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Student Handbook
RPI Community > Alcohol and Drug Policy >

Rensselaer Alcohol and Other Drug Policy

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute honors its role as an educational institution by establishing policies and guidelines that regulate the consumption of alcohol on campus and by developing proactive alcohol and other drug awareness, educational, and behavior-change programs.

Rensselaer is committed to educational goals in this area. The Institute’s aim is to develop an alcohol and other drug policy that is clear and consistent; to inform and educate individuals with regard to the policy, and the risk factors associated with alcohol use and abuse; to create an environment that promotes low risk use, safety, and individual accountability; and to maintain a healthy campus community where problems associated with alcohol and other drugs are minimal.

The overall philosophy of the Institute is that each individual member of the campus community is responsible for his/her own actions. When making decisions to consume beverage alcohol or to provide beverage alcohol to others, individuals must be mindful of the inherent consequences and risks involved. In addition, individuals are responsible for understanding and complying with applicable laws.

The Institute will not be responsible for enforcing State and Local laws, nor will it shield individuals from the legal consequences of their actions should they choose to violate these laws. Rensselaer’s policies and regulations are designed to encourage consistent and reasonable standards in our academic community. It is expected that all members will contribute to maintaining a positive and healthy environment by adhering to this policy.

The Rensselaer Alcohol and Other Drug Policy contains sections on:

I. The Law: New York State Statutes Regarding Alcohol Liability
II. Institute regulations on alcohol (reproduced below)
III. Procedures and guidelines for on-campus events at which beverage alcohol is served
IV. Specific area policies for alcohol
V. The Law: Statutes Regarding Other Drugs
VI. Institute regulations on other drugs (reproduced below)
VII. Policy Enforcement
VIII. Violations/Sanctions
IX. Institute alcohol and other drug review committee

In accordance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act (1989), the complete Rensselaer Alcohol and Other Drug Policy is available at:

[Link under construction]

Extra copies are available at the Student Health Center, or by contacting

Institute Regulations On Alcohol

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of alcohol is prohibited on Institute property or as part of any activity sponsored by the Institute. The administration at Rensselaer will not authorize events where drinking under the legal age, as determined by the State of New York, will be knowingly permitted. Individuals and organizations who sponsor approved events involving beverage alcohol shall assume full responsibility and liability for the event and for the behavior of event participants. In our continuing commitment to uphold the law and Institute policy, any Rensselaer recognized student organization found to have served alcohol to an underage individual at any event (on- or off-campus) will, at minimum, be subject to a mandatory one-semester suspension. In addition, all organization alcohol privileges are subject to revocation while a group is under investigation and for the duration of the disciplinary process.

A. Consumption of beverage alcohol on campus is permitted only by persons age 21 or older: in the privacy of their rooms in residential facilities; at campus events where an alcohol permit has been obtained; in areas licensed for beer and wine service.

B. Possession or consumption of alcohol on campus by any person who is a student under age 21 is in violation of the New York State (NYS) law and the Grounds for Disciplinary Action (GDA), and a violation of Human Resource Policy Guidelines if the person is an employee.

C. Any person under age 21 who misrepresents his/her age in order to obtain alcohol has violated the GDA if that person is a student. If that person is an employee, policies of HR have been violated.

D. Any person who supplies or makes alcohol available to someone under age 21 has violated NYS statutes. If that person is a student, he/she has violated the GDA; if that person is an employee, he/she has violated HR policies.

E. In accordance with State law, no money may be charged for any event at which beverage alcohol is present unless a permit is obtained from the New York State Liquor Authority.

F. An alcohol permit must be obtained from the Alcohol Review Committee (c/o Student Health Services) for any event occurring on Institute grounds at which alcohol is served or present. Exceptions are: licensed designated area of the Rensselaer Union; buildings leased or rented to faculty, staff, or private groups. An event (on- or off-campus) is defined as any gathering for a specific purpose where there are more than six (6) people in attendance and alcohol is present.

G. Campus events that are open to all students, or where 20% or more of the attendees will be under age 21, may not be granted an alcohol permit.

H. The consumption of alcohol or possession of an open container of alcohol is prohibited in all public or common areas on campus including, but not limited to, corridors, stairwells, athletic facilities, elevators, lounges, class rooms, labs, or outside campus areas (i.e. Quad) unless an alcohol permit has been obtained for a designated area. At no time may alcohol be consumed in potentially hazardous environments.

I. Events shall not include any activity which encourages the abusive use of alcohol.

J. The serving or availability of alcohol at events being held in a predominately frosh residential facility is prohibited.

K. The presence, possession, or use of large quantities of alcohol on campus including, but not limited to, kegs, beerballs, and any other bulk containers of alcohol, is prohibited on Institute grounds with the exception of areas holding a NYS license for beer and wine service.

L. Beverages containing grain alcohol are prohibited.

M. Alcohol will not be permitted at Rensselaer athletic events.

N. Displays of any alcohol related items or materials, including but not limited to alcoholic beverage containers (empty or full), banners or signs, visible to the public, are not allowed in any residential facility.

O. Off-campus events: It is expected that all Rensselaer faculty, administrators, and students will comply with governmental laws related to alcohol. Any Rensselaer group that plans an off-campus event involving alcohol must adhere to the Rensselaer Alcohol and Other Drug Policy.

P. Human Resource policies for exempt and non-exempt staff are addressed in Section 800.4 (Alcohol Use and Possession) of the Human Resource Policy Guidelines (revised 7/03). The “Procedure” section states that, “violations of this policy can lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”

Institute Regulations on Other Drugs

The use, consumption, possession, sale, manufacture, or transfer of any illegal drug or controlled substance (as defined by State and Federal law) by any student or employee of the Institute for which the individual does not have a legal license or valid prescription, is strictly prohibited.

Rensselaer is an educational institution and not a law enforcement agency, and therefore does not apply sanctions of the law. However, Rensselaer will not disregard the law and will not shield individuals from the legal consequences of their actions should they violate the law

In addition, individuals who have violated the law are also subject to disciplinary action. Students will be disciplined according to the procedures in this document, faculty according to the Handbook for Academic Staff, and staff according to Section 800.5 (Drug Free Workplace) of the Human Resource Policy Guidelines(revised 7/03).

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