Drug and Alcohol Policy

In compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug Free Schools and Communities amendments of 1989, the policies governing the use of drugs and alcohol at Williams College are as follows:

College Standards of Conduct and Sanctions

Williams prohibits the abuse of alcohol and expects members of the college community to abide by federal, state, and local regulations concerning the possession and use, purchase, and distribution of alcohol. The College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, sale, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of illegal drugs, or the unauthorized use of prescription drugs.

Members of the college community charged with violations of the standards of conduct are subject to disciplinary action through the established disciplinary procedures of the college. When violations are determined to have occurred, the college will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees, consistent with local, state, and federal law. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, the sanctions available to the college include warning,  suspension, or termination of employment, or referral for prosecution by public authorities. The College may also require satisfactory completion of an appropriate drug or alcohol rehabilitation program before reinstatement or continued employment.

Massachusetts legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 2012, and recreational use in 2016. The law permits the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by people 21 and over and removes criminal penalties for such activities. However, the federal government still considers marijuana to be an illicit drug. Since the college must abide by federal laws, the above policy prohibiting “the unlawful manufacture, sale, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of illegal drugs” applies to marijuana, regardless of the 2012 and 2016 Massachusetts state laws.

Additional Requirements of Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1989

Employees receiving federal grants or contracts and student recipients of Pell Grants are required to certify to the funding agency that they are drug-free before receiving any awards.

In addition, any employee, including a student, who participates in any federal grant or contract must notify the Provost within five days of any criminal drug conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace. The Provost is required to notify the funding agency within ten days of receiving notification of the conviction.

Further information may be obtained from the publication “Alcohol, Other Drugs and You at Williams,” distributed annually. Questions regarding these requirements may be directed to the Provost, the Health Educator, or the Assistant to the President for Affirmative Action and Government Relations.