CMU outlines drug and alcohol policies

Credit: Anne-Sophie Kim/ Credit: Anne-Sophie Kim/

Carnegie Mellon released its annual drug and alcohol brochure, which highlighted the school’s policies regarding drug and alcohol use, last Monday.

In a foreword in the brochure, President Subra Suresh wrote, “While the university maintains strict policies regarding the illegal use of alcohol and drugs, we also offer help for any individual who is experiencing substance use difficulties.”

According to the Fire and Safety Report released earlier in the semester, 42 liquor law arrests, 17 disciplinary actions with respect to liquor laws, and 10 drug law arrests occurred at Carnegie Mellon last year.

Dean of Student Affairs Gina Casalegno emphasized that alcohol is allowed for students of legal drinking age in dormitory rooms; however, it is prohibited in all exclusively first-year student dorms. The only upperclassmen alcohol-free residence is Henderson House, which belongs to a wellness community. “If a staff member or police officer is concerned about activity in a private room, they have the right to approach the student’s room and address any behavior that might be disturbing the community or violating university policy. It is up to a student to allow entry to his or her room with the exception of life safety concerns, which positions us to enter a room to respond.”

The university maintains its strict policy prohibiting illegal substances on campus.

Casalegno said, “Any allegation that university policy is violated is taken seriously and thoughtfully handled through our community standards process. Illicit drug use introduces an element of risk to the safety and welfare of the university community, and will be dealt with accordingly. In all our efforts to respond to reports of drug or alcohol use, education about the individual ... are of paramount importance in our process.”

The amnesty policy allowing students with intoxicated peers to seek help will continue to be in effect. The amnesty policy was first implemented at Carnegie Mellon in the late 1990s when incidents of intoxication requiring medical attention became more prevalent.

“It is not the university’s prerogative to assert the amnesty procedure off campus in jurisdictions where we do not have police authority. I think high-risk drinking poses a risk to students, and urge students, regardless of where they are, to seek help for themselves or their peers whenever someone exhibits signs of alcohol intoxication that warrants medical attention,” Casalegno said.