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George Mason University
2002-03 University Catalog

General Policies

Drug and Alcohol Policy

(Adopted by the Board of Visitors, May 1990) Revised August 10, 1998

The abuse of drugs and alcohol by members of the George Mason University community is not compatible with the goals of the university. The university attempts to prepare individuals to act responsibly by defining standards of behavior and by providing educational programs to create an awareness of drug- and alcohol-related problems. Those in need of assistance in dealing with drug and alcohol-related problems are encouraged to seek the confidential help of the university's Substance Abuse Programs and Services located on the Fairfax Campus in the Health and Wellness Center, SUB I, Room 252D.


1. Use and/or possession of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia are prohibited on the campuses of George Mason University. Violation of this community standard will be considered a serious offense. Implementation of this policy will be in accord with established university procedures as contained in the University Judicial Code.

2. University Police enforce all applicable local, state, and federal laws in accord with established standing orders, procedures, and guidelines.

3. A judicial review of all reports of drug offenses occurring on campus will be conducted by the university. Actions taken under the auspices of the University Judicial Code will neither prejudice nor be prejudiced by actions taken in the criminal justice system or the management of university housing.

4. Students found responsible for violating the law or regulations involving illegal drugs will be required to undergo an evaluation administered by personnel in the office of the university's Substance Abuse Programs and Services.

5. The housing status of a resident student found in violation of a campus drug regulation while in a residence hall will be determined by the appropriate housing official. Guests and visitors found responsible for violating a campus drug regulation while in a residence hall will be issued a trespass order prohibiting their presence in any and all residential buildings on George Mason University campuses. This trespass order will be in effect for a minimum of one calendar year.

6. In addition to any action taken by the Office of Housing and Residence Life, the standard sanction for a student's first on-campus violation involving possession or use of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia will be suspension from the university for a minimum of one academic semester. However, the judicial administrator may reduce the sanction to one-year probationary status on the basis of mitigating circumstances and/or recommendations made in conjunction with the evaluation by university personnel in the office of Substance Abuse Programs and Services. Additional educational sanctions may be included in the conditions of probation. Any future violation of drug and alcohol policies will result in permanent separation from the university.

7. Students found responsible for a violation involving sale or possession of an illegal substance with intent to distribute will be permanently separated from the university.

8. Students found responsible for use or possession of an illegal drug other than marijuana will be suspended from the university for a minimum of one year. To apply for reinstatement after suspension, students must provide evidence of successful participation in a drug treatment program.


1. The possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages is limited to those locations and circumstances authorized by university policy.

2. No alcoholic beverages are permitted in Presidents Park.

3. Students who are 21 years of age or older are permitted to possess alcohol in residence hall rooms except those located in Presidents Park. The quantity of alcohol may be limited by residence hall regulations.

4. No alcoholic beverages may be consumed in public areas of a residence hall. These areas include, but are not limited to, hallways, study rooms, and lounges.

5. All first-time offenses of this policy by residential students (except those involving severe intoxication and/or a police or emergency medical response) will be adjudicated through the housing judicial system. All offenses by nonresident students will be referred to the university judicial administrator.

6. Discipline sanctions related to housing infractions will be primarily educational, but may include a housing assignment change, referral to the university judicial administrator, and/or removal from housing.

7. All cases involving severely intoxicated students and/or a police or emergency medical response will be referred to both the university judicial administrator for disciplinary action and to personnel in the office of Substance Abuse Programs and Services for appropriate evaluation and referral.

8. All students referred to the university judicial administrator will be evaluated by personnel in the office of Substance Abuse Programs and Services. The sanctions imposed in these cases will be designed to offer assistance in overcoming any identified problem(s). While the purpose of the judicial action will be educational and remedial, it may be appropriate to remove the student from campus housing or from the university.

9. The university will encourage parental involvement whenever there is a repeat offense or when the first offense indicates a serious problem. This involvement will be in accord with provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Notice to All State Employees

The federal Drug-Free Workplace Act requires us to inform all employees of the state that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the workplace. The workplace consists of any state-owned, controlled, or leased property, or the site where state work is performed. Any employee who violates this prohibition will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge and, at the discretion of management, will be required to satisfactorily participate in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program. Employees must abide by the terms of this prohibition as a condition of employment and must notify their supervisor(s) no later than five (5) days after conviction of any criminal drug statute conviction occurring in the workplace.

Commonwealth of Virginia

Commonwealth Policies on Alcohol and Drug Use

I. General Laws and Regulations

A. Those who choose to purchase, possess, and consume alcoholic beverages on campus must do so responsibly and must have reached the legal age of 21. All members of the university community (this includes students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their guests) are expected to comply with university-related regulations and federal and state laws regarding the use of alcohol. Compliance also extends to university-sponsored activities held off campus. Students and employees are expected to take personal responsibility for their own conduct when making decisions regarding the use of alcohol.

B. Virginia state law prohibits the purchase, possession, or consumption of beer, 3.2 beverages, wine, or distilled spirits by persons under the age of 21. The law also prohibits purchasing for or serving such beverages to a person under age 21. Underage persons who use or attempt to use a driver's license that has been altered, forged, borrowed from another, or is in any way deceptive in an attempt to obtain prohibited beverages shall have their driver's licenses revoked for a minimum of 30 days, but for not more than one year. Consuming alcohol in non-licensed, public places or offering a drink to another in a non-licensed, public place is also a violation of Virginia law. The sale of alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person is prohibited. Additionally, it is unlawful for an intoxicated person to purchase or possess alcoholic beverages. While purchase and/or possession by an intoxicated person are misdemeanors, violators are also subject to having their driver's license revoked for one year. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle (including mopeds) when a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. Individuals under age 21 who drive with a BAC of more than .02 percent (but less than .08 percent) risk having their driver's license suspended for six months and a fine of up to $500 may be imposed. If a person is arrested for driving with a license revoked or suspended under a prior DUI (driving under the influence) conviction, the offender's car is immediately impounded for 30 days. Following conviction, the court can impound the vehicle for an additional 90 days. If the car does not belong to the offender, the owner of the car may petition the court for release of the vehicle.

Sobriety spot-checks to detect drunken drivers are legal. Refusing a breath test or having a BAC of .08 percent or higher may result in an individual's driver license being revoked for seven days. There is no longer an option to request a blood test instead of a breath test for an alcohol-related offense. It is illegal to serve alcohol from an unregistered keg. An "unregistered" keg is defined as a common container holding four gallons or more. Only University Dining Services or other authorized entity may serve alcohol from kegs.

C. Possession, use, sale, or distribution of controlled substances (including marijuana), is a violation of federal and state laws and university regulations. The 1988 federal Drug-Free Workplace Act also prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of a controlled substance in the workplace.

D. Students, faculty, staff, and sponsoring organizations found in violation of state and/or university regulations may be subject to disciplinary action, civil action, and/or loss of the privilege to reserve or use university facilities. Disciplinary action for students or student organizations will be conducted in accordance with the George Mason University Judicial System for Student Conduct and civil proceedings may occur in certain situations. University sanctions are intended not to punish individuals, but to provide education and rehabilitation services.

Sanctions vary depending upon the severity of the violation and range from written warnings to expulsion from the university. Most sanctions require the student to be evaluated by personnel in the office of Substance Abuse Programs and Services to assess the severity of alcohol and other drug problems and a referral to arrange community service hours. Employees found in violation of the university's Drug and Alcohol Policy may be subject to action by the appropriate administrative office.

II. Health Risks

For many people in our society, the use of chemicals is a daily reality. These chemicals include over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and LSD. This also includes legal chemicals such as alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Many chemicals have the potential to improve our health and enrich our lives. Yet, many of these chemicals also have the potential to cause serious health problems.

Alcohol is a depressant that slows down brain activity. Like any drug that affects the mind, alcohol has the potential to be abused. Decision-making abilities can be impaired by alcohol use and can lead to negative consequences, such as risky sexual behavior. Drinking alcohol should be avoided, particularly by pregnant women and anyone taking prescription medications or operating a motor vehicle. Long-term or heavy use of alcohol is linked to cancer, heart and liver damage, and other serious illnesses and can lead to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence. Excessive alcohol intake can cause death due to alcohol poisoning. All students and employees are expected to respect those who choose not to drink.

Illicit drugs have more than legal consequences; they have specific health and ethical risks that can cause dangerous consequences and/or unhealthy, dependent behavior. Use of alcohol (or any other drug) in a manner that leads to impairment or intoxication is unhealthy, risky, and should be avoided and discouraged. The potential for health problems can also develop from the use of nicotine or caffeine products.

Those in need of assistance in dealing with alcohol and other drug problems are encouraged to seek the confidential services of resources listed in Section IV.

III. General Regulations for Individuals and Organizations Serving Alcoholic Beverages

A. University regulations prohibit the possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverage on university grounds unless the university has sanctioned the location and/or conditions for possession or consumption (e.g., Bistro). For further information regarding service of alcohol at public and private events, as well as at the Patriot Center, Arlington Campus, and Prince William Campus, please review the comprehensive guidelines for alcohol service available in the office of Substance Abuse Programs and Services.

IV. Campus and Community Resources

Substance Abuse Services and Programs, Fairfax Campus

Health and Wellness Center in Student Union I, Room 252D, (703) 993-3687

Health and Wellness Resource Room, Fairfax Campus

Health and Wellness Center in Student Union I, Room 238, (703) 993-3686

State Employee Assistance Service (SEAS), (804) 786-6741

Alcoholics Anonymousfor campus meetings, (703) 993-3686; for other locations, (703) 281-7501.

Narcotics Anonymous(703) 281-8638.

The Drug and Alcohol Policy, composed of these four sections, outlines subject matter pertaining to university regulations on substance use and abuse. This policy is distributed annually to all employees and students as a means of informing the campus community of alcohol and other drug laws, health risks, and campus and community resources. University regulations regarding the Drug and Alcohol Policy have been developed by a committee of faculty, staff, and students. This policy statement is available in the office of Substance Abuse Programs and Services in the Health and Wellness Center located in Student Union I, Room 252D. This policy is also distributed through the student and faculty/staff handbooks and the university newspapers, Broadside and the Mason Gazette.