Alcohol and Other Drug Policy

Columbia University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is free of alcohol and other drug abuse. The University complies with New York State Law and other applicable regulations governing alcoholic beverages and the use of illicit substances for those on the University's premises or participating in its activities. The University strongly supports education and treatment programs as the most effective means to help prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug abuse. Read more about Columbia's policy on the University's website. In addition to the provisions of New York State Law (see below), the University requires adherence to additional policies at events where alcohol is served.

Pre-Clinical Drug Testing Policy

Pre-clinical drug testing is required of all students in the clinical schools at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). Students in the School of Nursing, College of Dental Medicine, and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons are required to undergo a 10-metabolite urine drug screen prior to the beginning of their clinical rotations. Visit AIMS for information on drug testing information.

CUIMC and Columbia University Policies for Students

All medical center students are expected to comply with New York State Law and with University policies and procedures as detailed on the University's website.

  • In compliance with state law and University policy, no alcohol is to be served to a person who is under the age of 21 years, disorderly, or visibly intoxicated, and no person under the age of 21 may possess any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it.
  • Columbia University recognizes the illegality and danger of drug abuse and, accordingly, strictly prohibits the possession, use, manufacture, or distribution of illicit drugs on University premises or as part of any University activity.
  • Because of issues related to professionalism outlined in the CUIMC Alcohol and Other Drug Policy, repeated occurrences may warrant involvement of the appropriate student affairs dean.

Columbia University Procedures for Events (Supplemental Guidelines and Procedures to Implement the University Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs)

  • All University-sponsored events that take place either on or off campus involving alcohol must be authorized. Application forms for such events must be submitted, including adviser approvals, to the appropriate dean or student activities officer. Those registering events where alcohol will be served must be at least 21 years of age.
  • At events where alcohol is served, there must be designated students responsible for upholding the alcohol policy. Designated students must participate in Social Host Alcohol Training sponsored by AIMS: Addiction Information and Management Strategies.
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be served where money changes hands (sale of drinks, admission charged, donations solicited, etc.) without the appropriate license or permit. Events that involve money changing hands require a Temporary Beer and Wine Permit issued by the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. This includes free events under an organization that charges a membership fee. For more information on New York State legal requirements visit Columbia University's website.
  • The deans and student activities officers of each school work with student leaders to promote student responsibility and compliance with all University regulations and New York State and Federal Laws. Individual schools may also set more stringent restrictions on events involving alcohol, but all events must, at a minimum, comply with Columbia University policies and procedures.
  • Read more about the Columbia University Policies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Violations of New York State Law and Columbia University Policies

The deans and student activities officers of Columbia's graduate and professional schools have the responsibility of enforcing and implementing the University's alcohol and other drug policy within each school. Violation of laws may subject the violator to legal penalties that range from confiscation of the beverage to suspension of one's driver's license to fine or imprisonment. Moreover, within the University, the illegal or wrongful possession, provision, or consumption of alcohol or other drugs will lead to proceedings in accordance with the procedures of the respective school or administrative unit, which can include the requirement for the student to receive psychological or medical assessment and/or counseling and appropriate treatment. Disciplinary action may result in suspension, expulsion, or the referral of violators for criminal prosecution.