Alcohol and Drug Policies

Document Number: STUD--135
Revision #: 3.0
Document Owner: VP of Facilities and Infrastructure
Date Last Updated: 01/15/2021
Primary Author: Dean of Students
Status: Approved
Date Originally Created: 11/15/2011
General Description

Unauthorized possession, use, consumption, transportation, or distribution of drugs and alcohol BY ANY STUDENT on University property or at off-campus, University-sanctioned functions is strictly prohibited. No student shall be in an intoxicated condition at any time on campus, as made evident by boisterousness, rowdiness, obscene or indecent conduct or appearance, or by vulgar, profane, lewd, or unbecoming language. Violation of this policy will result in student misconduct sanctions and/or may result in arrest by an appropriate law enforcement agency.

Delineation of policy. Also see RIGHTTOKNOW-107, RIGHTTOKNOW-111, and STUD-118.


Dean of Students
VP of Facilities and Infrastructure
Residence Life
Student Life

Policy Provisions

1. Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco, Smoking Hemp, and Vapor Product Policies

Unauthorized possession, use, consumption, transportation, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by BY ANY STUDENT on University property or at off-campus, University-sanctioned functions is strictly prohibited. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at any time in any University facility without explicit prior written permission of the President of the University. No student shall be in an intoxicated condition at any time on campus, as made evident by boisterousness, rowdiness, obscene or indecent conduct or appearance, or by vulgar, profane, lewd, or unbecoming language. Violation of this policy will result in student misconduct sanctions and/or may result in arrest by an appropriate law enforcement agency. The possession, use (without valid medical or dental prescription), manufacture, furnishing, or sale of any narcotic or dangerous drug controlled by Federal or Tennessee law is prohibited. Violation of the drug policy may lead to immediate suspension from the University and/or arrest by the civil authorities.
Under Tennessee law it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to buy, possess, transport (unless in the course of their employment), or consume alcoholic beverages, including wine or beer. It is also unlawful for any adult to buy alcoholic beverages for or furnish them for any purpose to anyone less than 21 years of age. These offenses are Class A Misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for not more than eleven months and twenty-nine days, or a fine of not more than $2,500, or both. (T.C.A. § 1-3-113, 39-15-404, 57-5-301.) The offense of public intoxication is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than thirty days or a fine of not more than $50, or both. (T.C.A. § 39-17-310.) Under Tennessee law, the offense of possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance (such as marijuana) is punishable as a Class A Misdemeanor (eleven months twenty-nine days and/or a fine of $2,500). For the third and subsequent offense of possession of 1/2 oz. or less of marijuana, punishment is one to six years of imprisonment and a $3,000 fine. If there is an exchange from a person over 21 years of age to a person under 21, and the older person is at least two years older than the younger, and the older person knows that the younger is under 21 years of age, then the offense is classified as a felony. (T.C.A. § 39-17-417, 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq.; T.C.A. § 39-17-417.) Possession of more than 1/2 oz. of marijuana under circumstances where intent to resell may be implicit is punishable by one to six years of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for the first offense.

(a) It is unlawful for a person who has not attained twenty-one (21) years of age to possess either a tobacco, smoking hemp, or vapor product, to purchase or accept receipt of either product, or to present or offer to any person any purported proof of age that is false, fraudulent, or not actually that person's own for the purpose of purchasing or receiving any tobacco, smoking hemp, or vapor product.(b) Any person who violates this section may be issued a citation by a law enforcement officer who has evidence of the violation. Regardless of whether a citation is issued, the product shall be seized as contraband by the law enforcement officer.(c) A violation of this section is a civil offense, for which the general sessions or juvenile court may, in its discretion, impose a civil penalty of not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than fifty dollars ($50.00), which may be charged against a person who is at least eighteen (18) years of age but less than twenty-one (21) years of age, or, in the case of a minor, against a parent, guardian, or custodian. The general sessions or juvenile court may, in its discretion, also impose community service work not to exceed fifty (50) hours or successful completion of a prescribed court program for a second or subsequent violation within a one-year period.


Tenn. Code § 39-17-1505


A. It is the policy of Cumberland University, pursuant to the “Drug-free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (20 USC I 145g) (34 CFR 86)” to maintain a drug-free campus and work environment. It shall be unlawful to manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, sell or use a controlled substance at Cumberland University or any of its facilities. Controlled substances, as cited in 21 USCA 812, would include drugs such as opium, opium derivatives, and hallucinogens (like marijuana, mescaline, peyote, LSD, Psilocybin, cocaine, amphetamines, codeine, heroin, or morphine). Controlled substance abuse does not include prescribed use of lawfully prescribed drugs which are being taken under the supervision of a provider licensed to prescribe controlled substances. Students may not possess alcohol or drug paraphernalia on campus, such as (but not limited to) empty alcohol containers, any type of bong, hashish pipes or hookas, smoking masks, cocaine freebase kits, or roach clips.

B. Students are encouraged to seek counseling and treatment for substance abuse problems when they exist. The University will report any apparent unlawful use of a controlled substance on University property to the appropriate authorities. FURTHERMORE, the University will not tolerate the presence of students who are under the influence of a controlled substance. Any observer is responsible for informing University personnel promptly of any apparent violation of this policy (444-2562, ext. 1234). University personnel will refer the matter to authorities and/or professional counselors for evaluation, as deemed appropriate, and will inform the Dean of Students of action taken. All monetary charges related to professional counseling are the responsibility of the student. Students assigned to counseling must produce proof of their status as a student of the University in good financial standing.

C. Students are required to notify the Dean of Students of any drug conviction within five days after their conviction in writing. Conviction includes a finding of guilt, a plea of nolo contendere or imposition of a sentence by any local, state or federal court. Failure of the student to so notify Cumberland University of a drug conviction with five days after the conviction may result in suspension of the student from the University. Upon entering the rehabilitation program, the student shall sign a written release allowing the program to communicate with the university regarding the student’s participation and progress in the program.

D. Students convicted for personal use or possession of a controlled substance or possession of a controlled substance will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension. Students who are disciplined by means of suspension or other action will be required to successfully complete a certified rehabilitation program (at the expense of the student). Application to a certified rehabilitation program must be made within 30 days of the date that disciplinary action was taken. A letter from the certified rehabilitation program, stating the date of entry into the program and the date of completion of the program, must be filed with the Dean of Students as a condition precedent to the student’s eligibility to return to the University. Failure to make application to a certified rehabilitation program within 30 days or failure to complete the program will result in suspension from the University.

E. Students must, as a condition of enrollment, abide by terms of the above policy.

1.1 Effects of alcohol abuse

  • Acute: Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Accidents are the leading cause of death among individuals aged fifteen to twenty-four years. Most are related to drinking and driving. Poor decisions and aggressive acts such as sexual assault are almost always associated with alcohol use. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.
  • Chronic: Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver. Some studies suggest that brain cells are actually permanently lost (killed) by high levels of alcohol. Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.

1.2 Effects of other drugs

  • Marijuana: Marijuana and related compounds are usually used for their "relaxation" effects or to produce an altered sense of reality-a "high." Marijuana is usually smoked, and like tobacco, it is very toxic to the lungs. Disorders of memory (loss) and of mood often occur in chronic users.
  • Cocaine (stimulant). Cocaine, crack, and related forms are usually used for stimulation and to produce a sense of euphoria. All forms of cocaine are highly addictive, producing a habit that is extremely difficult to stop. In some individuals, cocaine may produce fatal cardiac rhythm disturbances.
  • Amphetamines (stimulants): Amphetamines, and their new derivatives "crystal," "ice," and Ecstasy, are used for stimulation. These compounds are very addictive and may produce psychotic and violent behaviors.
  • LSD & PCP (hallucinogens): These chemicals are used to produce "altered states" to escape reality. They are very dangerous and can cause psychosis.
  • Valium, Barbiturates, etc. (depressants): These and other prescription drugs of this type are usually used for their sedative or hypnotic effects. Some of these drugs are highly addictive, and others can cause seizures (convulsions) in individuals who take them over long periods of time. These drugs can be fatal if mixed with alcohol or other depressants.
  • Heroin, Codeine, etc. (narcotics): These are some of the most addictive substances known. They produce a high or euphoria. Withdrawal can produce convulsions or even coma. Overdose is common and can result in death. Needle-drug users are in a high-risk group for infection with human immunodeficiency virus, thought to be the cause of AIDS.
  • Other: Many medications and drugs have the potential for abuse. If you have concerns or questions, ask for professional advice.

1.3 Warning signs of possible substance abuse

•Withdrawal from social situations
•Increased boredom or drowsiness
•Change in personal appearance (increasingly unkempt or sloppy)
•Change in friends
•Easily discouraged; defeatist attitude
•Low frustration tolerance (outbursts)
•Violent behavior and vandalism
•Terse replies to questions or conversation
•Sad or forlorn expression
•Poor classroom attendance
•Dropping grades or poor work
•Apathy or loss of interest or death.

1.4 Frequently asked questions

What does the term “Drug” mean?
The term “drug” can be used to describe a wide variety of substances, including alcohol. Unlawful substances are defined in 21 USCA § 812, and noted in section “A” above.
Does the term “controlled substance” refer to prescribed medication?
No. Drugs which are prescribed and taken as required do not constitute controlled substances. The definition does not include lawfully prescribed drugs which are taken while under the care of a person licensed to dispense prescription drugs. A listing of prohibited drugs is found in USCA 21, Section 812 of federal regulations.
What are some of the dangers associated with drug abuse?

There are many dangers associated with drug abuse. Drug dependence can lead to both physical and mental problems. Drug abuse creates a physical trauma for the user. The body develops a tolerance to the drug, and for this reason larger and larger amounts of the drug are required to satisfy the need for the individual. Examples of the problems arising from drug usage are as follows: lack of motivation, emotional discontentment, emotional dependence, depression, paranoia, convulsions, high blood pressure, physical dependence, heart disease, and death.

See the CU Counseling Center for help or see the following list of local help centers:

Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital
1411 West Baddour Parkway
Lebanon, TN 37087

Cumberland Heights
8283 River Road Pike
Nashville, TN 37209

Cumberland Mental Health
133 Indian Lake Road
Hendersonville, TN 37075


Subject Experts

The following may be consulted for additional information.

Dean of Students

VP of Facilities and Infrastructure