General Alcohol Policy

Mount Holyoke College permits the consumption of alcoholic beverages at social functions only within the stipulations of the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the town of South Hadley governing the sale, purchase, and dispensing of alcoholic beverages. Such social functions include all events held on campus and sponsored by any student, alum, staff, or faculty member of the College, as well as any College-connected function held at an off-campus location.

The College expects all faculty, staff, and students to become familiar with these laws and to consider the penalties and risks that can result from violations. The law puts major responsibility, and therefore liability, on both the person who serves and/or the person who buys the alcohol, and the penalties for both the individual and the institution are very severe.  Included in these laws are those which govern driving under the influence of alcohol, the purchase of alcohol by and for persons under the legal drinking age, and the serving of alcohol to persons who are under age and/or intoxicated. The drinking age in Massachusetts is 21.

Instructions concerning the selling and serving of alcoholic beverages at Mount Holyoke College are available in the Office of Student Involvement, Blanchard Campus Center. For example, College policy dictates that at any College social gathering where alcohol is served, food and non-alcoholic alternative beverages must be available.

The College recognizes that it cannot guarantee that this policy or the alcohol-related laws will be honored by everyone. It must therefore rely on the good judgment of students, faculty, staff, and other members of the College community to observe the laws and policies. Those who choose to violate them must be prepared to accept total responsibility for their individual or collective actions and should understand that possible outcomes include disciplinary action, personal liability, fines and/or imprisonment.

Alcohol and Illicit Drugs as They Pertain to Employment

Illegal or improper use of drugs or alcohol will not be tolerated and may be cause for immediate dismissal.

Policy on Alcohol and Drug-Free Environment

Title XII of the Higher Education Act of 1965 was amended by the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which became law in December 1989. The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act mandates that institutions of higher education adopt and implement a program designed to prevent the unlawful possession, use, dispensation, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees and provide certification to the Department of Education that such a program is in place.

Mount Holyoke College has developed this policy both to attempt to provide a healthful environment by preventing the use of illegal drugs or abuse of alcohol within the College community and in response to the Federal Drug-Free Legislation.

Mount Holyoke College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of controlled substances and alcohol by any member of the faculty, staff, or student body on College property or at any College-sponsored function whether on or off-campus and requires the cooperation of the entire campus community in its pursuit to maintain a drug-free environment in all phases of campus life.

Any faculty or staff member or student who violates this prohibition or who does not cooperate with the College in its attempts to maintain a drug-free environment, will face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or dismissal from the College and/or may be required, as a condition of continuing their faculty/staff/student relationship with the College, to enroll at his or her own expense, in a substance abuse counseling and/or treatment program.

Individuals violating any Town of South Hadley Ordinance, Massachusetts Criminal Laws or Federal Laws relating to alcohol or drug use also risk fines and imprisonment.  In addition, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that any employee (including students working under the Federal Work Study Program) directly engaged in working at Mount Holyoke College under the provisions of a federal grant or contract who is convicted under a criminal drug statute for conduct in the workplace (site for the performance of work done in connection with a particular federal grant or contract) must report this conviction to the Dean of Faculty no later than five days after the conviction. Once informed of such a conviction, the College is required by law to notify the federal contractor or grantor within ten days after an employee's conviction or within ten days after it has actual knowledge of such conviction.

Guidelines for Community Responsibility, specific rules and regulations governing the consumption of alcoholic beverages at College social functions and sanctions against infractions of the Social Honor Code or violations of College policies by any member of the College community, are outlined in the following College Handbooks: Handbook of Faculty Legislation and Related Information, Student Handbook and Staff Handbook. If questions arise related to any of these guidelines or policies, they should be directed to the appropriate College department.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with resources available in the area for substance abuse, counseling and treatment.

Information pertaining to the health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol, a resource guide listing some of the area facilities offering counseling services, and a summary of some of the federal, state and local sanctions against illegal drug and alcohol use and abuse, possession, distribution and dispensation is available from the Human Resources Department, the Dean of Faculty's Office, the Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness Project, the Dean of Students Office or the Health Center. Copies are also on reserve at the College Library.

In addition, the counseling services at the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Project and the College's Health Center are available to assist with substance-related problems primarily for students; however, in emergency situations, faculty and staff may also request their services. The College chaplains may also, from time to time, be able to counsel faculty, staff and students or make suggestions for appropriate referrals to outside substance abuse/rehabilitation agencies.