Mount Holyoke College permits the consumption of alcoholic beverages at social functions only within the stipulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the town of South Hadley that govern the purchase and selling of alcoholic beverages. Such social functions include all events held on campus and sponsored by any student, alumna, staff, or faculty member of the College, as well as any College-sponsored function held at an off-campus location.
The College expects all faculty, staff, and students to become familiar with the laws and with the College's policies governing alcohol and to consider the penalties and risks that can result from violations. The Mount Holyoke College policy is guided by three concerns:
- the health and safety of our students,
- compliance with state and federal laws regarding the possession, purchase, sale, and distribution of alcohol, and
- our educational mission, which includes informing students so they can make responsible life choices. Consequently our alcohol policy is designed to do the following:
- observe all state and federal laws
- stress moderation, safety, and individual accountability of those 21 and over who choose to drink
- provide a college atmosphere free of coercion for those who choose not to use alcohol and/or other drugs
- maintain a community where the effects of alcohol are minimal and where problem behavior is reduced
- provide information and education for all students
- provide confidential and effective guidance and counseling for students with issues related to alcohol use or abuse (Federal Confidentiality Law 42CFR, Part 2)
Students who violate state or federal laws will not be protected by the College. Violations of the alcohol and drug policy and dangerous or disruptive behavior and its consequences will be handled by the usual general judiciary procedure under the honor code. The involvement of alcohol with such behavior will be considered an exacerbating factor, not a mitigating one. If a student does not choose to follow these policies, the student may receive sanctions ranging from a written warning to suspension or expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. A chart of specific violations and sanctions can be found below.
Mount Holyoke College emphasizes the responsibility of each community member to be law-abiding, knowledgeable, and thoughtful about any decisions regarding alcohol consumption. With the help of the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Project, residence hall staff, and other educational resources, the College provides information about alcohol use and abuse and urges all community members to take advantage of the opportunity to become educated and make informed choices about consumption and nonconsumption. We encourage those with concerns about their own or others' difficulties with alcohol and/or other drugs to seek confidential assistance through the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Project.