Alcohol and Other Drugs

Approved by: Dean of Students Office

History:  Updated 2009 | 2021 | 2023                                       

Related Policies:  Complaints and Grievances | Student Expectations & Code of Conduct | Sanctioning Guide

Related Forms, Procedures and References: Residence Hall Handbook

For Questions Contact: Dean of Students Office | 414.382.6118 | FO 119 |

Alverno College is committed to protecting the safety, health and well-being of its employees and students. We recognize that alcohol abuse and drug use may pose a significant threat to our goals. The College prohibits the use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs as well as the abuse or distribution of alcohol and other legal drugs because of their potential to adversely affect an individual. 

Student and employee involvement with alcohol and other drugs can be very disruptive, adversely affect the quality of work and performance of employees, pose serious health risks to users and others, and have a negative impact on productivity and morale.  All members of the Alverno community are expected to demonstrate consistent, effective work and learning habits and to follow this policy.

State and Federal Legal Sanctions 

Alcohol – The legal drinking age in Wisconsin and Arizona is 21 years of age.  All members of the college are subject to all laws of the State of Wisconsin and/or Arizona regarding possession, consumption, and sale of alcoholic beverages while at Alverno College or at College-sponsored off-campus events.  Alverno College neither encourages the use, nor condones the misuse of alcohol but respects the privilege of choice of those of legal age. Alverno College expects individuals to abide by all federal and state laws regarding alcohol and drug use. 

There are substantial restrictions against the sale, possession and distribution of alcohol in Wisconsin and Arizona.  It is against the law to sell alcohol to anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 and there is a concurrent duty on the part of an adult to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol on their premises, Wis. Stats.125.07(1)(a) and A.R.S. 4-244(9).  Violation of these statutes can result in monetary fines and imprisonment for subsequent violations.  It is against the law for an underage person to attempt to buy an alcoholic beverage, falsely represent their age, or enter a licensed premise except to conduct lawful business. 

Drugs - Wisconsin laws prohibit drug possession and delivery through the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Wis. Stats. 961.   This mandates stiff penalties, including large fines and long periods of imprisonment.  For a first-time conviction of possession of a controlled substance, a person can be sentenced up to one year in prison and fined up to $5000, Wis. Stats. 961.41(2r).  The penalties will vary depending on the amount and type of drug confiscated, the number of previous offenses by the individual, and if the individual intended to manufacture, sell or possess the drug.  Wis. Stats. 961.41.  In addition to the stringent penalties for possession or delivery, the sentences can be doubled when exacerbating factors are present, such as when a person distributes a controlled substance to a minor, Wis.Stats.961.46(1).

Arizona laws prohibit drug possession and delivery through A.R.S. 13-3407.  However, the statutory provision Prop 207, found in A.R.S. Title 36, Chapter 28.2, does allow adults over the age of 21 to possess, purchase, transport, or process 1 ounce or less of marijuana or 5 grams or less of marijuana concentrate.  All students should be aware of specific rules and policies pertaining to their individual disciplines and review Department Specific Handbooks.

The federal government revised the penalties against drug possession and trafficking when it adopted the Federal Sentencing Guidelines that reduce or eliminate the discretion that federal judges may use in sentencing offenders of federal drug statutes.  Under current statutes, courts can sentence a person up to one year of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for unlawful possession of a controlled substance such as marijuana.  Federal law creates special penalties for the possession of certain drugs such as cocaine base, also known as crack.  For the possession of 5 grams of cocaine base, a federal judge is obligated to sentence a person to at least 5 years (and up to 20 years) imprisonment.  A sentence of life imprisonment is required for a conviction for the distribution of a controlled substance that results in death or bodily injury.  The Federal Sentencing Guidelines eliminated parole in the federal judicial system.

Federal law prohibits, among other things, the manufacturing, distributing, selling and possession of controlled substances as outlined in 21 United States Code, Sections 801 through 971.  Depending on the amount, first offense maximum penalties for trafficking marijuana range from up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 to imprisonment for life and a fine of $4 million.  Depending on the amount, first offense maximum penalties for trafficking other controlled substances (e.g., methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, PCP, LSD, fentanyl and fentanyl analogue) range from five years to life imprisonment and fines range from $2 to $4 million.  First offense penalties and sanctions for the illegal possession of small amounts of controlled substances, including marijuana, range from up to one year in prison or a fine of at least $1,000.  Penalties are more severe for subsequent offenses. Drug convictions may also have an effect on federal student aid for students.

Student Responsibilities

The College supports a wellness philosophy and promotes individual responsibilities, rights and privileges.  Individuals must recognize that when exercising their rights, they assume certain responsibilities, including

  • Respecting themselves and the rights of others
  • Respecting the privilege of choice of those of legal age and the rights of individuals to abstain from alcohol use
  • Making informed decisions and conducting themselves in a mature and responsible fashion 
  • Confronting those whose behavior may be damaging to the community or to themselves 
  • Guiding individuals who may have a problem to speak to a counselor or to seek health care intervention
  • Understanding and following state laws and college policies regarding alcohol use  

Awareness & Prevention

As part of its ongoing commitment to health and well-being, the College offers educational programs and resources through Counseling & Health Services.  When possible, one of the first responses to an individual found abusing alcohol or drugs would be assistance in overcoming the problem.

Individuals whose behavior indicates that they may be abusing alcohol and/or drugs will meet with the Assistant Dean of Students or the Dean of Students and appropriate action will be taken.

College Assistance and Resources

Alverno views alcohol and drug abuse and dependence as treatable.  Although the College provides reasonable assistance in these matters, we look to individuals to make a significant commitment in addressing their issues.  Interventions are confidential.  The College provides Alcohol/Drug education programs and individual assistance through Counseling & Health Services.

Community Assistance and Resources 

Alcoholics Anonymous (24 hours): Milwaukee: 414-771-9119 / Mesa: 480-834-9033

Al-Anon Family Groups: Milwaukee: 414-257-2415 / Mesa: 480-969-6144

Aurora Sinai Medical Center & Sexual Assault Treatment Center (24 hours): 414-219-5555

IMPACT Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (24 hours): 414-256-4808

Milwaukee: Mental Health & Crisis/Suicide Prevention Hotline (24 hours): 414-257-6995

Mesa: Maricopa County Resources call 2-1-1

National Suicide and Crisis Hotline (24 hours): Call or Text 9-8-8

Milwaukee Women’s Center Crisis Line (24 hours): 414-671-6140


In addition to institutional expectations, the following specific policies address violations.

  1. If you are under the age of 21 you may be found responsible for violating the alcohol policy if one of the following conditions exist:

    • A college official smells alcohol on your person

    • You are in the presence of someone consuming alcohol

    • You have alcohol paraphernalia in your residence hall room or car 

    • Your residence hall room or car smells like alcohol

    • You appear visibly intoxicated

  2. Illegal drug use is not tolerated by the college.  Individuals may be found responsible of drug use if the following conditions exist:

    • A college official smells drugs on your person

    • You are in the presence of someone doing drugs

    • You have drug paraphernalia in your residence hall room or car 

    • Your residence hall room or car smells like drugs

    • You appear under the influence of drugs

  3. Students are required to abide by all state laws and may drink at college sponsored events if of legal age.  Individuals are expected to conduct themselves in a mature and responsible fashion when drinking at College events, always respecting the rights of others.  The staff or event sponsors reserve the right to make an event alcohol free and to ask persons to leave the event who do not demonstrate appropriate behavior.  In addition, students demonstrating disorderly conduct after they have been drinking may be subject to disciplinary action.  

  4. Alcoholic beverages may be possessed, purchased and/or consumed by persons of legal drinking age in areas designated by the college.  

  5. All alcohol sold and served on campus must be purchased through Dining Services. 

  6. All students are required to show proof of age when purchasing alcoholic beverages on campus.  Students who fail to provide this information, use false ID or violate the law and/or college policy are liable for disciplinary action.

  7. No person may procure, sell, dispense or give alcoholic beverages to an underage person.  Individuals contributing to underage drinking will be held responsible.

  8. Intoxication and/or alcohol abuse shall not be tolerated and will not be used as an excuse for unlawful behavior or misconduct.  Inappropriate behavior stemming from the consumption of alcohol shall result in discipline (e.g. having kegs, tappers or beer bongs in the residence hall, having drinking parties in resident rooms).  

  9. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted to be stored or consumed in a resident student room when any of the residents of the room are less than 21 years of age.  Guests of legal drinking age may not consume alcoholic beverages in a resident’s room unless the resident of the room and the guest visiting is of legal drinking age.

  10. Public intoxication is prohibited.  Public intoxication is defined as any intoxication which causes a disturbance or is dangerous to self, others or property or in any way requires the attention of the college staff.  Intoxication will not be accepted as an excuse for irresponsible behavior.  This applies to all persons regardless of age.

  11. Individuals are responsible to assure the safety and welfare of their college peers and/or guests who are intoxicated. This includes providing transportation to/from off-campus events where alcohol is served.

  12. Using, possessing, manufacturing, selling, buying, or transferring drugs on any campus property or at any college sponsored function is forbidden.

Underage Drinking 

If a student is underage and has been drinking, complete an incident report with Residence Life staff (for residential students) or the Assistant Dean of Students (for non-residential students) will discuss the violation and consequences with the student.

Drinking and Driving

Individuals are responsible for the safety and welfare of their peers and guests who are intoxicated. This includes providing transportation to/from off-campus events where alcohol is served.  If an intoxicated individual insists upon driving, the Milwaukee Police Department will be called and an incident report will be completed.

Responsible for Guests

Students are responsible for the behavior of their guests.  Guests violating the Alcohol and Drug Use Policies will be asked to leave.  If they refuse to leave peacefully, Campus Safety will call the Milwaukee Police Department and complete an incident report.


At times, alcohol may be involved in cases of medical emergencies, major crimes, sexual misconduct or gender discrimination.  In an effort to encourage students to report these incidents and to focus on the safety of the student, an assurance of amnesty from an alcohol policy violation is provided for the student reporting a medical emergency, major crime, sexual misconduct, or gender discrimination. 

Student Employees and Interns – Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse

Students in the classroom, at their internship or clinical, and at their college work site are expected to report to work in appropriate mental and physical condition to perform their duties in a satisfactory manner.  Involvement with drugs and alcohol can be very disruptive, adversely affect the quality of work and performance, pose serious health risks to users and others, and have a negative impact on the learning environment, productivity, and morale.  The internship/clinical site is considered an extension of the college campus.   Students are required to follow the work site rules for alcohol and/or drug violations but Alverno would also discipline the student as if there was an abuse of alcohol or drugs on campus.  Refusal to participate in drug and alcohol testing will be considered a voluntary termination of the employment or internship.  Alverno College will test for violations when:

  1. the College has reasonable cause to believe that a student worker or intern is under the influence of drugs  or alcohol

  2. an employee or intern is injured as a result of an on-the-job accident and receives medical treatment away from the workplace

  3. an employee or intern is involved in an on-the-job accident which results in injury to another individual that requires medical attention

  4. an employee or intern is involved in an accident which causes major damage to company property

Students should review program specific handbooks for additional policies (i.e. Nursing students and Music Therapy students) [include link]

Protocol for Dealing with Alcohol and Drug Related Problems and Violations 

The college has no tolerance for public intoxication and illegal drug use.  If there is evidence of drug use or public intoxication, the following action may be taken: 

  1. Call Campus Safety (414-382-6911) - They will assess the situation and complete an Incident Report.    If a student is cooperative, they will refer the student to Student Affairs.  If the student is combative, they will call the Milwaukee Police Department.  If the student is medically unstable, they will call 911.  If the student insists upon driving, the Milwaukee Police Department will be called.

  2. Call the Police – If there is evidence of drugs or if a student’s behavior is disruptive to the community and directly traceable to the use of alcohol or other controlled substances, Campus Safety may call the Milwaukee Police Department and complete an Incident Report.

  3. Room Entry and Inspection – College Officials, with permission from the Assistant Director of Residence Life, Director of Residence Life, or the Assistant Dean of Students have the right to enter and inspect student rooms and property for the purpose of inspection and repair, inspection if suspicion of illegal activities exists, preservation of health and safety, and recovery of college owned property. The Dean of Students reserves the right to inspect college property if suspicion of illegal activities exists.

  4. Sanctions - Sanctions will be imposed for policy violations. Additional information on sanctions can be found under Student Code of Conduct: Process & Sanctioning Guide and the Residence Hall Handbook.  Alverno College reserves the right to contact parents or guardians of students who violate the Policy on Alcohol and Other Drug Use.  Sanctions may include, but are not limited to:

    1. Community Service Sanctions

    2. Educational Sanction

    3. Reflection Paper

    4. Monetary Fines

    5. Termination of employment

    6. Dismissal from the Residence Hall and/or College

Health Effects of Alcohol Abuse and Drug Use 

The Harvard School of Public Health, through the efforts of Dr. Henry Weschler, has conducted excellent research on the effects of alcohol consumption on today’s college students.  The Weschler data from his 1993 and 1997 studies has been adapted to develop a list of the projected effects of illegal, irresponsible consumption on the individual student and our college community.  

Alcohol Use and Abuse - Health and Personal Risks 

  • Underachievement in classes, i.e., missed classes, late assignments, significant difference between prior grades and present performance

  • Forming relationships with other students whose socializing and drinking behaviors detract from academic goals

  • Changes in behavior – aggressiveness, irresponsibility

  • Problems with college or local officials (fines, probation, etc.)

  • Injury to self or others

  • Negative impact on health – physical and mental, (e.g. fatigue, loss of sleep, increased colds/flu, inability to concentrate)

Alcohol Use and Abuse - Impact on Others

  • Academic work, sleep and personal time is disrupted, i.e. noise, interruptions

  • Intoxicated students (roommate/friend) often need to be cared for

  • Property is often damaged or vandalized (personal or residence hall)

  • Unwanted sexual advances – there is a direct relationship between unwanted sexual involvement and alcohol abuse

  • Loss of friends due to rift caused by behaviors while under the influence of alcohol (e.g. physical/mental insults, humiliation)

Serious Health Risks Associated With the Use of Illegal Drugs

  • Increased susceptibility to disease due to a less efficient immune system

  • Increased likelihood of accidents

  • Addiction

  • Death by overdose

  • Anemia

  • Poor concentration

For more information about the health risks associated with particular types of drugs and alcohol please visit