WPI seeks to establish an environment—personal, social and academic—that supports its commitment to an excellent undergraduate and graduate education. The use of drugs and alcohol can contribute to significant personal struggles and environmental concerns within society in general and colleges in particular. WPI is committed to creating a safe and healthy community for students by providing education about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

The Alcohol & Drug Education Program through the Student Development & Counseling Center incorporates education, assessment, and intervention in hopes of reducing the negative consequences associated with substance abuse that some students may experience. WPI supports, promotes, respects and expects adherence to federal and state laws regarding alcohol and drugs. The WPI community is composed of students, their families, faculty, staff and alumni. The entire community must assume responsibility for providing a climate that respects personal rights as well as federal and state laws, promotes safety, and that models appropriate behavior as defined by the Alcohol and Other Drug Policy.

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 engage in dangerous and/or binge drinking.
  4. Students may not engage in offensive or destructive behavior while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  5. Students may not possess, use, or distribute illicit drugs or possess drug-related paraphernalia.
  6. 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 of age.  “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 the WPI Code of Conduct are applicable to students found responsible for violating WPI’s Alcohol and Other Drug 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 self. Dangerous drinking and/or binge drinking is an example of behavior that can be injurious and is prohibited under the WPI Code of Conduct.

Alcohol and Drug Education

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. Campus and community resources are located at the Student Development and Counseling Center (SDCC).

Campus Support Services

Student Development & Counseling Center (SDCC)

Student Health Center

Campus Police

Human Resources Employee Assistance Program

Additional Drug & Alcohol Programs

AdCare Hospital
107 Lincoln Street
Worcester, MA 01605
1-800-ALCOHOL or 508-798-9946

Spectrum Health Systems
10 Mechanic St., Suite 302
Worcester, MA 01608

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 cause 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, two years after the second; the penalty for distributing drugs is loss of benefits for two years after the first, indefinitely after the second.

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

Federal law requires that annually, each institution of higher education must certify that it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. In order to be able to certify its compliance with the regulations, institutions must adopt and implement a drug prevention program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by all students and employees both on school premises and as part of any of its activities.

See The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Guidelines. Specific details on the WPI Alcohol and Drug Education Program are based at the Student Development and Counseling Center.

Massachusetts Law Regarding Possession and Consumption of Alcohol

The legal age in Massachusetts is defined by (M.G.L.A.c. 138 § 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 § 34A). It is also unlawful for minors to transport in any way any alcoholic beverages (M.G.L.A.c. 138 § 34B).

Anyone who procures any alcoholic beverages for a minor violates (M.G.L.A.c. 138 § 34).  The sale of alcoholic beverages by a licensed vendor to a minor is illegal under (M.G.L.A.c.  138 § 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 maximum fine of $2,000 or maximum imprisonment of one year, 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.  The word “furnish” under this policy 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. 138 § 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 violators may be subject to revocation of their driver’s license for a period of three months (M.G.L.A.c. 138 § 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.*

  • All events must comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Worcester ordinances, and WPI policies regarding the service of alcohol.

  • Any event requesting beer/wine service must be approved by the Events Office.

  • Events requiring beer/wine service and a one-day license request must be submitted to 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.) 

  • Beer/wine service is available on campus after 4:00PM weekdays and after 12:00PM (noon) on weekends in the following public locations: 85 Prescott Street, Alden Memorial, Alumni Gym, Campus Center, Collegiate Religious Center, Daniels Hall, East Hall, Ellsworth/Fuller Apartments, Founders Hall, Gateway Park, Harrington Auditorium, Higgins House, Institute Hall, Morgan Hall, Sanford Riley Hall, Sports and Recreation Center, Stoddard Complex, and the Wedge.  The Goat’s Head Restaurant in Founders Hall also serves beer and wine.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Applicable fees for the service of alcohol will be charged to the event sponsor including but not limited to Campus Police, Facilities (custodial services), bartender service, wait staff service, and license fees. 

  • Proper identification must be furnished upon request by all guests who appear to be under the age of 21 years. 

  • 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.