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13.8 Alcohol and Drug Policy


The Macalester College policy on alcohol and other drugs exists within the context of local, state, and federal laws. The policy is designed to comply with all applicable municipal, state, and federal laws, including the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act Amendments of 1989. Macalester College is committed to promoting responsible behavior regarding the use of alcohol. As an educational institution, the College provides resources for all members of the community (students, faculty, and staff) to inform themselves about the potentially harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs upon the individual and the community.

Members of the Macalester community must take responsibility for their own actions and consider the impact their choices will have on others.

All members have a duty to accept their obligations to the Macalester community and will be held accountable for upholding the standards set forth for appropriate behavior. Macalester College expects all members of the community to demonstrate respect for one another, be accountable for their choices, and work to limit the negative effects of alcohol and other drugs.


Macalester College prohibits the unlawful possession, use and distribution of alcohol and other drugs, and expects that student, faculty and staff members of the College community will conduct themselves in a responsible manner that shows respect for others and the community at large. This prohibition applies to all activities sponsored by the College whether on college owned property or at other locations. The same behavioral standards apply to all individuals: students, faculty and staff and guests of the College community.


  • Alcoholic beverages may not be sold on campus unless the College has secured a license for sale.
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be served to or consumed by individuals under the legal drinking age.
  • Members of the College community are legally and ethically responsible for the actions of their guests relating to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. This includes ensuring that guests’ actions and behavior, whether the guest is attending a registered event or visiting a residence hall.
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed in public areas, even on an individual basis, without prior registration of the event at which alcohol is being consumed. Public areas include: lounges and hallways of residence halls, the Dining Commons, the Student Union, athletic fields and facilities, all outdoor areas and other academic and administrative buildings.
  • Areas where registration is not necessary include the President’s House and guest rooms and private rooms in the residence halls.
  • Members of the College community are legally responsible for injuries to their guests and others as a result of alcoholic beverages which they serve.
  • The service of alcoholic beverages at College events may not be advertised, on or off campus.
  • Copies of advertising for events at which alcohol is to be served must be submitted at the time of the event registration. The name of the sponsor or sponsoring organization must be indicated on all advertising.
  • Alcohol may not be consumed while performing work for Macalester or operating Macalester equipment, machinery or vehicles.
  • Staff may not report to work, perform work or operate Macalester equipment, machinery or vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and/or cannabis.

Macalester College respects the rights of community members to exercise their legal options regarding alcohol consumption.


Illicit drugs may not be used, consumed, or possessed on campus, while performing work for Macalester or operating or occupying Macalester equipment, machinery or vehicles. Illicit drugs may not be bought, sold, offered or received on campus, while performing work for Macalester, or while operating or occupying Macalester equipment, machinery or vehicles.  Staff may not report to work, perform work or operate Macalester equipment, machinery or vehicles while under the influence of illicit drugs.

For the purpose of this policy, “illicit drugs” includes drugs that are unlawful under federal, state or local law; lawful drugs that were unlawfully obtained; lawful drugs that were used for purposes or by individuals other than those for which they were prescribed; and lawful drugs, chemicals or other substances used in a manner or quantity other than as such substances are intended to be used.

Medical Cannabis

The Minnesota Medical Cannabis Law and program allows seriously ill Minnesotans who are registered users to use medical cannabis to treat certain conditions. However, the possession and use of cannabis remains illegal under the federal law to which the college is subject, including the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act, the Controlled Substances Act, and the Campus Security Act. Therefore, the use, possession, production, manufacture, and distribution of cannabis – medical or otherwise – continues to be prohibited while an employee is on college owned or controlled property or at any function authorized or controlled by the college continues to be prohibited.


Violation of College policies regarding the use, distribution or possession of alcohol or other drugs will result in sanctions ranging from warning or probation through temporary or permanent separation from the College, and may also include referral to civil authorities for prosecution. The College may require alcohol or other drug assessment or treatment in addition to disciplinary sanctions which may be imposed.

Minnesota and federal laws prohibit the unauthorized possession, furnishing (distributing or giving away), and trafficking (selling) of scheduled drugs. Scheduled drugs include, but are not limited to, cannabis, cocaine, LSD, heroin, methamphetamines, and steroids. Possession of drugs is merely exercising or maintaining control over a drug. Possession of drugs can be merely allowing drugs to be stored in your room even if those drugs are owned by someone else. As part of the larger community, Macalester College is subject to and abides by federal, state, and municipal statutes and ordinances regarding the consumption of alcohol and other drugs.


All employees are eligible to participate in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). If warranted, Macalester may also make mandatory referrals to the EAP and/or an outside professional. Macalester’s EAP is available at no cost to you and your family and offers assistance with a wide variety of concerns.

The EAP is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Counselors will help clarify your concerns, assess your situation and identify options to help you resolve problems. Whether you need short-term counseling, a special evaluation, or on-going counseling or treatment, EAP counselors can refer you to resources in your community. On-going counseling or treatment referrals are based on your insurance and ability to pay. The costs of on-going care are your responsibility. The EAP will help you find the most cost-effective resource.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Other local sources available for assistance and counseling include:

National Hotlines providing service:

Macalester encourages any employee who may have an alcohol or other drug-related problem to contact the EAP or seek other professional assistance. Macalester will support any employee desiring assistance. Employees, however, should seek help before the dependency affects their job performance. While alcohol or other drug dependency itself is not grounds for discipline or permanent separation from Macalester, any problems resulting from such use or dependency will be dealt with in the same manner as any other problem and may be cause for discipline or separation from the College. Macalester College Employment Services department is the most appropriate resource for staff & faculty to contact for assistance and questions.


Macalester cares about the health and wellness of both individuals and our campus community. According to recent surveys conducted at Macalester, the substances of most frequent use and abuse are alcohol and cannabis.

Alcohol is a major concern on a college campus as it can negatively impact both personal and professional goals of employees.  Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, coordination and speech. This can lead to dangerous and unsafe behavior resulting in significant negative consequences to individuals or others. This impairment can occur even at low levels of blood alcohol concentration. When alcohol is abused, there is a significantly increased incidence of physical injury, motor vehicle accidents (nearly half of all fatal accidents) and injuries from assaults. Abuse of alcohol within the college environment can be linked to an increased risk of interpersonal violence.

From Fischer et al. 2021.:  “An extensive body of literature documents the association of cannabis use with an increased risk for a variety of acute and long-term health harms (Cohen, Weizman, & Weinstein, 2019; Hall et al., 2019; Hoch, Friemel, & Schneider, 2019; Memedovich, Dowsett, Spackman, Noseworthy, & Clement, 2018; National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, 2017; World Health Organization, 2016). These include: acute intoxication with impaired cognitive, memory and psychomotor skills; increased involvement in motor-vehicle crashes and related injury and deaths; impaired neurocognitive and psychosocial functioning; mental health problems (e.g., psychosis and schizophrenia, depression and suicidal behaviors); cannabis use disorder/dependence; and select respiratory, reproductive, cardiovascular, gastro-intestinal conditions (Cohen et al., 2019; Hall et al., 2019; Hoch et al., 2019; Memedovich et al., 2018; National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, 2017; Patel, Khan, & Hamid, 2020; World Health Organization, 2016). Some of these associations are stronger than others, and causality is not always firmly established.”  

In addition to the possible effects on the brain, smoking and/or vaping cannabis may also be hazardous to respiratory system. For health facts about other substances visit The National Institute on Drug Abuse and Fischer et al. 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103381


Macalester College is committed to complying with the requirements of the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act. The requirements for compliance with the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act of 1989 are addressed here and in the Alcohol and Illegal Drugs Policy of the Student Handbook. The College conducts biennial reviews of its alcohol and drug program to determine its effectiveness, implement needed changes and ensure that disciplinary sanctions are consistently enforced.

Additional requirements for compliance with the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 state that employees of the College are required to report to work on time and in appropriate mental and physical condition for work and to remain in that condition during the work shift. Employees must, as a condition of employment, abide by the terms of this policy and report any criminal convictions under a criminal drug statute for violations occurring on or off campus premises while conducting college business. A report of conviction must be made within five days of conviction.

Within thirty days after receiving notification that an employee has been convicted under a criminal drug statute for violation occurring in the workplace, Macalester will either take disciplinary action against the employee (up to and including termination) or will require the employee to satisfactorily participate in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by federal, state or local health, law enforcement or appropriate agency.