the abusive behaviors associated with use that impacts their academic performance, health, and overall well-being.

Educational Approach

As an institution of higher education, St. Ambrose University is committed to the education of the whole person, both in and out of the classroom. St. Ambrose University expects students to make informed decisions regarding the role alcohol use will play in their college learning experience. Our policies are established to encourage the safe, healthy, responsible, and legal use of alcohol and other drugs. The University takes seriously the issue of alcohol and other drug use and abuse, as these behaviors can interfere with an individual's ability to succeed in college both in and out of the classroom. Recognizing the prominence of alcohol use and abuse in our society and that policy does not necessarily dictate behavior, we deem the education of our students on these issues to be of paramount importance. To be most effective, we believe it is critical to establish an environment that allows for this topic to be freely discussed.

Campus Impact

Alcohol and other drug consumption have been shown to cause a number of changes in behavior and physiology, posing a significant threat to the health and welfare of college students in particular. Even minor usage can impair judgment, coordination, and abstract mental functioning. Statistics show that the vast majority of violent behaviors (including sexual violence, vandalism and assault) on college campuses involve alcohol use. Our campus is no different. Additionally, continued use stresses social relationships and may lead to dependency, which often causes permanent damage to vital organs and is counterproductive to a healthy lifestyle.

Medical Amnesty

St. Ambrose University seeks to encourage and sustain an academic environment that both respects individual freedom and promotes the health, safety, and welfare of all community members. St. Ambrose strongly encourages students to call Campus Security (563-333-6104 or 911 from campus phones) to provide medical assistance for those who may have been harmed or are dangerously under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No student seeking medical treatment for the effects of drug or alcohol use, or who may need assistance while unlawfully under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, will be subject to University discipline for violating the St. Ambrose Code of Conduct as it relates to alcohol and drug use. Should behavior be deemed to violate the code of conduct, emphasis will be placed on affirming individual and collective student well-being first and foremost. However, students may be held responsible or accountable for acts committed while intoxicated, as intoxication will not be viewed as an acceptable excuse to alleviate individuals of responsibility or accountability for a policy violation. Medical amnesty will be granted to both the intoxicated student and to the student(s) seeking medical assistance on behalf of the intoxicated student.

General Alcohol Policy Guidelines

Wishing to establish an environment that fosters academic excellence while educating our students on the complexities of alcohol and other drug use, St. Ambrose University established the St. Ambrose Alcohol Policy as follows: 

  1. Students are expected to encourage responsible drinking behavior by those individuals who choose to consume alcohol and to respect the choices of individuals who choose not to consume alcohol.
  2. Consumption by, supplying and/or selling alcohol to a person under the age of 21 is illegal in the State of Iowa and a violation of University policy.
  3. Violations of the Alcohol Policy are cumulative through a student's career.
  4. No alcohol, powdered alcohol ("palcohol"), low alcohol beer ("light beer, non-alcoholic beer, small beer, small ale, or near-beer"), or alcohol containers (including empty containers) are allowed in traditional student residential areas (Bechtel, Cosgrove, Davis, Franklin, North traditional suites, and Rohlman halls). All students present, regardless of age, will be held in violation of the Alcohol Policy when alcohol, powdered alcohol ("palcohol"), low alcohol beer ("light beer, non-alcoholic beer, small beer, small ale, or near-beer"), or alcohol containers are found in a room or house and/or consumed in residential areas.
  5. In a "preferred" housing setting, when a person underage is found consuming alcohol, the host(s) and underage person(s) found to be consuming alcohol may be held in violation of the Alcohol Policy.
  6. No one may possess or consume alcoholic beverages in public areas of campus. Public areas include all locations other than students' rooms, "preferred" apartments in Tiedemann, Hagen, houses, North Hall apartments, or townhouses.
  7. When a policy violation is confronted on campus property or in university housing, university staff will instruct hosts and/or guests to properly dispose of all alcohol, powdered alcohol ("palcohol"), low and non-alcohol beer ("light beer, non-alcoholic beer, small beer, small ale, or near-beer"), and alcohol containers that may be accessible at the location of the policy violation.
  8. Kegs, pony kegs, or other common sources of alcohol, will not be permitted in University student housing. These items will be confiscated and not returned.
  9. Due to the nature of their use and the reality that their presence encourages overuse and/or parties, bars are not allowed in residential facilities.
  10. Alcohol may not be given as a prize or award.
  11. Competitive drinking games (any type of game that can reasonably be assumed is for the purpose of alcohol consumption) and equipment (i.e. beer pong tables, shot roulette/checkers/chess, beer funnels, etc.) are prohibited. Equipment will be confiscated and may not be returned.
  12. No advertisements, including t-shirt designs, that promote alcohol consumption may be printed in student publications or posted on campus unless the event is sponsored and approved by the University.
  13. Names and logos of alcohol distributors, brewers and distillers may not appear on the printed programs, schedules or posters of athletic teams or student organizations.
  14. Posters, containers and other items that refer to alcohol may not be displayed in areas of student residences visible to the public. These areas include windows, outer doors and porches. Failure to remove these items from public view may result in disciplinary action.

Drug Policy

St. Ambrose enforces drug policies consistent with state and federal statutes and has declared a drug-free workplace at all locations at which the University conducts business. Students, faculty, and staff are prohibited from the use, possession, manufacturing, sale or distribution of any illegal controlled substance. The use and possession of drug paraphernalia, including but not limited to blow tubes, rolling paper, pipes, etc., is also prohibited. 

If a student believes she/he has a substance abuse problem and seeks assistance prior to a violation of this policy, the University will provide support through the counseling office, which administers confidential and free intake interviews, assessment, mental health counseling, and referral services to all students.

Tobacco-Free Environment Policy

In consideration of the health, safety and comfort of all St. Ambrose students, employees and visitors, and in compliance with Iowa State law (Iowa Code Chapter 142D), the use of any form of tobacco is prohibited in or on any property owned by St. Ambrose University.

This policy prohibits the use of any form of tobacco, or tobacco-like products (such as electronic or e-cigarettes) in or on, but is not limited to, all of the following: University grounds including parking lots, athletic fields, and any other outdoor area under the control of St. Ambrose University, residential housing, offices, classrooms, student residences, lounges, hallways, dining facilities, rest rooms, entryways and enclosed areas owned by the University.

The use of any form of tobacco or tobacco-like products is prohibited at all times in University-owned vehicles. Smoking is prohibited inside any vehicle, whether University-owned or privately-owned, located on school grounds.Smokers are required to properly dispose of any tobacco materials before entering any campus property or the grounds. No ashtrays or smoking receptacles will be available on campus.

The sale of tobacco or tobacco-like products is prohibited on campus. All applicants for employment and students will be advised of the tobacco-free policy.Employees and students who want help curbing their use of tobacco may obtain literature and smoking cessation assistance from the St. Ambrose University Human Resources Office or Health Services Office.

All students, employees and visitors share responsibility for adhering to and enforcing the policy. Anyone in violation of Iowa law may be subject to the state's regulation, enforcement and civil penalties.

St. Ambrose employees and students in violation of the University's policy may also be subject to University disciplinary action.

The University shall not discharge, refuse to employ, or retaliate in any way against an employee, prospective employee, or student for exercising his or her rights under Iowa Code Chapter 142D, including the right to register a complaint or prosecution of a claim.

St. Ambrose also considers electronic cigarettes/smokeless cigarettes/e-cigs to be in violation of the Tobacco-Free Environment Policy. People who use these items on campus property will be in violation of the University's policy and subject to University discipline action.

Enforcement: Alcohol and Other Drug Policy

Federal guidelines note above dictate that institutions of higher education must demonstrate that policies are appropriately enforced. To achieve compliance with expected guideless, the university first extends a level of trust, until given reason to believe otherwise, that each student is honoring their contractual commitments to follow university policy, local, state, and federal law. University personnel will confront all actual and suspected policy violations of which we become aware. The University reserves the right to search any personal property brought on campus if reasonable suspicion exists that a university policy is being violated. This includes backpacks, purses, vehicles, and other closed containers.

Further, empty alcohol containers and other elements found in student rooms or houses that suggest evidence of possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages on campus may be grounds for disciplinary action. Should a staff member approach a situation, it is expected that individuals present comply with all reasonable requests made by a college official. All present are expected to be respectful through their interactions with staff and to present themselves truthfully. 

Sanctions for Violation of Local, State, and Federal Laws

Alcohol UseLocal statues adhere to State guidelines regarding sanctions for violations. 

Iowa State law considers the illegal possession and use of alcohol a simple misdemeanor. Please visit the Iowa Code of Law Section 123.47A. Likewise, federal laws prohibit the underage use of alcohol. Read about them at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Drug (Controlled Substances) Use

Local statues adhere to State guidelines regarding sanctions for violations. Iowa State law considers the manufacture, deliver, or possession of illegal drugs to be a class "B" felony, punishable by confinement of up to 50 years and fines up to $1 million.

Federal law (specifically the Controlled Substances Act passed in 1970) likewise prohibits the manufacture, distribution, and possession of controlled substances. 

Programming: Alcohol and Other Drug Education

St. Ambrose University recognizes the need for continuous education in regards to alcohol and other drug use. As a result, the Alcohol and Other Drug Environmental Review Council exists to oversee the implementation of a comprehensive educational program. Additionally, this council works to assess overall effectiveness and to make recommendations for future initiatives. By collaborating with campus community members, the AOD Environmental Review Council seeks to educate the Ambrose community about alcohol use, abuse, and the impact these choices have on the educational environment. Programming is targeted to increase awareness and to further inform students, faculty, and staff regarding current usage, trends of alcohol and other drug use in higher education, and what each can do to lessen the risk of negative impacts of use toward creating safe, healthy responsible, and legal patterns of use.

Additionally, the St. Ambrose University conduct review process includes educational sanctioning for violations involving the alcohol and other drug policies. These include, but are not limited, to: personal assessments, reflection papers, seminars, attending educational events, research, and helping with educational programming. Suspension and dismissal may be outcomes for repeated violations or in instances where acts are significantly egregious.

Resources: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention
Substance Abuse Support Program

The counseling center coordinates evaluation and support for students whose alcohol or other drug use interferes with their academic or social success. The Director of Counseling oversees the use all available campus and community resources to restore the health and effectiveness of these students. Procedures include:

1.  Self-Referral. Students who want help should call the Counseling Center and speak to a counselor. Confidentiality is maintained at all times. The counselor will work with the student to evaluate the information presented and suggest available campus-based or community resources. The counselor will maintain confidentiality unless the student requests in writing that someone else be informed of the situation.
2. Faculty/Staff/Peer Referral. If a student's class attendance, performance, or a particular incident indicates the student is being negatively impacted by alcohol and/or other drug use, the faculty/staff member should first share concerns directly with the student, recommending the student contact the Director of Counseling for a free and confidential assessment. With the student's permission, the counselor will advise the faculty/staff of any further action that may be helpful. In instances when referral is not code of conduct based, the counseling office and the university have the greatest range of options available to assist the overall health and well-being of the individual student. All information pertaining to the student's referral and information provided by the coordinator to the faculty/staff will be held in strict confidence.

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