Approved by: President
History: Issued            -- July 21, 2007
Revised          -- March 9, 2015
Last Reviewed -- July 1, 2022
Related Policies: Code of Student Conduct
Additional References:
Policy Owner: Vice President for Student Affairs, tel. (202) 319-5619
Contact Person: Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, tel. (202)


I. Introduction


The Catholic University of America strives to maintain an environment that promotes the health and safety of the community and the responsible choices and behaviors of its members concerning the use of alcohol. The University recognizes that the consumption of alcohol in moderation by persons of legal drinking age can be a component of the social environment at the University. Therefore, students of legal drinking age are granted the privilege of responsible alcohol use on campus. The following outlines the risks associated with alcohol and other drug abuse and the University response to student alcohol and other drug abuse.

II. Policy


The risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol are numerous and include physical and mental impairment, emotional and psychological deterioration and devastating effects on family and friends. There are obvious risks such as suffering a hangover, being charged with driving under the influence or while intoxicated, and sustaining or causing personal injury. There are a number of less obvious risks associated with alcohol and other drug abuse that students might not realize, including:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Poor job performance
  • Poor social interactions
  • Unwanted and inappropriate sexual activity
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Jeopardizing future career prospects, (e.g., admission to advanced schooling and employment)

In addition, alcohol and other drug abuse puts the user at considerable health risk, which can include nausea, vomiting, cancer, liver damage, elevated blood pressure, psychotic episodes, hallucinations and, in some cases, death. In addition to the risk to the abuser of illicit drugs and alcohol are the risks to fellow classmates, the public and to unborn children.

All students, whether on or off campus, must adhere to local and federal laws concerning alcohol use and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with University expectations. The University will not tolerate the unlawful manufacture and/or illegal purchase, consumption, possession, or distribution of alcohol to or by any student.

Local and federal laws prohibit the unlawful use, manufacture, possession, control, sale and dispensation of any illegal narcotic or dangerous drug. These laws carry penalties for violations, including fines and imprisonment. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance by a student on University property or as any part of a University-sponsored program on or off campus is strictly prohibited. The University does not permit the use, possession or transfer of marijuana for any purpose. Students who qualify under local law to use marijuana for medical purposes may not possess, store, use or share marijuana on University-owned or controlled property or during University-sponsored events.

Any student who violates the Code of Student Conduct as it relates to alcohol and drug use is subject to sanctions as outlined therein. See also the Penalties for violation of federal and local jurisdiction standards related to drugs and alcohol.

The University cooperates fully with law enforcement authorities. Violations of the CUA drug and alcohol policy and/or the Code of Student Conduct that are also violations of federal and local law may be referred to the appropriate agencies. In such situations, cases may proceed concurrently in the University student conduct system and in the criminal justice system.

The University's Counseling Center and Student Health Services can provide confidential consultation and referral to students with problems or concerns related to alcohol and/or drug use. Information about substance abuse and treatment programs is also available in the Office of the Dean of Students.

This policy implements the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act (20 U.S.C. 1145g).