Maryland law states that:
- It is unlawful for any minor (a person under age 21) to possess or consume alcoholic beverages;
- It is unlawful for any minor to misrepresent or lie about his/her age in order to obtain alcoholic beverages;
- It is unlawful for any person to obtain alcoholic beverages on behalf of a minor;
- It is unlawful for any person to consume alcoholic beverages in an open outside area unless authorized to do so by proper officials;
- A person may not be intoxicated and endanger the safety of another person or property or be intoxicated and cause a public disturbance.
It is the responsibility of all faculty, staff, and students at St. Mary’s College to uphold the conditions of this state law. The unlawful use, possession, or distribution of alcohol on College property or as any part of College activities is prohibited and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion. Please refer to the College’s Medical Amnesty and Good Samaritan policy where certain violations may be granted amnesty. The College also promotes an active, healthy, social life on campus and accommodates groups that request College facilities for events where alcohol is appropriate.
The Office of Public Safety and the VPSA or their designee’ staff is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the following campus alcohol policy:
- No individual (absent an authorized exception under section VI herein), regardless of age, may consume, or be in possession of open alcoholic beverages in public areas on the campus, such as the lounges, hallways of the residence halls, patios of townhouses, athletic fields, and other facilities and grounds.
- No individual, regardless of age, may be intoxicated and cause a disturbance and/or endanger the safety of him/herself, another person, and/or property.
- The sponsors of student events (dances, concerts, etc.) are responsible for keeping the event alcohol-free.
- Individuals or groups sponsoring formal or informal events off-campus are responsible for upholding the Maryland alcohol law.
- Resident students of legal drinking age may possess and consume alcoholic beverages in the privacy of their rooms or townhouses. All alcohol must be kept within the possession of a student of legal drinking age (“of-age”). Students who are 21 years of age or older may not offer or provide alcohol to those who are underage, including roommates, or consume/possess alcohol as a guest in the room of a student who is underage. It is assumed that alcohol possessed by of-age students is for their personal use and for limited distribution to others who are of age to consume alcohol. Students who are of age and who choose to drink alcohol are strongly encouraged to drink responsibly and in moderation. Kegs and other similar multi-liter containers are prohibited.
- No alcoholic beverages will be allowed at any event on campus unless:
- The event is sponsored by the College for seniors, alumni, faculty-staff receptions, or any outside group; and
- The event is held in a controlled space, such as the Alumni Lodge. Requests to sponsor such events must be made through the Events Office and must be approved by the VPSA or their designee. College budget accounts (including SGA funds) are by definition State dollars and may not be used to purchase alcohol or provide adult beverage service in any circumstance.
- Acting as a social host: A social host is any individual who provides a location for and/or facilitates opportunities for others to violate the College Alcohol Policy or other gathering-related policies. More specifically, a social host is an individual who provides or shares alcohol with an underage guest in his/her residence or who hosts one or more guests in his/her residence who violate the College Alcohol Policy or other gathering-related policies (e.g., quiet hours, fire code, damage, failure to comply). Additional consequences are in place for those who make the choice to host events in their residence where a violation of College policy takes place. Hosts who provide a location for others to engage in policy violations assume a greater level of responsibility for these incidents. If a student is found responsible for acting as a social host as described above, the minimum fine for the violation begins at $100 for a first offense and increases up to $250 for subsequent violations (see Minimum Expected Sanctions for more information). Fines will be assessed per social host, and will not be divided among the room/apartment/townhouse residents.
Legal sanctions under state law: It is illegal in the state of Maryland for any person under 21 to falsify or misrepresent their age to obtain alcohol, or to possess alcoholic beverages with the intent to consume them. It is also illegal in most situations to furnish alcohol to a person under 21, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of a person under 21. The penalty is a fine of up to $500 for a first offense, and up to $1000 for repeat offenses.
Students who are concerned about their use of alcohol or other drugs may speak with a counselor in Counseling Services for an assessment. Counseling Services are confidential and the staff therapist will recommend options for risk reduction, treatment and recovery.
Excessive alcohol use can increase the likelihood of both short-term and long-term health risks. Binge drinking increases the risk of injury, violence, alcohol poisoning, and risky sexual behavior. Long-term excessive alcohol use can lead to chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Students can find more information about the health risks of alcohol use at http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/factsheets/alcohol-use.htm.