Policy on Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

Simmons University, through its programs and activities, is committed to creating an environment that promotes and reinforces healthy, responsible living; respect for community laws and campus standards and regulations; individual responsibility within the community; and the intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, ethical, and physical well-being of its community members. To that end, we have established and will enforce clear policies that promote an educational environment free from abuse of alcohol and other drugs. We also sponsor educational programs concerning alcohol and other drugs, provide counseling and referral services through our various student services offices for substance abuse, and promote and support responsible institutional programming.

In compliance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, students who are not of legal drinking age (21 years old) may not purchase, possess, consume, or transport alcoholic beverages at any time. Alcohol is defined as liquor, beer, and wine.

Students of legal drinking age are permitted to purchase, possess, and consume alcoholic beverages at University functions approved by the Office of Student Leadership and Activities, and in their residence halls according to the policies listed below and in the University Policies and Procedures section of this handbook. Alcoholic beverages being transported on the Simmons campus must be covered appropriately. Kegs and beer balls are never permitted in residence halls, and delivery of alcohol to individuals is prohibited. Public intoxication is unacceptable by members of the University community, guests, and visitors. A Massachusetts driver's license, a passport, or a combination of a picture ID and proof of age are the only acceptable identification cards for the purpose of purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages.


The possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs, including illegal prescription medications and drug paraphernalia, is strictly prohibited. Any individual who violates this prohibition will be subject to disciplinary action. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, expulsion from the University, mandatory participation in drug abuse rehabilitation programs, as well as referral to law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

Medical Marijuana

In November 2012, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question allowing qualified patients with certain medical conditions to obtain and use medical marijuana. Nonetheless federal laws prohibit marijuana use, possession, and/or cultivation at educational institutions and on the premises of other recipients of federal funds. The use, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes is therefore not allowed in any Simmons University housing or any other Simmons property; nor is it allowed at any off campus activity sponsored by the University.

Public Activities and Alcohol

Simmons events that involve the sale, service, or consumption of alcohol may not be open to the general public and may not be advertised in the greater Boston community through newspapers, radio stations, social networking sites, etc.

Private Activities and Alcohol

Alcohol may be sold, served, and/or consumed at events sponsored by Simmons departments or organizations for Simmons students of legal drinking age and their invited guests (including other university students of legal drinking age) only when the event is approved in advance by the Director of Student Leadership and Activities or designee.

Approval will be granted only when the following conditions are met:

  • Any alcohol served on the Simmons campus for Simmons students of legal drinking age (and their invited guests of legal drinking age) must be served by the University's Dining services, who will carry the appropriate licenses.
  • Simmons events involving alcohol off campus must be held at a licensed venue.
  • The alcohol distribution procedure must be outlined, and agreed upon, by the Director of the Office of Student Leadership and Activities.
  • The amount of alcohol available for sale or service must be pre-determined.
  • Alcohol may not be brought into, or taken from, the event.
  • Food and an alternative non-alcoholic beverage must be provided at an equal or lower price than the alcohol for sale.
  • Appropriate procedures for checking proof of age must be established.
  • Presence of a chaperone from Simmons and/or from the Simmons Pubic Safety may be required at the discretion of university administrators.

In addition to the above, the activity must be held in the appropriate location in order to receive approval.

  • Bartol Hall may be used only twice per semester for activities specified by the Director of Student Leadership and Activities or designee.
  • Alumnae Hall or the Fens Cafe may be used for large scale activities within the capacity guidelines. Beer kegs may not be used in the Fens Cafe.
  • Alcohol service in the residence hall living rooms and student lounges is limited to formal receptions by invitation only. Residence hall open parties are not permitted. Beer kegs or beer balls are not permitted within the residence halls. These events must be approved by the Directors of Residence Life and the Student Leadership and Activities.
  • Activities in the Bartol Hall small dining room, Trustman Gallery, Special Functions Room, Faculty and Staff Dining Room, Linda K. Paresky Conference Room and academic department areas are also limited to semiformal or formal receptions, those sponsored by the Alumnae Association, and selected senior class or Dix Scholar activities. Beer kegs are not allowed in these facilities.
  • No alcohol may be served, sold, or consumed at events outdoors on the Residence or Academic Campus quads, except by special arrangement with the University through the Director of Student Leadership and Activities.
Alcohol Policy Violations

Violations of the above stated policies and the procedures necessary to implement these policies will be considered a violation of the Honor Code of Responsibility. The Honor Board has endorsed the following procedures and the penalties for such violations and has authorized the Judicial Board and the Social Activities Review Board to review appropriate cases. If necessary, the Honor Board will determine the appropriate judicial body to review a particular case.

The University will make every effort to include members of a peer group in the hearing panel but recognizes that this may not always be possible while ensuring timely handling of cases. In the case of graduate student violations of University alcohol policies, the student may specifically request that at least one panel member is another graduate student.

Alcohol and Drug Amnesty

The welfare of Simmons students, faculty, and staff is of paramount importance. Members of the Simmons community are encouraged to report alleged sexual misconduct. Sometimes students are hesitant to report sexual misconduct to University officials because they fear being charged with other Policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. Similarly, students are sometimes hesitant to offer assistance to others to avoid getting themselves in trouble.

Complainants and witnesses should understand that the University's primary focus is on addressing sexual misconduct, not whether alcohol or drugs were involved. To encourage reporting, Simmons offers limited immunity from drug/alcohol charges to those students alleging sexual misconduct and those students who help others in need of assistance in instances of sexual misconduct. Although Student Handbook violations cannot be completely overlooked, the University will provide referrals to counseling and may require educational interventions for those abusing alcohol and/or drugs.

Learn more about the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.

Individual Violations

If an undergraduate student violates, or is suspected of violating, the alcohol policy at any place on the Simmons campus, the student shall self-report or be reported (according to the Honor System) to the appropriate judicial board. A resident student will be referred to the Residence Campus Judicial Board upon first violation of the alcohol policy. Cases are considered and heard on an individual basis.

Student Organization Violations

If a student organization violates, or is suspected of violating the alcohol policy, the officers of the organization and the person who petitioned for the activity in question will be asked to appear before the Judicial Cabinet. If the organization is found guilty, the Board will determine an appropriate sanction for the group, and/or the individuals involved. Sanctions will be in effect no less than one semester from the date of the infraction. Copies of the letter explaining the Board's decision will be forwarded to the Student Government Association, the Director of Student Leadership and Activities, the organization's advisor, and the secretary of the Honor Board.

For a second offense of this or any other University policy, the organization will be informed that it has lost official University recognition for one calendar year from the date of infraction. Any funds remaining in the organization's account will be returned to the pool of available student activities fees. (A loss of formal recognition means that the organization may not use University facilities or services for conducting meetings, business, or entertainment.) Copies of this letter will be forwarded to the Student Government Association, the Director of Student Leadership and Activities, the organization's advisor, and the secretary of the Honor Board.