University Policies
Policy Contact
Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards Email 401-863-2653

Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the University’s requirements and restrictions regarding alcohol and drug-use by students, both on and off campus, in accordance with Brown’s mission and federal, state, and local laws.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to Students, as defined in Section 4.0.

3.0 Policy Statement

This policy is intended to further the educational mission of the University. It reflects Brown’s commitment to fostering an environment that promotes the health, safety, and welfare of all members of the community by emphasizing individual and shared responsibility, healthy and informed decision-making, and maintenance of a caring environment.

3.1 General Provisions Specifically Relating to Alcohol

Students are required to abide by all applicable laws and University policies governing alcohol consumption, distribution, and possession.

  • Under Rhode Island law and University policy, anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol.
  • It is prohibited to provide space and opportunity for the consumption of alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 21.
  • Students may not coerce, however subtly, another person to drink alcohol or to drink excessively.
  • Anyone serving as a social host with alcoholic beverages bears responsibility for creating and maintaining conditions that support the health, safety, and wellbeing of guests and participants.
  • Providence municipal ordinances prohibit the possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages on public property.

3.2 Provisions Specifically Relating to University Property and Activities

  • Except as part of official University or registered events, the University prohibits the possession of any opened containers of alcoholic beverages outdoors, in all non-residential buildings, and in residence hall common areas. Alcoholic beverages possessed by students aged 21 and older for individual consumption must remain in their personal residential space.
  • Amounts of alcohol possessed in private residential spaces must be scaled to individual use only (on campus). This is defined as no more than one case of beer, or one 0.75 liter of hard alcohol, or one bottle of wine present in a residential space at any given time.
  • Students may not manufacture alcoholic beverages on University property or as part of any of its activities, except under the supervision of faculty for University-approved research purposes.
  • Activities or paraphernalia that promote high-risk drinking or rapid alcohol consumption including, but not limited to, drinking games and funnels, are prohibited on University property and at any University-sponsored or registered events, including, but not limited to, any events held by registered student organizations.
  • Oversized or common source containers, including but not limited to kegs, punchbowls, beer balls, and party balls, are not permitted on campus except at licensed campus venues or non-residential events when a professional bartending service is procuring and serving the alcoholic beverages. In such instances, the service must retain possession of large-scale containers after the event has concluded.

3.3 Provisions Specifically Relating to University Recognized Student Organizations and Groups

  • No Student can be reimbursed by the University for the purchase of alcoholic beverages.
  • Alcoholic beverage service for any student organization event must be handled by Brown Dining Services, a University-approved vendor, or an approved off-campus venue, and contracts must be signed by a University staff member with appropriate signatory authority.
  • Open bars without drink ticket allotments, “bring your own,” and all-you-can-drink events are not allowed.
  • The consumption of alcoholic beverages must not be the primary purpose of any event. Events, activities, and programs and their themes, titles and promotional materials may not directly or indirectly promote drinking, drunkenness, or associated behaviors counter to the Principles of the Brown Community.
  • Activities that support, promote, or construe endorsement of businesses that sell alcoholic beverages or encourage the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages are expressly prohibited on campus, including, but not limited to, seeking sponsorship for on-campus activities or formal or informal promotional activities on campus, regardless of the location of the activity itself.

3.4 Provisions Specifically Relating to Other Drugs

  • Under federal and state law and University policy, Students are prohibited from engaging in Illicit Drug Activity, including the manufacture, possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs.
  • Regardless of any state or local law that permits the possession and use of recreational or medical marijuana, possession and use of marijuana and any cannabis products is prohibited on University property or as part of any of its activities by University policy and federal law.
  • Possession of drug Paraphernalia on University property or as part of any of its activities is prohibited.
  • The unlawful distribution, possession, social sharing, non-prescribed use, or abuse of prescription drugs is prohibited. Altering, tampering, or forging a prescription is also prohibited.

3.5 Seeking Medical Attention

In cases of severe acute intoxication, alcohol poisoning, and/or overdose, health and safety are the primary concerns. Individuals are expected to call for medical assistance for themselves or others who may be demonstrating signs of an overdose, including but not limited to mental confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizures, trouble breathing, slow heart rate, clammy skin, dulled responses (such as no gag reflex, which prevents choking), and extremely low body temperature. No student seeking medical treatment for alcohol or other drug use, for themselves or others, will be subject to University disciplinary action for the sole violation of using alcohol or other drugs.

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:

Illicit Drug Activity: The use, manufacture, distribution, dispensation, sale, or possession of illegal (as determined by federal or state government) drugs or the illicit use, manufacture, distribution, dispensation or sale of legal drugs.

Other Drugs: Includes all illegal drugs as well as the misuse of legal drugs and substances that are generally recognized as dangerous and detrimental to the individual and community, even though they may not be illegal (including, but not limited to, whippits, 2-C’s, NBOME, research drugs, Spice, K-2, non-prescribed performance enhancing drugs).

Paraphernalia: Includes, but is not limited to, all items used for the purpose of preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise using other drugs. As the term relates to alcohol, only paraphernalia that facilitates the rapid consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Student: The definition of “Student” in this policy is the same as the definition of “Student” in the Code of Student Conduct.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors and employees with student oversight duties are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures.

Additional consequences include, but are not limited to, required alcohol and/or drug education, evaluation, and/or treatment. Students who sell and/or provide drugs are subject to immediate separation from the University.

7.0 Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.3 Related Forms


7.4 Frequently Asked Questions


7.5 Other Related Information

Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services

Policy Approved by: President

Contact Information:

Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards Email 401-863-2653

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

This policy was submitted to the Brown Comprehensive Policy Review process to reaffirm and codify long-standing institutional requirements and restrictions regarding alcohol and drug-use.