Alcohol Policies & Initiatives
Office of Student Life
330 Memorial Union, Kingston, RI 02881
Phone: 401-874-2101; Fax: 401-874-5574; TTD: 401-874-2098
Substance Abuse Prevention
2. Respect for Health, Safety, and Rights of Self and Others. The University of Rhode Island expects its students to treat other persons with respect and human dignity. All members of the community share the responsibility for protecting and maintaining community health, safety, and the rights of other persons. Because of the University's concentrated housing, varied activities, and the individual needs of students and faculty to pursue their work free from hazards and intrusions on their privacy, the cooperation of all is needed in order to maintain these standards.
2.19 The University of Rhode Island Drug and Alcohol Free Campus Statement. The University of Rhode Island supports students in demonstrating responsible conduct in the best interest of their personal health and well being, the community's general welfare, and the rights of others. Students are expected to assume responsibility for their behavior and must understand that being under the influence of drugs/ alcohol in no way lessens their accountability. Although alcohol is a drug socially accepted by many, it can be used abusively. Misuse of alcohol may damage physical, mental, and emotional health. It may produce mild symptoms such as stomach upset, frequent colds, or mild depression, ulcers, malnutrition. Emotional and behavioral problems such as depression, poor social interactions and low achievement levels are all compounded by alcohol or other drug use. Information about alcohol and its effects is available through the Office of Student Life Substance Abuse Services. Students whose consumption is abusive to themselves or to others should seek supportive services through the University's Counseling Center or the Office of Student Life. Members of the University community will be held accountable for inappropriate behavior while under the influence of alcohol. Neither the Office of Student Life's Substance Abuse Education Program, Health Services nor the Counseling Center issue alcohol citations when students seek assistance. All substance abuse treatment services are confidential.
The policies listed below are to be followed for the consumption and use of alcohol and other drugs at the University of Rhode Island. The described consequences of substance abuse are not totally inclusive and do not cover all possible legal implications of the possession, consumption, manufacture or sale of alcohol and other drugs. Students will obey all state laws pertaining to the possession, consumption, manufacture, and sale of alcoholic beverages as defined in Title 3 of the General Laws of Rhode Island and in Town Ordinances. These statutes are available in the Reference Section of the University Library.
2.20 Illegal consumption, possession, proximity. Possession and/ or consumption of alcoholic beverages is limited to individuals who are 21 years of age or older. Students under 21 cannot transport alcohol in their cars nor have it in their possession while on campus, nor can they be in an on-campus room where alcohol is being consumed. Students under the age of 21 are discouraged from having empty alcohol containers on display. Underage students may be charged for having in their possession empty alcohol containers.
2.21 Grain Alcohol. Grain alcohol is prohibited on campus except for laboratory use.
2.22 Serving or Providing Alcohol. Serving alcoholic beverages to an individual under 21 years of age, purchasing alcoholic beverages for an individual less than 21 years of age, or negligently allowing a minor to consume alcoholic beverages is prohibited. Serving alcoholic beverages to someone who is visibly intoxicated is prohibited.
2.23 Public Consumption. Public consumption of alcoholic beverages on University grounds is prohibited (except as allowed by a properly registered and monitored event). The consumption of alcohol or possession of an open container of alcohol is prohibited in public areas. A public area is any area outside of a student's room, such as, but not limited to corridors, stairways, bathrooms, lounges and balconies, or any other public areas in or around the residence halls, fraternity/ sorority houses, and on-campus apartments. Students 21 and older who publicly consume alcohol or have an open container in public are in violation of this policy and are also subject to the mandatory minimum sanctions.
2.24 Locations for Consumption. The University Club is the only designated area for the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Possession and consumption in all other non-residential University buildings is prohibited.
2.25 Alcohol Purchase. No alcohol may be purchased with student organization funds, including fraternity and sorority dues and other sources of chapter income. At off-campus events funded by Student Senate allocated funds, alcohol cannot be served in the same location contracted for (e. g., alcohol cannot be served in the ballroom of a hotel if the ballroom is the contracted location, but can be served at a licensed bar in the same hotel.)
2.26 Tap Systems. No permanent tap systems, whose use is to distribute alcoholic beverages, may be owned or operated by a student organization, including fraternities and sororities. Drinking games are prohibited.
2.27 Common Source Containers. Common source alcohol containers (e. g., beer kegs, punch bowls) are prohibited. Paraphernalia for drinking games or quantity consumption (funnels, beer bongs, etc.) are prohibited.
2.28 Off-campus Functions. If a student organization plans an off-campus function at an establishment where alcohol is served, and if the student organization accepts any remuneration from the establishment, there must be a contract establishing that the license holder is responsible and liable for all carding, security, and handling of alcohol. The Director of the Memorial Union and Student Involvement can assist with this contract.
2.29 Minimum Mandatory Sanctions for Alcohol and Other Drug Violations: Groups. The sanctions set forth in this policy are minimum sanctions and do not limit or restrict the imposition of additional or other sanctions allowable by law. Any URI student organization or recognized student group that sponsors, permits, allows a social event with alcohol and/ or fails to prevent the consumption of alcohol will be sanctioned as follows.
a. A minimum mandatory sanction of a $500 fine will be applied to a student group which sponsors, permits, or allows a social event with alcohol when all present are 21 and older. A minimum fine of $500 will be applied against a group that fails to prevent the consumption of alcohol by a person under the age of 21. Probation and work service may also be applied.
b. If it is the second offense within a period of three semesters, the mandatory sanction will be suspension of the organization from the U. R. I. campus for a minimum of two semesters. The organization will be fined a minimum of $500.
2.30 Minimum Mandatory Sanctions for Alcohol and Other Drug Violations: Individual Students. The sanctions set forth in this policy are minimum sanctions and do not limit or restrict the imposition of additional or other sanctions allowable by law. Individuals may be sanctioned personally as well as members of a group. Parents/ guardians of students under 21 years of age may be notified concerning violations of policies concerning alcohol and other drugs.
a. Any student under the age of 21 who consumes and/ or possesses alcohol in violation of Rhode Island law will be sanctioned as follows. The same minimum mandatory sanctions for alcohol violations apply to marijuana violations. Drug violations may also carry additional serious consequences (e. g., criminal charges, suspension or dismissal for selling or intent to sell, and so forth).
If it is the first offense, the mandatory minimum sanction will be completion of a self-assessment survey, and/ or education session, a minimum fine of $50 and disciplinary probation for one semester.
If it is the second offense, within 3 semesters of the first offense, the disciplinary probation will be extended for one semester, with mandatory education and evaluation and a minimum fine of $100.
If it is the third offense within three semesters of the first offense, the mandatory minimum sanction will be suspension from the University for two semesters with readmission possible on presentation of proof of treatment.
b. Any U. R. I. student who provides any person under 21 years of age with alcohol or drugs or aids or abets any such person in violation of Rhode Island law will be sanctioned as follows:
If it is the first offense, the mandatory minimum sanction will be disciplinary probation for one semester and a fine of $100. The student will also be required to perform a minimum of 20 hours of work service.
If it is not the first offense, the minimum sanction will be suspension from the University for two semesters and a fine of $200.
2.31 Legal Sanctions for Alcohol and other Drugs. Rhode Island penalties for driving while impaired are as follows.
a) Section 3-8-6( d) of the Rhode Island statute states that it is unlawful for a minor (under the age of 21) to purchase, or attempt to purchase, or to make a false statement in connection with the attempted purchase of alcohol. The sanction is a fine of $100-$ 500.
b) Section 3-8-10 states that possession of alcohol by a minor is illegal. The fine ranges from $100-$ 500.
c) In Rhode Island drivers are "under the influence" and guilty of a violation, misdemeanor, or felony, depending on the circumstances, if they are between the ages of 18 and 21 with .02% blood alcohol or over 21 years of age with a blood alcohol concentration of .08%. Some of the Rhode Island penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating drugs are as follows.
BAC of .08 to .10, first offense: $100-$ 250 and 10 to 60 days of community service, license suspension of 45 days. Second offense: mandatory $400, license suspended for 2 years, imprisonment of 10 days to 1 year.
BAC of .10 to .15, first offense: $100-$ 300 and 10 to 60 days of community service, and/ or imprisonment up to 1 year, license suspension for 3 to 6 months. Subsequent offenses have increased mandatory fines and imprisonment.
BAC of .15 or more, first offense: $500 and 20 to 60 hours of community service, and/ or imprisonment up to 1 year, license suspended for 3 to 6 months. Subsequent offenses have increased mandatory fines and imprisonment.
2.32 Legal Sanctions for Illegal Drugs. Rhode Island statutes cover a wide range of drug offenses, including the use, possession, sale, distribution, transportation and manufacture of various types of drugs (21-28-4 Rhode Island General Legislation). Among other provisions the State law creates the following mandatory minimum prison sentences for first-time offenders who are not "drug dependent" persons. Actual sentences depend on the severity and the circumstances of the offense, and the character and background of the offender.
a. Imprisonment of not less than ten years for possession of enumerated quantities of controlled substances: heroin, coca leaves, cocaine, ecgonine, phencyclidine (PCP), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and marijuana plus fine.
b. Possession of larger enumerated quantities results in a minimum prison sentence of not less than twenty years plus fine.
c. Distribution of a controlled substance to persons under age 18 is penalized by imprisonment for not less than 15 years.
d. Education and counseling may be required.
2.33 Health Risks Associated with Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs. Many people are unaware of the potential physical and psychological consequences of their drug use. Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. The vast majority of Americans who drink alcohol, for example, do so without any serious problems. However, it is important to remember that alcohol is a powerful drug ak:nd like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, it can pose certain risks to your health and well being. Alcohol abuse is responsible for an average 200 ,000 deaths annually in the United States. Half of all accidental deaths, suicides, and homicides in the United States are estimated to be alcohol-related. In addition, alcohol use is implicated in many cases of sexual assault (see Section 2.4e).
a. Personal Risk Factors. Frequently, people who drink abusively don't consider themselves to be problem drinkers. Certain factors pose an increased risk for developing a serious alcohol problem. These are: 1) having one or more blood relatives with a history of alcohol or other drug problems; 2) growing up in a family in which alcohol was associated with family dysfunction; 3) drinking to get drunk; 4) being able to "hold your liquor" seeming to be less affected by alcohol than most people; 5) excessive drinking at a young age and/ or having a history of other drug abuse; 6) having one or more memory "blackouts" due to drinking; 7) drinking to relieve bad feelings or to escape from problems; 8) having friends who are heavy drinkers; 9) a history of impulsivity and/ or behavioral problems, such as conduct disorder; 10) using other drugs which, when combined with alcohol, increase the effects and dangers of drinking.
Sources: Miller, William R., Alcohol and You. Prepared for Project MATCH by the Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA). The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. Also Marlatt, G. A., Baer, J. S. & Larimer, M. E. (1995). Preventing alcohol abuse in college students: A harm reduction approach. In G. M. Boyd, J. Howard, & R. A. Zucker (Eds.), Alcohol problems among adolescents: Current directions in prevention research (pp. 147-172). Northvale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates, Inc.
b. Birth Defects. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is among the three leading causes of birth defects. FAS refers to a pattern of physical and mental defects that may occur in infants whose mothers drink during pregnancy. Currently, 1 to 3 per 100,000 live births suffer from FAS. Experts estimate that by the year 2000 there will be more than 4 million cocaine-addicted babies born in this country. The cost of this epidemic is approximately 100 billion dollars. In the past few years, New York City has seen a 200% increase in the incidents of drug addicted babies.
c. Acute Alcohol Poisoning. Certain high-risk practices & drinking games, drinking grain alcohol punch for example, involve the quick ingestion of large amounts of alcohol that can shut down breathing and heart functioning. This can be fatal. Chronic alcohol abuse has also been linked to liver disease, gastrointestinal disorders, birth defects, depression, impotence, and malnutrition. Alcohol and other drug use can impair judgment, reasoning, communication, and perception. In addition, it may lead to risky sexual encounters such as unprotected sex and sexual assault. Alcohol may be a contributing factor in cases of acquaintance rape. Alcohol does not cause a person to commit sexual assault. Furthermore, drunkenness does not absolve a guilty party from the act of rape. Drunk or sober, sexual assault is a crime.
d. Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning. The person is unconscious or semi-conscious and cannot be roused. The person has cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin. The person's breathing is slow or irregular. The person vomits while passed out and is not waking up after vomiting. If someone you know has any of these symptoms after drinking alcohol, it is possible that he/ she is suffering from acute alcohol poisoning. Do not leave the person alone. Don't let them "sleep it off." Turn the person on their side to prevent choking should vomiting occur. Call for immediate medical attention (874-2121). If in a residence hall, get a Resident Assistant or Hall Director.
2.34 University of Rhode Island Resources for Substance Abuse Prevention. If you've ever wondered whether your use of alcohol or other drugs is causing problems for you, it might be helpful to speak with someone who can give you specific information about your particular patterns of use and the associated risks. Confidential assistance is available at the following locations on campus:
a. Substance Abuse Services. Office of Student Life, 330 Memorial Union, 874-2101 This comprehensive outreach program sponsors a range of activities aimed at reducing the risks and consequences associated with alcohol and other drug abuse. Consultation, peer education, in-service training, early intervention programs, and referral information are among the services offered to the university community. Under the sponsorship of various academic departments, students frequently complete internships in Substance Abuse Services, incorporating their interests in college student development, psychology, marketing, nursing, journalism, fine arts, public relations, multimedia technology, pharmacy, and research. The JADE program (Judicial Alcohol and Drug Education) balances enforcement with education when students are referred through the judicial system for violations of campus drug policies.
b. Peer Education. Office of Student Life at 874-2101 or Health Services at 874-5954. Peer education is considered to be one of the most promising prevention strategies in encouraging healthier lifestyle practices among college students, targeting areas such as drug and alcohol use, sexuality, relationships, eating behaviors, and academics. At URI peer education programs offer training and experience to students who are interested in working in several areas including sexual assault, substance abuse, stress management, and eating problems. A three-credit course is offered to students who want to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work as peer educators.
c. Counseling Center. 217 Roosevelt Hall, 874-2288 Confidential counseling and mental health services are offered through individual and group sessions. Specialized treatment and education is provided by a substance abuse specialist.
d. Psychological Consultation Center. 150 Chafee Hall, 874-4263 Assessments, individual, couple, and family counseling. Sliding fee available based on need.
e. Health Services. Potter Building , 6 Butterfield Rd., 874-2246 On-going programs for students include physician/ nurse practitioner services; nursing services; specialists physicians clinics (dermatology, gynecology, internal medicine, orthopedic, psychiatry, surgical); health screening; women's clinic; counseling services; and health education.
2.35 Off-Campus Resources for Substance Abuse Prevention Rhode Island Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence:
24 Hour Hotline 1-800-622-7422.
Alcoholics Anonymous 1-800-439-8860
Narcotics Anonymous 401-461-1110
Al-anon & Alateen 401-781-0044