Alcohol and Drugs

Williams prohibits the abuse of alcohol and expects members of the College community to abide by federal, state, and local regulations concerning the possession and use, purchase, and distribution of alcohol. The College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, sale, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of illegal drugs, or the unauthorized use of prescription drugs.

At the beginning of the fall 2015 semester, the College rolled out updated Responsible Party Standards that made it easier for students to hold small and safe events while at the same time discouraging students from holding parties that involved high-risk behavior (such as the presence of hard alcohol, large numbers of students in one common space, large amounts of alcohol per student, unregistered parties).

With this in mind, here are some key points to remember when it comes to safe and responsible alcohol consumption at social events:

  • Hard alcohol and common source alcohol (kegs, punch, etc.) are prohibited
  • Providing alcohol to anyone under 21 is prohibited (and illegal)
  • Parties of more than 20 people must be registered
  • Party hosts must adhere to safe room capacity and safe drinking standards (no more than 120 servings of beer or wine permitted, or up to twice the room capacity, whichever is less)

Go here for more details.

Campus Safety and Security provides a key role in maintaining a safe environment.  Officers conduct checks for registered parties and will help hosts keep the party safe and in compliance.  Unless the registered party becomes unsafe, CSS will work with the host to keep the party open.

CSS Officers also conduct “hotspot” checks in areas that have exhibited patterns of unsafe/irresponsible behaviors.   If CSS comes across an unregistered party or a situation involving violations of the responsible party standards (even if it’s registered), they will collect ID information from students involved and will report the incident to the Office of the Dean of the College for their action.  

  • Violations of the Responsible Party Standards and the Code of Conduct will result in response from the Office of the Dean of the College, sanctions for which range from various types of warnings to disciplinary action including suspensions and expulsions.  See the Sanctioning Rubric. The college also has a Medical Amnesty Policy: We recognize that there may be times when excessive drinking and/or drug use becomes a medial emergency. Under this policy, if an individual seeks medical attention (for themselves or for someone else) due to such an emergency, student conduct disciplinary action will not be taken against the student for consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs. For more information on the alcohol policy and learn about the Medical Amnesty policy.

  • Acting in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the College reserves the right to contact parents or legal guardians under the age of 21 regarding alcohol and other drug violations.  Parental notification is issued in order to provide support for a student’s health and safety.  Specifically, parents are notified when a student has been transported to a medical facility as a result of using alcohol or other drugs (this may include alcohol poisoning, severe intoxication, or hospitalization).

  • An alcohol overdose is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. It is important to call for help right away if you see any of these signs of alcohol overdose:

    • Irregular breathing (8 breaths a minute or 10 seconds or more between any two breaths)
    • Vomiting while passed out and they don’t wake up while vomiting or afterward
    • Choking
    • Skin is pale, cold and/or bluish-purple    
    • Unconsciousness/unresponsiveness

    Call 911 or Campus Safety and Security at x4444. Don’t wait. Minutes can be critical.

  • Under the Higher Education Act, a student may become ineligible for federal student aid upon a conviction of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs under any federal or state law while receiving Title IV federal financial aid. Federal aid includes: Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal ACG Grants, Federal SMART Grants, Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Direct GradPLUS Loans, Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Work Study.

    The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)

    Possession of illegal drugs Sale of illegal drugs
    1st offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
    2nd offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite period
    3rd offense Indefinite period Indefinite period

    If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.

    A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when the student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program. The student will lose eligibility again upon a subsequent drug conviction.

    For complete information, please see the FAFSA web page or contact the Federal Student Information Center at 1–800–4–FED–AID.

    Convictions During Enrollment

    According to the United States Department of Education, if a student is convicted of a drug offense after receiving Federal aid, he or she must notify the Williams College Office of Financial Aid immediately. The student may be ineligible for further aid in that academic year and required to pay back all federal aid received after the date of the conviction. The Office of Financial Aid will work with the student regarding all of the available options.

  • Williams prohibits the abuse of alcohol and expects members of the College community to abide by federal, state, and local regulations concerning the possession, use, purchase, and distribution of alcohol. The College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of illegal drugs, or the unauthorized use of prescription drugs.

    The negative physical and mental effects of the use of alcohol or other substances are well documented. Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including sexual assault.

    Moderate to high doses of alcohol can cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.

    Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long–term consumption of large amounts of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.

    For help with alcohol or other substance problems, call the Health Education Office at x3013. Additional information is available from the Brien Center (Northern Berkshire Counseling Center), 25 Marshall Street, North Adams, 664.4541.

  • In general, a 12 oz. can of beer equals a 1 oz. shot of 100 proof liquor, which equals one 5 oz. glass of wine. When mixing drinks these equivalencies do not always hold true. This becomes especially significant when mixing different kinds of alcohol to make punches. A glass of punch may have a much higher alcohol content than a straight shot or a can of beer. Also be aware that carbonated beverages may increase alcohol absorption, while food will decrease it, especially foods high in protein like cheese and red meat.

  • Any person under 21 years of age who purchases alcoholic beverages or who makes arrangements with any other person to purchase, or who misrepresents his or her age in order to purchase alcoholic beverages, is guilty of a violation of the Massachusetts State law and is subject to a fine of $300.00.

    Any person to makes a false statement as to the age of another person who is under 21 years of age in order to procure alcoholic beverages is guilty of violating the state law and is subject to a fine of $300.00

    Any person who uses a false liquor purchase identification card or alters or defaces a liquor purchase identification card in order to purchase alcoholic beverages is guilty of violating the state law and is subject to a fine of up to $200.00 or imprisonment of up to three months.

    Any person under 21 years of age who willfully misrepresents his or her age or in any way alters, defaces or otherwise falsifies his or identification offered as proof of age in order to purchase alcoholic beverages is guilty of violating state law and is subject to a fine of $300.00.

    Any person under 21 years of age who transports or carries alcoholic beverages is guilty of violating the state law and is subject to a fine of up to $50.00. A police officer may arrest such a person WITHOUT A WARRANT. If the person was operating a motor vehicle at the time, his or her driver’s license may be suspended for up to three months.

    A host of a party may be liable for the injuries suffered by a third person if the host knew or should have known that his or her guest was drunk, and nevertheless gave or permitted the guest to take an alcoholic drink and thereafter, because of his or her intoxication, the guest negligently operated a car, causing injury to the third person. If the guest whose drunk driving causes an accident is a minor, the host who served the alcohol to the minor might be held liable to the injured third person even if the minor was not intoxicated when the host served the minor alcohol.

    Massachusetts has a “zero tolerance” law for blood alcohol level in drivers aged 16 to 21. For such drivers, any alcohol level greater than .02 (roughly equivalent to one drink or a beer) will result in one–the–spot revocation of the driving license. For adults over 21, the maximum permitted level in the law is .08. A first conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol carries with it a fine of $1,000.00, one year revocation of your driver’s license, and mandatory alcohol education. It may also include up to two years in prison.

  • No person shall drink, alcoholic beverages from an open container while on any public way or in a public place. No person shall carry an open container of alcoholic beverage while on any public way or in a public place. Violation of this Williamstown ordinance may result in a fine of not less than $20.00 nor more than $200.00.