Alcohol & Drug Policies
TCU has the responsibility of maintaining an educational environment conducive to academic achievement and at the same time helping young people grow into mature and responsible adults. Though each individual ultimately must decide whether or not to use alcoholic beverages, the University has determined what practices will be permitted on campus (see Code of Student Conduct section 3.2.11).
Students should be aware that the legal drinking age in the State of Texas is 21 years of age. Texas Christian University will conform to the state law and also has further specific regulations to govern the use, sale, and possession of alcoholic beverages on the property of the University. Students who choose to drink, either on or off the campus, are expected to handle alcohol responsibly and conform to the laws of this state. Violation of state law, city ordinance, or university regulations will be considered grounds for disciplinary action.
Kegs, beer bongs, and other paraphernalia used for alcoholic beverages are not permitted anywhere on the campus.
In university housing and fraternity and sorority chapter facilities, residents of legal age (21 years) and over may possess and consume alcoholic beverages in their rooms/apartments or in the rooms/apartments where all students are 21 years of age or older. If one or more resident is of legal drinking age and one or more is not, see Alcohol in University Housing #3. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in hallways, stairways, elevators, lobbies, lounges, chapter rooms, recreation areas, restrooms, and all other areas of university housing.
The consumption, purchase, or sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on the campus except in specially designated areas authorized by the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs. Furthermore, no person may provide any alcoholic beverage to any person less than 21 years of age. Students’ rooms/apartments may not be used as “open bars” but may be used for private gatherings with no more than six guests, all of who must be at least 21 years of age.
Being intoxicated is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Any student whose behavior evidences drunkenness will be in violation of the TCU Alcohol Policy, and is subject to the sanctions of the TCU Alcohol Policy.
Alcohol and Behavior
The use of alcohol will not, under any circumstance, be accepted as an excuse for irresponsible behavior such as the making of excessive noise, vandalism, violence, sexual assault, etc. Any effort to induce or force a student to drink against his/her expressed desire will be treated as a serious offense of the Code of Student Conduct.
Students should be aware that a pattern of violations often indicates a need for an assessment for a potential Substance Use Disorder.
Any violation of the alcohol policy or the Code of Student Conduct while consuming alcohol will result in the confiscation of the beverage and disciplinary action.
Such actions may include but are not limited to: revocation of the privilege of having alcohol in the room, monetary fines, removal of the individual from university housing or suspension from the University.
For off campus events sponsored by a student organization, where alcohol is served, tickets to the event may be sold on campus only if: a) the price of the ticket does not include alcohol, and b) alcohol is sold separately at the event. The University does not prohibit such off-campus events, but it should be understood that the University neither sponsors nor approves of such events.
Serving Alcohol on Campus
The consumption, sale or use of alcoholic beverages is generally prohibited on campus. However, under certain conditions, alcoholic beverages may be served at campus events. Use of alcohol at events on campus must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. All alcohol must be purchased and served under the auspices and policies of the foodservice contractor at TCU. Approval will be granted if:
- Participation at the event is primarily for those who meet the legal drinking age standard
- Arrangements are made to serve appropriate alternative beverages
- Arrangements are made to serve appropriate food at the event
- A process to prevent serving underage drinkers is in place
No TCU student organization may sponsor any on-campus event that involves the use of alcohol.
Serving Alcohol off Campus
The University prohibits the use or possession of alcoholic beverages in instructional settings, including those remote to the campus. There may arise occasions when a faculty/staff member may wish to have alcohol served at certain functions off-campus. Examples include events commemorating the completion of an academic or general university program. It is expected that participants will be of legal age for consumption, as determined by U.S. law. Prior approval must be received from the Vice- Chancellor under whose auspices the program occurs. Except in those cases approved by the Vice-Chancellor, social activities with alcohol that involve both students and faculty that are sponsored or paid by the university or a university employee are prohibited.
Alcohol at Athletic Events
Persons of legal drinking age may consume alcohol purchased through an official vendor inside athletic venues. The consumption of alcohol is permissible for persons of legal drinking age in parking lots used for patrons of TCU athletic events from five hours before and one- and one-half hours after TCU home games, unless otherwise noted. Patrons may not bring alcohol into any athletic facility at any time.
Kegs and other common sources used for alcoholic beverages are not permitted anywhere on campus. Beer bongs and other drinking paraphernalia fall under this same policy.
Any individual(s) who brings a keg or similar prohibited container to the campus is subject to a $500 fine, removal of the person from all university housing, and appropriate conduct action. In rare instances, students may be allowed to have root beer kegs for on-campus programming, if they are approved by a university staff member.
Any organization that allows a keg or other common source of alcohol on campus property is subject to a $1000 fine. If a second violation occurs, a $1500 fine will be billed and the organization that permits the serving of or serves alcoholic beverages in University facilities is subject to the same penalty as for a keg.
Alcohol in University Housing
The alcohol policy in university housing and fraternity and sorority facilities at Texas Christian University is designed to support the University, city, state, and federal laws as well as to create a safe environment conducive to learning appropriate and healthy attitudes and behaviors regarding the use of alcohol in our society.
- In university housing and fraternity and sorority chapter facilities: residents of legal age (21 years) and over may possess and consume alcoholic beverages in their rooms/apartments and in the rooms/apartments where all students are 21 years of age or older. The consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages in open containers is prohibited in hallways, stairways, elevators, lobbies, lounges, recreation areas, rest rooms, and all other areas of university housing (see Code of Student Conduct section, Alcohol).
- If the residents of a student room/apartment are not of legal drinking age (21 years), no alcohol is allowed in residence at any time nor may their guests (even if they are of legal drinking age) may bring alcoholic beverages into the residence. If a student is under 21 years and in a room/apartment where alcohol is present, all students present (regardless of age) will be documented.
- If one or more resident is of legal drinking age and one or more is not, the resident of legal age may possess and consume alcohol in his/her room/apartment. If anyone other than the residents of said room/apartment enters the residence, all alcohol consumption must cease and containers must be stored out of plain view (even if guest(s) are 21).
- No student of legal drinking age is allowed to purchase or in any way provide alcohol for an underage student.
- Individual and organizational violations will accumulate for the entirety of one’s TCU career.
- Any violation in university housing may subject the student to the sanctions set forth in the Code of Student Conduct section 3.2.11 Alcohol.
- Any violation of the alcohol policy in fraternity or sorority chapter facilities that is determined to be organizational rather than individual will be referred to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. If alcohol or evidence of alcohol consumption is found in the common areas leased by an organization (i.e. chapter room, kitchen, study room) the organization is subject to a fine of $500, 100 hours of community service, and completion of an alcohol education program. Organizational violations by non-fraternity/sorority organizations will be referred to the judicial board of the Student Organizations Committee for appropriate action.
Students must carry student IDs at all times and should present them upon request of a university staff member (including Resident Assistants, Hall Directors, and TCU Police).
Any violation of the alcohol policy will subject the student to the following minimum conduct outcomes:
- The student will be required to permanently dispose of all the alcohol and containers in his/her possession or it will be confiscated and disposed of by a university staff member.
- A $75 fine will be charged to the student. The charge will read as an “alcohol policy violation” on the student’s bill from the University.
- The student must complete a sanctioned online educational program and discuss the results with either a Hall Director or Substance Use and Recovery Services (SURS) staff member.
- The student will be required to permanently dispose of all the alcohol in his/her possession or it will be confiscated and disposed of by a university staff member.
- A $100 fine will be charged to the student. The charge will read as an “alcohol policy violation” on the student’s bill from the University.
- The student must attend a 2-hour alcohol education workshop designed for persons who have repeated violations and at least 2 educational sessions with staff in the Substance Use and Recovery Services office and comply with any recommendations made by Substance Use and Recovery staff members.
- A letter will be sent to the student, and to the student’s parents or guardians, with a copy going to his/her file in the Dean of Students Office citing the student’s alcohol violation and the consequences for further violations.
- The student will be required to permanently dispose of all the alcohol in his/her possession or it will be confiscated and disposed of by a university staff member.
- A $150 fine will be charged to the student. The charge will read as an “alcohol policy violation” on the student’s bill from the University.
- The student will complete at least 2 meetings with staff in the Substance Use and Recovery Services office and follow any recommendations made. This may include being referred to a licensed mental health provider, on or off-campus, to obtain an assessment and further recommendation(s) for treatment if needed.
- The student will be referred to the Dean of Students Office and placed on University conduct probation. University housing students may be subject to removal from the residential living program at TCU for a minimum of one semester.
- A letter will be sent to the student, and to the student’s parents or guardians, with a copy going to his/her file in the Dean of Students’ Office citing the student’s alcohol violation and the consequences for further violations.
In all offenses, depending upon the surrounding circumstances, additional conduct outcomes may be levied.
Drug Abuse Policy and Penalties
The University considers drug use to be a serious concern. As such, Students enrolled in Texas Christian University are subject to disciplinary action for the possession, manufacture, use, sale or distribution (by either sale or gift) of any quantity of any prescription drug or controlled substance or for being under the influence of any prescription drug or controlled substance, except for the use of an over-the-counter medication or for the prescribed use of medication in accordance with the instructions of a licensed physician. Controlled substances including but not limited to: cannabis, K2 and other synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic stimulants (such as bath salts), cocaine, cocaine derivatives, heroin, amphetamines, methamphetamines, barbiturates, steroids, LSD, GHB, Adderall, Rohypnol, and substances typically known as “designer drugs” such as ecstasy or molly. Possession of paraphernalia associated with the use, possession or manufacture of a prescription drug or controlled substance is also prohibited (see Code of Student Conduct section, 3.2.10 Drugs). Students having prohibited substances in their residence and students in the presence of these substances or paraphernalia may be subject to the same penalties as those in possession.
There are some instances where a student may be asked or required to submit to a drug screen examination.
The minimum penalty for a first-time non-incident-based positive drug screen will be a referral to the Substance Use and Recovery Services office, or for an assessment with a substance use treatment program and disciplinary action at the discretion of the Dean of Students. A letter may be sent to the parents or guardians of any student who had a positive drug screen.
The minimum penalty for a first-time violation of the Drug Policy for use or possession of a non-prescribed prescription drug or controlled substance may be:
- Conduct probation for a full year
- Completion of a sanctioned drug education program
- Meet with and follow the recommendations of staff in the Substance Use and Recovery Services office
- 30 hours of community service
- The student will be subject to random drug-testing for a full year
- The student may be evicted from university housing, especially if the use or possession happened in a University-owned facility or at a University-sponsored event.
- The parents or guardians of any student found in violation of the drug policy may be contacted regarding the violation.
- Follow up meetings the Dean of Students office.
- Amount and type(s) of substance(s) found will be taken into consideration when making outcome decisions.
Any student who violates the Drug Policy for use or possession of a prescription drug or controlled substance for a second time or has an additional positive drug screen may be suspended from the University for at least one year. Readmission to the University will occur only after the suspended student provides proof of drug counseling and/or treatment from a licensed counselor or certified treatment program.
Possession of drug paraphernalia, including but not limited to “bongs,” pipes, hookahs and/or other devices that may be used to facilitate consumption of drugs, may subject a student to the same penalties as those imposed for use and possession of a prescription drug or controlled substance.
The penalty for a violation of the Drug Policy for sale, distribution, or manufacture of a prescription drug or controlled substance may be permanent expulsion from the University.
The University recognizes that in an alcohol or other drug-related emergency, the potential for disciplinary action by the University may act as a barrier to students seeking medical assistance for themselves or others. To reduce the harmful, potentially deadly, consequences of alcohol and drug overdose, the University has a Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan policy that seeks to ensure that students concerned about those around them will call for medical assistance when faced with an alcohol or drug-related emergency.
Medical Amnesty exempts students from formal University discipline (alcohol violations, fines, etc.) for those receiving emergency medical attention as well as for the individual(s) who contact TCU staff for assistance (Good Samaritan). To obtain Medical Amnesty, the altered student must have received emergency medical attention and followed the advice of the emergency responder. In addition, both the altered student and Good Samaritan student may be required to participate in follow-up meetings with the Substance Use and Recovery Services office and/or the Counseling Center, University Housing and Residence Life or Fraternity and Sorority Life staff, and the Dean of Student’s Office, and comply with recommendations that these offices might prescribe. The Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan policy applies only to cases of alcohol or other drug-related emergencies except as provided in the Immunity for Sexual Assault Reporting Policy. The Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan policy does not excuse co-occurring Code of Student Conduct infractions except as provided in the Immunity for Sexual Assault Reporting Policy.
If an individual receives emergency medical assistance on more than one occasion due to excessive use of alcohol or other drugs, the situation will be evaluated by the Dean of Campus Life (or designee) who may recommend additional resources or conduct outcomes.
As of August 1, 2017, TCU prohibits the use of all Tobacco products and smoking on property owned by TCU. The possession of all tobacco products and electronic delivery devices [e-cigs, vapes, JUULs, e-hookahs, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)], is prohibited in residence halls, regardless of the age of the owner. Persons wishing to use tobacco as part of an established religious ceremony, academic, or research activity may contact the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to request an exemption for those activities. Failure to comply with or violations of this policy are handled in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures; which may include disciplinary actions.
The full policy may be found at this website: TCU Tobacco Policy
A student who voluntarily seeks help for drug or alcohol use is not subject to disciplinary action; in fact, University officials will do everything they can to assist the student in obtaining appropriate treatment. If the student continues to use substances despite requests for and access to treatment, then he/she does become subject to disciplinary action.
In addition to sanctions imposed by the University for violating the Alcohol Use Policy and the Drug Policy, a student may be subject to regulations of civil authorities. Various local, state and federal regulations prohibit the illegal use, possession and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. Penalties for violation of such statutes vary depending on the type of drug, the amount of the drug involved, the type of violation, and in the case of alcohol, the age of the person involved.
The Substance Use and Recovery Services office at TCU is based on a philosophy of student development that incorporates personal and community wellness. The mission of the program is to enhance students’ overall academic experiences and personal development through the promotion of responsible decision making and healthy lifestyle choices, especially regarding alcohol and other drugs. This office encourages students to develop a sense of responsibility for themselves, for others, and for the university by assuming leadership in setting behavioral norms for the campus community members, both on and off campus. Appropriate bystander behavior is expected.
The staff in the Substance Use and Recovery Services office provide educational screenings and consultations for individuals and groups, as well as assessments and referrals to treatment. Support and advocacy for recovery is provided through the Collegiate Recovery Community. The Substance Use and Recovery Services office houses professional Student Affairs staff who offer expertise in prevention programming and training, substance use and recovery counseling, and referrals to treatment. Programs designed for academic classes, university housing, and other student groups include, but are not limited to: Alcohol & Other Drug Jeopardy, Women and Alcohol, Men and Alcohol, Substance Use Disorder in College, and Recovery Ally Training. Programs are individually designed to meet the specific needs of the group or organization requesting the presentation.
Anyone interested in services available through the Substance Use and Recovery Services office is encouraged to visit the office (Jarvis Hall, 2nd Floor) or to call 817-257-7100.
Health Risks Associated with Substance Use
The use of alcohol and other substances has been shown to cause serious health problems including:
- Frequent or heavy use of alcoholic beverages can result in brain damage, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer of the liver, cancer of the mouth, throat and pancreas; stomach ulcers; heart damage; lowered sex hormone production; and lowered immunity to infections and disease.
- Alcohol use by pregnant women can also cause birth defects, lowered birth weight and/or mental retardation in children.
- Use of alcohol is involved in half of all traffic-related deaths and permanent disabilities.
- Alcohol Use Disorder can lead to family dysfunction and violence. Persons with Alcohol Use Disorder are six or more times as likely to die by suicide than those without an Alcohol Use Disorder.
- Alcohol remains the most commonly used chemical in crimes of sexual assault.
- The use of illegal drugs, including but not limited to cannabis, cocaine, heroin, crack, amphetamines, psychedelics and so called “designer drugs” has been shown to result in physical and mental disorders.
- Lung damage (including lung cancer), lowered immunity to disease, memory loss, depression, flashbacks, lowered production of sex hormones, birth defects, low birth weight infants and severe psychological disorders may result from the use of drugs.
- These drugs are highly addictive, both physically and psychologically. The body builds a tolerance to such drugs so that larger and more frequent doses are required to satisfy the need for the drug.