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WPI Drug and Alcohol Policy

In accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989, and the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, WPI prohibits the unlawful possession, use, and/or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol on its property and/or as part of its activities.

  1. Students under the age of 21 may not possess, consume, transport, or be served alcohol.
  2. Kegs, beer balls, bulk containers, or any other common sources of alcohol are not permitted on WPI owned, operated or affiliated property at any time.
  3. Students may not possess, use, or distribute illicit drugs or possess drug related paraphernalia.
  4. It is a criminal offense, punishable by up to a year in jail and $2,000 fine, for any person to furnish any alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years. According to Massachusetts state law, "furnish" means to knowingly or intentionally supply, give or provide to or allow a person under 21 years of age to possess alcoholic beverages on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged.

Student members of the WPI community who are in violation of this policy are subject to local, state, and federal law as well as disciplinary adjudication under the WPI code of conduct, the WPI Residence Hall Policy, and/or the WPI Greek system policy. The various sanctions outlined in Article I, Section D, of the constitution of the WPI campus judicial system are applicable to students found responsible for violating WPI's Drug and Alcohol Policy.

Dangerous and/or Binge Drinking

The WPI code of conduct guarantees certain rights and responsibilities to members of the WPI community. Among those responsibilities is the expectation that no member of the community shall impair the well being of another community member or themself. Dangerous drinking and/or binge drinking is an example of behavior that can be injurious and is prohibited under the WPI code of conduct.


Education and counseling services are available to all members of the WPI community. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to refer persons troubled by alcohol and/or drug use to the WPI Student Development and Counseling Center or to one of the various community support services available in or around Worcester:

AdCare Hospital
107 Lincoln Street
Worcester MA 01605
1-800-ALCOHOL or 508-799-9000
Worcester Medical Center
Saint Vincent Hospital
20 Worcester Center Blvd.
Worcester, MA 01608
North Central Alcoholism
Commission Outpatient
316 Central St.
Gardner, MA 01440

WPI Community Support Services

WPI provides alcohol and other drug information, education and counseling services to meet individual needs for students, faculty and staff.

Director, Greg Snoddy
Healthy Alternatives Office
Alumni Gym
Director, Charlie Morse
Student Development and Counseling Center
Director, Regina Roberto
Student Health Center
Assistant Vice President, Tracy Hassett
Human Resources
Employee Assistance Program
Chief, Cheryl Martunas
Campus Police

The Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increases the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol causes marked impairment in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses causes respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at a greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.

Summary of Legal Penalties Covering Drug Abuse

Massachusetts has criminal penalties for use of controlled substances, or drugs, with penalties varying with the type of drug. In general, narcotic, addictive, and drugs with a high potential for abuse have heavier penalties Possession of drugs is illegal without valid authorization. While penalties for possession are generally not as great as for manufacture and distribution of drugs, possession of a relatively large quantity may be considered distribution. Under both state and federal laws, penalties for possession, manufacture and distribution are much greater for second and subsequent convictions. Many laws dictate mandatory prison terms and the full minimum term must be served.

Massachusetts makes it illegal to be in a place where heroin is kept and to be in the company of a person known to possess heroin. Anyone in the presence of heroin at a private party or residence risks a serious drug conviction. Sale and possession of drug paraphernalia is illegal in Massachusetts.

Persons convicted of drug possession under state or federal law are ineligible for federal student grants and loans for up to one year after the first conviction, five years after the second; the penalty for distributing drugs is loss of benefits for five years after the first, 10 years after the second, permanently after the third conviction.

Under federal law, distribution of drugs to persons under the age of 21 is punishable by twice the normal penalty with a mandatory one to three years in prison depending on the class of drugs; a third conviction is punishable by mandatory life imprisonment. These penalties apply to distribution of drugs within 1,000 feet of a college or school. Federal law sets greatly heightened prison sentences for manufacture and distribution of drugs if death or serious injury results from the use of the substance.

Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 101 226)

Section 22 of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989, entitled "Drug-Free Schools and Campuses," reads as follows:

Section 22 Drug-Free Schools and Campuses.

  1. In General
    1. Certification of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program - Title XII of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end a new Section 1213 to read as follows: "Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention" Sec. 1213. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no institution of higher education shall be eligible to receive funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, including participation in any federally funded or guaranteed student loan program, unless it certifies to the secretary that it has adopted and has implemented a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees that, at a minimum, includes
      1. the annual distribution to each student and employee of
        1. standards of conduct that clearly prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on its property or as part of any of its activities;
        2. a description of the applicable legal sanctions under local, state, or federal law for the unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol;
        3. a description of the health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol;
        4. a description of any drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, rehabilitation or re-entry programs that are available to employees or students; and
        5. a clear statement that the institution will impose sanctions on students and employees (consistent with local, state, and federal law), and a description of those sanctions, up to and including expulsion or termination of employment and referral for prosecution, for violations of the standards of conduct required by paragraph (1)(A); and
      2. a biennial review by the institution of its program to
        1. determine its effectiveness and implement changes to the program if they are needed; and
        2. ensure that the sanctions required by paragraph (1)(E) are consistently enforced.

Massachusetts Law Regarding Possession and Consumption of Alcohol

The legal age in Massachusetts is defined by M.G.L.A.C. 138 Section 12, which makes it unlawful for licensed vendors to sell to anyone under 21 years of age. Minors are not permitted to purchase or even make arrangements to purchase alcoholic beverages (M.G.L.A.C. 138 Section 34A). It is also unlawful for minors to transport in any way any alcoholic beverages (M.G.L.A.C. 138 Section 34B).

Anyone who procures any alcoholic beverages for a minor violates M.G.L.A.C. 138 Section 34. The sale of alcoholic beverages by a licensed vendor to a minor is illegal under M.G.L.A.C. 138 Section 34, which also makes it unlawful for a patron to procure such beverages for a minor at any licensed establishment. The penalty for violating this law is a $1,000 fine or six months imprisonment, or both.

In the same section, it is a criminal offense, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, for any person to furnish any alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years, parents or grandparents of the person excepted. For the purposes of this section, the word "furnish" means to knowingly or intentionally supply, give or provide to or allow a person under 21 years of age to possess alcoholic beverages on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged.

Minors may not misrepresent their age in order to purchase or attempt to purchase any alcoholic beverages (M.G.L.A.C. 148 Section 34A). The same law makes it illegal to deface, alter or otherwise falsify an identification card to obtain alcoholic beverages. The penalty for violating this statute is a $300 fine. Those of legal age are precluded by the same law from making a false statement about a minor's age in order to effectuate a sale to a minor or from inducing a minor to make a false statement in order to obtain alcoholic beverages.

Persons under 21 years of age may not transport alcoholic beverages and those who do so while operating an automobile are subject to revocation of their driver's license for a maximum of three months (M.G.L.A.C. 138 Section 34C).

Regulations for Alcohol Service in WPI Facilities

WPI has adopted the following policy relating to the responsible use of beer and wine service for functions on the WPI campus. *

  1. events must comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Worcester ordinances and WPI policies regarding the service of alcohol.
  2. Any event requesting beer/wine service must be approved by the Events Office.
  3. Events requiring beer/wine service and a one-day license must make a request with the Events Office 45 days prior to the event.

    A license fee may apply. (The City of Worcester requires that a license be issued at least 30 days prior to an event.)
  4. Beer/wine service is available on campus after 4:00PM weekdays and after 12:00PM (noon) on weekends in the following public locations; Alden Hall, Alumni Gym, Campus Center, Daniels Hall, Ellsworth/Fuller Apartments, Founders Hall, Harrington Auditorium, Higgins House, Institute Hall, Morgan Hall, Sanford Riley Hall, Stoddard Complex and the Wedge. The Goat's Head Restaurant in Founders Hall also serves beer and wine.
  5. Chartwells Dining Services is the only approved provider of beer/wine service for WPI events. No individual person or group may provide or donate alcohol for any event.
  6. Certain events with alcohol may require a campus police officer(s) depending on specific event details including total number of guests, location and event type.
  7. Kegs, beer balls, bulk containers, or any other common sources of alcohol are not permitted on WPI owned, operated, or affiliated property at any time.
  8. Applicable fees for the service of alcohol will be charged to the event sponsor including but not limited to Campus Police, Plant Services (custodial services), bartender service, wait-staff service and license fees.
  9. Proper identification must be furnished upon request by all guests who appear to be under the age of 21 years.
  10. WPI accepts no responsibility through the adoption of this policy for the behavior of guests at functions. This responsibility rests solely with the sponsoring group or individual. WPI, through the Events Office and Chartwells Dining Services, reserves the right to schedule and manage each function in the best interest of all parties.

Students in residence halls must adhere to the Residence Hall Alcohol Regulations. See Residence Hall Living at WPI brochure.

Expectations for Gatherings at Greek Chapter Houses

  • All Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including those pertaining to health, safety and the possession and consumption of alcohol must be strictly adhered to at all times.
  • Alcohol is allowable only at closed functions (invitation only). Functions may not be advertised if alcohol will be present.
  • Only beer and beverages of less than 5% alcohol by volume, contained in single serving containers of no more than 12 oz., will be allowed. Non-alcoholic beverages must also be available at all events.
  • Functions involving alcohol are not allowed on weeknights at any chapter house.
  • No more than two guests are allowable for each chapter member in attendance. Total attendance is not to exceed limits of existing fire and safety codes for the building as a whole or for any one room.
  • Guests must be invited prior to the event and a typed list with all the invitee's names will be present at the door for check-in. Only those guests listed may be permitted entry to the event.
  • During functions when alcohol is present, each member and guest must carry an identification card issued by a governmental agency which includes that person's picture and date of birth. Acceptable forms of identification include official driver's licenses, Massachusetts alcoholic beverage purchase card, passport or military identification card.
  • All guests must be 18 or over to be at an event in a chapter house when alcohol is present.
  • All guests who are 21 or older will be given a wrist band which must be worn at all times during the event. Only persons 21 years of age or older who are wearing a wrist band will be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages.
  • All events are BYOB. Guests who are 21 years of age or older are allowed to bring one six-pack of beer to be turned in at the door for tickets. Beer, and other approved beverages, will be distributed by the chapter in a controlled manner using appropriate risk management techniques and then only to guests who are 21 years of age or older and wearing a wristband.
  • Under no circumstance may a fee be charged for entry to an event or to obtain alcohol at an event.
  • Minors may not be served alcohol or bring alcohol to any chapter house or other campus activities or location.
  • Chapters must effectively control access to premises when alcohol is served.
  • University officials, including Campus Police, will be allowed prompt entry into chapter houses when they have health or safety concerns.
  • Violation of policies will result in judicial proceedings which may include the following sanctions for the chapter house as outcomes:
  • Social Probation: A period during which a chapter may not sponsor any social functions, on or off campus, where alcohol is present.
  • Recognition Probation: A period of review during which a chapter will be notified of specific concerns and must comply with requests for° Recognition Suspension: A period during which a chapter is no longer a member of the WPI Greek system; is not entitled to participate in rush; may not use WPI's name; and is no longer considered as a recognized student organization. Recolonization is not guaranteed, and is subject to the current recolonization procedure on file in the Student Activities Office.
  • All violations of the above expectations will be reported the chapter's national headquarters.
  • Individuals who violate these expectations are also subject to sanctions.


Faculty, staff and students should be aware that any form of harassment, illegal discrimination, and/or verbal, written, or electronic harassment or physical assault against any individual is inconsistent with the values and ideals of the university and renders one liable for judgment. It is the policy of WPI that all our employees should be able to enjoy a work environment free of disruptive elements (e.g. noise, scents, etc.), discrimination and harassment.

This policy refers to, but is not limited to, harassment in the following areas: (1) race, (2) sex, (3) age, (4) color, (5) national origin, (6) religion, (7) handicap, (8) marital status, (9) sexual orientation, and (10) veteran status. Harassment includes display or circulation of written or electronic materials or pictures degrading to either gender or to racial, ethnic, or religious groups; and verbal abuse or insults directed at or made in the presence of members of a racial, ethnic, or minority group.

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