Department of Student Rights and Community Standards

Section 5. Responsible Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Drugs

Community Response to Substance Use: The University's commitment to promoting the health and safety of all members of the Brandeis community, combined with its obligation to uphold local, state, and federal laws, requires clear policies on the possession and use of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and other drugs. Members of the community who sponsor or host programs assume responsibility for compliance with the policies outlined below and are required to be familiar with guidelines for event sponsorship.

Brandeis University recognizes that abuse of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs may present conditions that require professional counseling, assistance or treatment. If any member of the community is concerned about their relationship with substances, the counseling center is available to provide on-campus services and/or referrals to community resources. The alcohol and drug counselor is located in the Brandeis Counseling Center (781-736-3730). Assessments and counseling are available for students who want to learn more about their own use of substances, reduce or eliminate their use or discuss concerns about a friend's or family member's use. Substance abuse counseling is a free service and is confidential. For information, contact the Brandeis Counseling Center.

If you are looking for information or education on alcohol and other drugs, including safety strategies and guidance on how to support peers, please contact the Health and Wellness Promotion Office (HAWP).

Note: We recognize the historical and ongoing effects of privilege and marginalization reflected in the term marijuana. For the purposes of R&R aligning with legal guidelines, the term "cannabis" will be used throughout this document and is intended to include: marijuana, cannabis and all products derived from the cannabis plant.

Medical Amnesty Policy: Brandeis University is committed to the health and wellness of our students. Therefore, medical amnesty is provided to students who are involved in or who report emergencies. The policy of medical amnesty is in effect to ensure that those individuals who require assistance for themselves or a friend and who may have consumed excessive alcohol or drugs will turn to the appropriate personnel to seek emergency medical assistance without fear of reprisal for doing so.

Students who seek emergency medical attention for themselves or someone else related to consumption of alcohol or drugs will not be charged with violations of the "Rights and Responsibilities" related to that consumption (specifically those violations defined under the alcohol and/or drug codes), provided that the student subsequently complies in all respects with any recommended educational intervention and/or behavioral assessment. Failure to comply with this intervention/assessment may result in charges being filed with the Department of Student Rights and Community Standards. Additionally, students will be held accountable for any other violations of "Rights and Responsibilities" related to the incident (including, but not limited to endangering the health or safety of others, fire safety/emergency violations, failure to comply as noted above and vandalism).

This policy provides amnesty only with respect to violations of Brandeis University's Student Conduct Codes. It does not grant amnesty in connection with the criminal or civil consequences of violations of federal, state, or local law. This policy is also not intended to shield or protect those students who repeatedly violate "Rights and Responsibilities." In cases where repeated violations occur, the University reserves the right to initiate conduct action on a case-by-case basis, regardless of the manner in which the incident was reported. Additionally, the University reserves the right to adjudicate any case in which the violations are considered especially egregious. Call the Brandeis Department of Public Safety in an emergency. They can dispatch the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo) or ambulance services. University Police officers will respond along with BEMCo as safety-conscious first responders. Reach them at 781-736-3333 in an emergency.

5.1. Smoking: All Brandeis campus buildings are completely smoke-free. Cigarettes and other smokable products, including cigars, pipes, electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, present clear health risks to members of the community, both to users and to those experiencing second-hand smoke. Use of any smokable product is prohibited in all University buildings (including the residence halls), in outside areas adjacent to the entrances of University buildings (within 30 feet), and in University vehicles. Members of the community who choose to smoke are expected to dispose of these materials in proper receptacles and without risking harm to the campus environment. Those who use any smokable product must show respect for the community and are expected to comply with reasonable requests from other members of the community regarding their exposure to second-hand smoke. Students found responsible for smoking in a campus building may be assessed a fine of up to $150 per involved student. Fines may escalate with multiple offenses.

Alcohol Use

Brandeis University upholds and supports local, state and federal laws with regard to alcoholic beverages. Students of legal drinking age may choose to drink within stated campus guidelines and in accordance with procedures for event sponsorship. Brandeis students are reminded that they are responsible for the conduct of their guests.

The University Mail Services will not accept deliveries from common carriers that contain alcohol. If Mail Services receives a package with alcohol, the package will be returned to the sender.

The following general policies apply:

5.2. Underage Possession/Consumption: No student under the legal drinking age of 21 is allowed to possess or consume alcoholic beverages. Under-21-year-olds are not permitted to be in the presence of alcohol consumption and/or use unless at an approved University event or an approved registered event through the Department of Community Living.

5.3. Provision to Minors: In compliance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, members of the University and its agents may not serve or provide alcoholic beverages to any student or other individual younger than the legal drinking age of 21 (see Section 1.9.). Presence of an individual under the legal drinking age is not permitted in locations where there is use of alcohol, unless at an approved University event or an approved registered event through the Department of Community Living. Over-21- year-olds may be held responsible for provision to minors if individuals under the legal drinking age are present where alcohol is being consumed.

5.4. Provision at Public Events: Alcoholic beverages may not be provided at any public event on University property at which there are underage individuals, unless there is advance approval by University officials and reasonable precautions are taken to ensure that alcohol is served only to those of legal drinking age. Individuals dispensing alcohol assume serious liability if alcohol is served to anyone who is not of legal drinking age or anyone who is of age but is intoxicated. Alcohol should not be served at any time to individuals who are, or appear to be, intoxicated.

5.5. Responsibilities of Sponsors: The sponsor of a public event is responsible for providing food and non-alcoholic beverages at any venue where alcohol is served. Sponsors should consult with the Event Support Meeting (which includes representatives from the Department of Student Engagement, the Department of Public Safety, and Conference and Events Services) to plan any event at which alcohol will be Served; to ensure that the event complies with campus policies and the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. More information is available at Event Support Meeting.

5.6. Liquor Licenses: In compliance with local laws, alcoholic beverages may not be sold or served at any function requiring an admission charge without a valid liquor license for that event (see Section 5.4. regarding alcohol at campus events). The University’s liquor license covers The Stein, The Faculty Club, Sherman Function Hall, Levin Ballroom and Alumni Lounge, and events in these facilities may include alcohol if properly arranged through Conference and Events Services. In all other facilities, the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited without a temporary liquor license from the City of Waltham. In compliance with local laws, alcoholic beverages may not be sold or served at any function without a valid liquor license for that event. This includes but is not limited to, the sale of cups and/or any other form of container for the distribution of alcohol. A student may be held responsible for violating this policy whether on campus or off, if it is brought to the attention of the University.

Alcohol in the Residence Halls: Brandeis students living in the residence halls share responsibility for upholding community standards (see Section 9 for additional guidelines regarding the residence halls). The following policies regarding alcohol apply specifically to the residence halls:

5.7. Amounts and Locations: Alcohol possession and use within specified parameters is permitted to residents of legal drinking age in the following locations on campus:

  • Skyline South Tower
  • Foster Mods
  • Ridgewood A/B/C (where all occupants are 21+)
  • Charles River Apartments 164 and 178 (where all occupants are 21+)
  • Ziv Suites (where all occupants are 21+)

Approved types of alcohol and amounts at any given time for residential students over the legal drinking age are:

  • No more than 12 beers (12-ounce maximum per bottle/can) OR
  • No more than 12 wine coolers/malt (seltzers, lemonades, ciders) beverages (12-ounce maximum per bottle) OR
  • No more than one 1.5L or 50oz (2 standard-size bottles) of wine OR

No more than 750ml of liquor (liquor must be 90 proof (45% alcohol by volume) or below. No grain alcohol is permitted)

These amounts are per individual resident (over 21 years old) in an approved residential space. Any alcohol present in a residential space is the responsibility of the resident of that space and may not go above the approved amounts listed. Refer to the DCL website for additional details on where alcohol is permitted to be located/stored within residential spaces. Note: These quantities are based on topical expertise, regional benchmarking, and best practices.

5.8. Dry Quads: No alcohol is permitted in private residence hall rooms nor in any public space in first-year or sophomore areas (including Skyline North, East Quad, Massell Quad, North Quad, 567 South Street, The Village’s A-House and select floors of B House, sophomore apartments in Charles River, and Rosenthal Quad). In all other areas, use of alcoholic beverages must comply with the requirements set forth in this Section. Underage students should be aware that possession of empty alcohol containers may be considered alcohol possession.

5.9. Public Areas: Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed inside or outside of the residence halls, unless the area is part of an authorized event (see Sections 5.4., 5.8.) held in conformance with University regulations regarding events at which alcohol is served or present. Students may not be in possession of or store alcoholic beverages on University property with the exception of transporting approved amounts of alcohol to an approved location. (Please see Section 5.7 to review details on approved amounts and locations within residence halls).

5.10. Event Registration: Any student or group of students wishing to sponsor a party or event with alcohol in the residence halls must request permission for the event from the Area Coordinator responsible for that area by submitting an Event Registration Form (see the Department of Community Living) at least two business days before the event is to take place. The sponsor of the event is responsible for providing food and non-alcoholic beverages at any event where alcohol is served. Such gatherings may require additional approval from the Department of Public Safety. Events/gatherings must end no later than 1 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and no later than 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Residents sponsoring events assume responsibility for the actions of their guests. Approval of a gathering does not constitute permission to violate any University policies. Failure to comply with the regulations set forth in the event registration policy may result in the immediate discontinuation of the event and/or conduct action. Events in the residence halls are approved at the discretion of the Department of Community Living. (see Appendix F for Event Registration Process).

5.11. Mass Consumption: Large volumes of alcoholic beverages are not permitted in residence halls. Mass consumption vessels such as, but not limited to, kegs, beer balls, punch bowls/ common source containers, case(s) of liquor and bottles of liquor larger than 750 ml are prohibited. Items such as, but not limited to, funnels and luges that are used with the intention of indulging in excessive consumption are also prohibited.

5.12. Age Verification for Purchase or Consumption of Alcohol on Campus: Beer and wine are available for sale to students of legal drinking age at some University events and at The Stein and The Faculty Club. One of the following pieces of identification is required for students, and their guests: a valid, original driver’s license; a valid passport; a valid, original Massachusetts Liquor Identification Card; or a valid Massachusetts State Identification Card and in addition to a current and valid Brandeis Identification Card for Brandeis students.

5.13. Consumption / Distribution Health and Safety Implication: The consumption and/or distribution of alcohol in a manner detrimental to one’s health and/ or safety (or the health/safety of others).

Drugs and Other Substances: Although Massachusetts law now permits adults aged 21 or older to possess and consume cannabis under certain circumstances, federal law prohibits the growth, possession, use, or distribution of cannabis or drug paraphernalia, including for medical purposes, on Brandeis University property or as part of a Brandeis activity. All Universities that receive federal funding (i.e., research grants, student financial aid) must align with federal policies regardless of state laws/ordinances. If they fail to align with federal policies, funding can be removed. A student may be held responsible for their possession/use whether on campus or off, if it is brought to the attention of the University. 

5.14. Drugs and Other Substances; Drug Paraphernalia: The actual or intended purchase, possession or use of illegal drugs, narcotics, controlled substances or prescription drugs without a prescription is prohibited. The smell of cannabis, when combined with other evidence, may be sufficient information to support a violation of this policy.

5.15. Drugs and Other Substance(s) Sale and/or Distribution: The actual or intended sale, distribution, cultivation, or manufacture of illegal drugs, narcotics, controlled substances, or prescription drugs is prohibited.