Drug and Alcohol Policy
The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 recognize that all employees, faculty, and students have the right to a workplace and educational environment that is drug free. On a more personal level, Columbia is also committed to providing individuals with counseling, referral, or rehabilitation programs for drug and alcohol abuse. As a result of these acts, Columbia is required to review college policy regarding drug and alcohol abuse and communicate this policy and the mandates of the acts. While it is not Columbia’s intention to intrude into a student’s private life, Columbia holds unalterably that an individual’s involvement with substance abuse, whether on or off campus, has an impermissible impact on the college’s environment and is an entirely justifiable institutional concern. Columbia College Chicago acknowledges the negative health risks of alcohol and illicit drug use. Such substances may have an impact on one’s cognition, organ and tissue function, and overall health. Students are encouraged to use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA; www.samhsa.gov) as a resource for further information. Please read the following policy carefully as it will be strictly enforced.
Using or Selling Drugs or Alcohol while on Campus or at College Events
Columbia does not tolerate the possession, use, or distribution of drugs while on college property or at college events. Besides being dangerous for the student, other employees, faculty, students, and family, it is against the law. If a student unlawfully manufactures, distributes, uses, sells, or possesses narcotics, illegal drugs, or controlled substances on college premises or at college-sponsored events, both on and off-campus, disciplinary action will be taken and the student’s affiliation with the college may be terminated, even if it is a first offense. Students may also be prosecuted for a criminal offense. Students visiting or living in the Residence Center should refer to the Resident Handbook. An illegal drug includes any drug which is not legally obtainable in the United States, or which is legally obtainable but is being used in a manner different from that prescribed by a doctor of medicine or intended by the manufacturer. Over-the-counter or prescription medication which is prescribed by a doctor and is being used for its intended purpose is not considered an illegal drug. Students, irrespective of age, are not permitted to possess or consume alcohol on campus or at Columbia-sponsored events on or off campus. Faculty, administration, and staff are prohibited from serving or allowing students to consume alcoholic beverages on college premises or at events, meetings, or informal gatherings sponsored by Columbia. To the extent that students are present at a Columbia-sponsored event where alcohol is being served, event organizers must take measures to ensure that students do not consume alcohol. The vice president of student affairs can make exceptions to this policy as appropriate. Violation of this policy will result in discipline, which may include immediate suspension or expulsion of students or suspension without pay or termination of employees. Students needing assistance with substance abuse should contact Student Relations (312.369.8595) or Counseling Services (312.369.8700) for on-campus support. Some off-campus resources available to students may include:
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Harborview Recovery Center Presence Saint Joseph Hospital
If You are Convicted of a Drug-related Offense
Columbia faculty, staff, or employees who are convicted of a drug-related offense, which occurred in the workplace or on campus, must report in writing their conviction to Columbia within five days of the conviction. A conviction means that you were found guilty or pleaded guilty, including a plea nolo contendere, or a sentence is imposed upon you by any judicial body that has responsibility to determine violations of the federal, state, or local criminal drug statutes. In addition to college sanctions, Illinois federal and local laws provide for fines and/ or imprisonment for the unlawful possession, sale, manufacturer, or distribution of drugs or alcohol. The amount of the fines and the length of the imprisonment vary according to the type and amount of the substance involved, the offender’s past record for such offenses, and a variety of other factors.
Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations
Federal law provides that a student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid shall not be eligible to receive any federal or institutional grant, loan, or work assistance.