Alcohol and Other Drugs

Approved by: Office of Student Affairs

History:  Updated August 2020                                          

Related Policies:  Complaints and Grievances 

Related Forms, Procedures and References: 

For Questions Contact:  Housing Website | Housing Office | 651.690.6778 |

Index:  Standards of Conduct | Alcohol in the Residence Halls | Alcohol Use at Campus Events | Disciplinary Sanctions | Applicable Laws | Alcohol and Drug Use & Abuse

St. Catherine University is committed to promoting healthy, safe, and responsible behaviors in a welcoming and inclusive campus community. St. Catherine University is committed to empowering all members of the university community to inform themselves about the impact that use of alcohol and illegal drugs has on both individuals and the community.

St. Catherine recognizes that alcohol and drug use can create health, safety, social, and legal problems. St. Catherine therefore is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy work and educational environment, free from the unlawful use of alcohol and drugs. St. Catherine also is committed to complying with the requirements of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (DFWA) and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 (DFSCA).

The DFSCA requires St. Catherine, as an institution of higher education, to certify that it has adopted and implemented a drug and alcohol policy as a condition of receiving federal funds. This policy, which will be made available to each student and employee, contains the following information:

  • standards of conduct that clearly prohibit the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs by students and employees on St. Catherine property or as part of any of St. Catherine activities;
  • a clear statement of the disciplinary sanctions that St. Catherine will impose on students and employees who violate these standards of conduct;
  • a description of the applicable local, state, and federal legal sanctions pertaining to the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol;
  • a description of health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the use of alcohol; and
  • a description of available drug and alcohol counseling and treatment resources.

This policy also contains requirements for complying with the DFWA. St. Catherine will conduct a biennial review of its alcohol and drug program to determine its effectiveness, implement needed changes and ensure that disciplinary sanctions are consistently enforced.

Guiding Principles

It is illegal in Minnesota for persons under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol. The unlawful or unauthorized possession, use, consumption, sale, or distribution of alcohol and/or illicit drugs by St. Catherine students and employees on St. Catherine property or as a part of St. Catherine activities is strictly prohibited. This policy applies to all full-time and part-time students and all full-time and part-time employees, including faculty, administration, exempt and nonexempt staff, union employees, contractors, and any student employees and interns.

Alcohol in the Residence Halls

In addition to the University-wide policies and procedures, the following guidelines protect the rights of all campus residents and promote responsible use of alcohol in campuses residences:

  • Possession, consumption, distribution, and/or being in the presence of alcohol under the age of 21 is prohibited.
  • Alcohol is not allowed in corridors or other public areas of the residence halls.  This includes on the grounds or in parking lots.
  • Alcohol containers, empty or not, are not allowed as decorations in rooms.
  • Possessing, providing, or serving large quantities or “common source” quantities of alcohol (e.g. kegs, party balls, beer bongs, punch bowls, boxes of wine, etc…), or creating or participating in drinking games is not permitted in the residence halls or apartment complexes.
  • Alcohol may not be stored or displayed in areas accessible to those under the age of 21.  This includes suite and apartment living rooms and kitchens where minors share this space.
  • Residents will be held accountable for the behavior of their guests in relation to their use of alcohol. Guests will be escorted out of the building if they fail to comply with the alcohol policy or if their behavior infringes on the rights of other students. 
  • Residents will be held accountable for underage alcohol possession and/or consumption in their room, suite or apartment.  In cases where people under the age of 21 are present while alcohol is in plain sight or being consumed, the conduct hearing officer will assume those underage were consuming alcohol.
  • Residents of legal age must keep the doors to their rooms closed at all times while using alcohol.
  • Residents who are of age may be charged with an alcohol violation if their behavior (or guests’ behavior) of concern in relation to the consumption of alcohol negatively impacts the safety, learning environment, or general comfort of the community.

  1. An Alcohol Request Form must be completed for all events where alcohol will be served. This form must be completed and returned at least 10 days prior to the event. Forms are available in the Student Affairs office.
  2. Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed in public areas, even on an individual basis, without prior registration of the event at which alcohol is being consumed. Public areas include lounges and hallways in residence halls and campus apartments, the cafeteria, the grill area, athletic fields and facilities, and all other academic and administrative buildings. Alcoholic beverages at out-of-doors programmed events will only be permitted at locations approved by the dean of students or their designate.
  3. The event must have a directed purpose other than the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  4. Programmed events at which alcoholic beverages will be served must have an approved theme to be used in advertising.
  5. A license from the city of St. Paul or the city of Minneapolis must be obtained for any event at which alcoholic beverages are sold or at which there is an admission charge and alcohol is being served (free or for a cost).
  6. Individuals sponsoring an event must implement procedures to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not accessible or served to persons under the legal drinking age or to people who appear intoxicated.
  7. All alcoholic beverages must be served. All servers (faculty, staff and students) must be of legal drinking age.
  8. The amount and type of alcohol at student-sponsored events must be approved by the appropriate Student Affairs staff member. The amount and type of alcohol at faculty/ staff-sponsored events will be monitored by the director of University Events.
  9. Nonalcoholic beverages and food must be provided whenever alcoholic beverages are being served. If the supply of nonalcoholic beverages or food runs out, the serving of alcoholic beverages will terminate. At all events the serving of alcoholic beverages must be terminated one-half hour before the event is scheduled to end.
  10. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) must be contacted at least two weeks prior to any student campus event where alcohol is to be served. If DPS determines that security officers (or off-duty police officers) need to be present at the event, the sponsors of the event will be responsible for those expenses.
  11. Bring-your-own-bottle events or events that include any form of drinking contest in their activities or promotion are not allowed.
  12. Any student event that is open to the campus community and/or the public must have a faculty or staff adviser present. Closed functions with alcohol must have a faculty or staff adviser present unless authorized by the dean of students.
  13. Members of the St. Catherine community are legally and ethically responsible for the actions of their guests relating to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. This includes ensuring that guests abide by St. Catherine policies and accepting responsibility for guests' actions and behavior, whether the guest is attending a registered event or visiting a residence hall or campus apartment.
Violations of the Alcohol Policy at Events

Violations of this policy at events sponsored by university groups or contracted groups may result in one or more of the following:

  • People at the event may be asked to leave the event
  • The event sponsor may be asked to correct the infraction
  • The serving of alcohol may be terminated
  • The event may be terminated

Both the individuals involved and the sponsoring group will be held accountable. Student violations of this policy will be referred through the Student Code of Conduct process. Employee violations of this policy will be referred to the immediate supervisor and the director of human resources.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Students who violate this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include, but is not limited to: a reprimand or warning, disciplinary probation, suspension, expulsion and/or referral to the proper law enforcement authorities for prosecution. Employees who violate this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include, but is not limited to: counseling, mandatory participation in an appropriate rehabilitation program, a warning, probation, suspension, discharge, and/or referral to the proper law enforcement authorities for prosecution.

Applicable Laws


The following is a brief overview of local, state and federal laws governing the possession, use and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive statement of various laws, but rather is designed to indicate types of conduct that are against the law and the range of legal sanctions that can be imposed for such conduct.

Examples include the following:

  • Selling illicit drugs is a criminal offense punishable by a fine or imprisonment, depending on the specific offense and factors such as prior convictions for similar offenses.
  • Driving while intoxicated is against the law and can result in driver's license revocation or even imprisonment in some cases.
  • Under Minnesota law, an individual under the age of 21 can be arrested and put in jail for purchasing or consuming alcohol.

Alcohol Laws

Local Laws

The city of St. Paul, like many other cities, have an ordinance prohibiting the consumption of, or possession of an open container containing an alcoholic beverage in any public place or on private property without the owner’s permission. In accordance with the ordinance, permission to possess or consume alcohol at any St. Catherine event must be specifically requested and granted in writing by an authorized official of the university. (See the Procedures for Alcohol Use at Events Sponsored by University Groups section contained in this policy.)

State Laws

Minnesota state law provides that it is a misdemeanor if a person under the age of 21 consumes alcohol, attempts to purchase alcohol, possesses alcohol with intent to consume it, enters a licensed establishment or municipal liquor store for the purpose of purchasing or being served alcohol or misrepresents her or his age. Misdemeanors are punishable by imprisonment for up to 90 days and/or a $700 fine. It is a gross misdemeanor to give or sell alcohol to a person under the age of 21 or to procure alcohol for an obviously intoxicated person. It also is a gross misdemeanor (punishable by imprisonment for up to 90 days and/or a $3,000 fine) to induce a person under the age of 21 to purchase alcohol or to knowingly permit a person under 21 to use one’s driver’s license or other identification for the purpose of procuring alcohol. Finally, selling alcohol to a person under the age of 21 who becomes intoxicated and causes death or serious bodily harm to herself/himself or another is a felony, punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year and/or a fine in excess of $3,000.

If an individual in Minnesota drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, possible sentences include revocation of driving privileges, fines, imprisonment and participation in rehabilitation programs. If a person drives under the influence of alcohol and death or injury results, the intoxicated driver can be convicted of murder, manslaughter or battery.

Social Host Liability Act of 2000 (Minn. Stat. section 340A.90).

The statute states that should a situation arise where someone is injured or even killed because of a minor who had been served alcohol, victims and their families have a course for legal action against hosts, over the age of 21, who:

had control over the premises and, being in a reasonable position to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages by that person, knowingly and recklessly permitted that consumption and the consumption caused the intoxication of that person; or
sold, bartered, furnished or gave to, or purchased for a person under the age of 21 years alcoholic beverages that caused the intoxication of that person.

Drug Laws

State Laws

Minnesota law covers a wide range of drug offenses, including the sale or possession of various types of drugs. Penalties are harsher for sale than possession. Following is a non-exhaustive example list of the penalties that can result from the unlawful sale or possession of certain drugs:


For a first offense, penalties range from up to 15 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine, to up to 30 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine. For a second offense, the penalties range from one to 30 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, to four to 40 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine.


For a first offense, penalties range from a $200 fine and participation in a drug education program to up to 30 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine. For a second offense, penalties range from up to 90 days in prison and/or a $700 fine, to four to 40 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine

Narcotic Drugs:

For a first offense, penalties range from up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, to up to 30 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine. For a second offense, penalties range from six months to 30 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, to four to 40 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine..

Federal Laws

In addition to state laws, federal laws prohibit the manufacture, distribution, possession with intent to manufacture or distribute, and simple possession of certain drugs. The law sets the following sentences for first-time offenders:

  • A minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment and/or a $4 million fine for the knowing or intentional manufacture, sale or possession with intent to sell, of large amounts of any narcotic, including heroin, morphine or cocaine (which includes crack), or of phencyclidine (PCP) or of LSD, or of marijuana (1,000 kg or more);
  • Five to 40 years in prison and/or a $2 million fine for similar actions involving smaller amounts of any narcotic (including heroin or morphine), cocaine (which includes crack), PCP or LSD, or marijuana (100 kg or more);
  • A maximum of five years and/or a $250,000 fine for similar actions involving smaller amounts of marijuana (less than 50 kg), hashish, hashish oil, PCP or LSD, or any amounts of amphetamines, barbiturates and other controlled stimulants and depressants;
  • Four years in prison or a $30,000 fine (or both) for using the mail, telephone, radio or other public or private means of communication to commit acts that violate the laws against the manufacture, sale and possession of drugs;
  • One year or a $1,000 fine (or both) for possession of any controlled substance. (The gift of a small amount of marijuana is subject to the penalties for simple possession.) Penalties may be doubled, however, when a person at least 18 years old: (1) distributes a controlled substance to a person under 21 years of age (A term of imprisonment for this offense shall not be less than one year); or (2) distributes, possesses with the intent to distribute, or manufactures a controlled substance in or on, or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, or a public or private university. Any attempt or conspiracy to commit one of the above federal offenses, even if unsuccessful, is punishable by the same sentence as for that offense. In addition, persons convicted of possession or distribution of controlled substances may be ineligible for federal benefits for up to one year (in the case of conviction for possession) or up to five years (in the case of conviction for distribution). "Federal benefits" include grants, contracts and loans.

Health Risks

Drugs and alcohol are toxic to the human body and, if abused, can have catastrophic health consequences. Some drugs, such as crack, are so toxic that even one experimental use can be fatal. The following is a summary of the various health risks associated with alcohol abuse and the use of specific types of drugs. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete statement of all the possible health consequences of substance abuse.

Alcohol and Drug Use and Abuse

Alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug in the United States. Alcohol consumption has acute effects on the body and 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. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts including risk-taking behavior. 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 can be fatal.

Use of Illicit Drugs

Drugs interfere with the brain’s ability to take in, sort and synthesize information. They distort perception, which can lead users to harm themselves or others. Drug use also affects sensation and impairs memory. In addition to these general effects, specific health risks associated with particular types of drugs are discussed below.


Cocaine use is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Its immediate effects include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, increased heart and respiratory rate, and elevated body temperature. Injecting cocaine with contaminated equipment can cause AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases. Cocaine can produce psychological and physical dependency, a feeling that the user cannot function without the drug. In addition, tolerance develops rapidly, thus leading to higher and higher doses to produce the desired effect. Crack or freebase rock is a purified form of cocaine that is smoked. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia and seizures. Crack is far more addictive than heroin or barbiturates. Repeated use of crack can lead to addiction within a few days. The effects of crack are felt within 10 seconds. Continued use can produce violent behavior and psychotic states similar to schizophrenia. Cocaine in any form, but particularly in the purified form known as crack, can cause sudden death from cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.


The physical effects of marijuana include a substantial increase in the heart rate, bloodshot eyes, a dry mouth and throat, and increased appetite. It may impair short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time and reduce ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car. Research also shows that motivation and cognition may be altered, making the acquisition of new information difficult. When marijuana contains 2 percent THC, it can cause severe psychological damage, including paranoia and psychosis. Since the early 1980s, most marijuana has contained from 4 to 6 percent THC--two or three times the amount capable of causing serious damage.

Because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and then hold it in their lungs as long as possible, marijuana is damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system. Marijuana smoke contains more cancer-causing agents than tobacco smoke.

Long-term users of marijuana may develop psychological dependence and require more of the drug to get the same effect.


Narcotics such as heroin, codeine and morphine initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. Users also may experience constricted pupils, watery eyes and itching. An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma and possible death.

Amphetamines/other Stimulants Amphetamines (speed uppers), methamphetamine and other stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decreased appetite. In addition, users may experience sweating, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness and anxiety. Extremely high doses can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination and even physical collapse. An amphetamine injection causes a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, very high fever or heart failure. In addition to the physical effects, users report feeling restless, anxious and moody. Higher doses intensify the effects. People who use large amounts of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.

Barbiturates/other Depressants

Barbiturates (downers), methaqualone (quaaludes), tranquilizers (valium) and other depressants have many of the same effects as alcohol. Small amounts can produce calmness and relaxed muscles, but somewhat larger doses can cause slurred speech, staggering and altered perception. Very large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma and death. The combination of depressants and alcohol can multiply the effects of the drugs, thereby multiplying the risks. The use of depressants can cause both physical and psychological dependence. 


Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust) interrupts the functions of the part of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check. Because the drug blocks pain receptors, violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injuries. The effects of PCP are unpredictable and can vary, but users frequently report a sense of distance and estrangement. Large doses may produce convulsions and coma, as well as heart and lung failure.

Lysergic acid (LSD, acid), mescaline and psilocybin (mushrooms) cause illusions and hallucinations. The physical effects may include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness and tremors. Psychological reactions may include panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety and loss of control. Delayed effects or flashbacks can occur even after use has ceased.

Designer drugs

"Designer drugs" are produced by underground chemists who attempt to avoid legal definitions of controlled substances by altering their molecular structure. These drugs can be several times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate. Some of the designer drugs have been known to cause permanent brain damage with a single dose. Many of the so-called designer drugs are related to amphetamines and have mild stimulant properties, but most are euphoriants. They can cause nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating and faintness. Psychological effects include anxiety, depression and paranoia. As little as one dose can cause severe neurochemical brain damage.


The immediate negative effects of inhalants (laughing gas, whippets) include nausea, sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination and loss of appetite. Solvents and aerosol sprays also decrease the heart and respiratory rates and impair judgment. Amyl and butyl nitrite cause rapid pulse, headaches and involuntary passing of urine and feces. Long-term use may result in hepatitis or brain damage. Deeply inhaling the vapors or using large amounts over a short time may result in disorientation, violent behavior, unconsciousness or death. High concentrations of inhalants can cause suffocation by displacing the oxygen in the lungs or by depressing the central nervous system to the point that breathing stops.

Drug and Alcohol Counseling

The Counseling Center (651) 690-6805; and the Health and Wellness Clinic (651) 690-6714 provide professional help and referral for students concerned about alcohol or drug use. Employees may voluntarily request assistance in dealing with drug or alcohol issues. The cost of treatment may be covered by health-insurance benefits. Other locally available sources for assistance and counseling include:

  • United Way 211 Hotline-(612) 291-0211. This 24 hour hotline provides information on counseling agencies, outpatient and inpatient treatment facilities for adolescents and adults, evaluation, referrals and education. You may also text your zip code to 898-211 (M-F 8am-7pm).
  • AA Greater Minneapolis Intergroup-(952) 922-0880. This is a referral number for AA groups in the Twin Cities.
  • Alanon Intergroup-(651) 771-2208. This is a referral number for Alanon groups in the Twin Cities.
  • Tubman Chrysalis-(612) 870-2426. Chrysalis is a center for women that has a chemical dependency relapse treatment program.
  • Hazelden Betty Ford St. Paul Campus-(866) 831-5700. The Hazelden Betty Ford Center is for chemical dependency services.
  • Fairview-University Medical Center- Recovery Services (612) 672-2736. This center has chemical dependency services.
  • CLUES: Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio  651-379-4200.
  • Narcotics Anonymous-(612) 822-9472.Some national hotlines providing service:
  • Cocaine Helpline-(844)-289-0879.The Cocaine Helpline is a 24-hour information and referral service staffed by recovering cocaine-addict counselors.
  • NCADD Information Line-(800) NCA-CALL. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) provides referral services to families and individuals seeking help with an alcohol or other drug problem.
  • NIDA Hotline-(800) 662-HELP. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides a confidential information and referral line that directs callers to cocaine abuse treatment centers in the local community. Free materials on drug use also are distributed upon request.