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Ram's Eye View

Drug-Free Campus - Policies, Guidelines, and Resources

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Ram's Eye View

West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-1000

Drug-Free Campus - Policies, Guidelines, and Resources

To All Members of the University Community

West Chester University is a learning community that encourages community responsibility. The University strives to create a campus environment that is safe for the individual - one that is free of violent crime, free of power-based personal violence, free of the use of illegal drugs, and free of the abuse and misuse of alcohol and prescription drugs. Those acts threaten not only the individual user but also the entire University community.

Out of concern for the health and safety of campus communities, the federal government enacted the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment (Public Law 101-226) in 1989. This law requires institutions of higher education to inform the campus community about issues related to substance use and abuse, including resources available to assist students, faculty, and staff in combating alcohol and drug problems, as well as relevant regulations and laws.

I ask you to review the following information carefully. I urge you to act responsibly and seek additional knowledge about our educational programs, support services, and current laws from the University resource personnel listed in this handbook. West Chester University is committed to fostering an environment that promotes the health and safety of everyone in our campus community.

  • Sincerely,
  • Christopher M. Fiorentino
  • President

Do you have questions or concerns about alcohol or drug use? There are people within the University community to help with private, confidential counseling, referral, and information. Please seek assistance from the following University offices:

  • The Office of Wellness Promotion. The Alcohol Education staff are available for free confidential discussion about alcohol, or other drug-related concerns, and assistance with referrals to community resources.
  • The Department of Counseling and Psychological Services (Counseling Center) has a staff of psychologists who are available to counsel enrolled students regarding vocational choice and personal concerns. The Counseling Center faculties are also available to help students deal with issues related to alcohol and/or drugs, including referrals to community resources.
  • The Office of Student Conduct can assist with clarification on the current laws related to drugs and alcohol. The director is available to explain existing regulations and the range of sanctions for violations.


If you have questions or need more information please contact:

  • Office of Wellness Promotion
    • Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Education
    • Commonwealth Hall
    • 610-436-2509 or 610-430-4194
  • Counseling and Psychological Services Department
    • Lawrence Center
    • 610-436-2301
  • Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
    • Student Health Services, Commonwealth Hall 048
    • 610-436-3086
  • Office of Student Conduct
    • 200 Ruby Jones Hall
    • 610-436-3511
  • Public Safety
    • Peoples Building
    • 610-436-3311


Please Consider

Your Health

First, please be aware that in PA, an “Alcohol Amnesty” law is in effect.  The law states that an underage person who calls for medical assistance for a friend in need will not be charged for alcohol related violations.  West Chester University will also waive alcohol related judicial charges in this instance. For more information see the Medical Amnesty policy on this website.  

A similar Drug Overdose Immunity law protects both the caller and the person needing medical attention in a medical emergency related to a possible drug overdose

Too much alcohol, too fast, can kill you. To reduce impairment, health and legal problems, use the 0-1-3 guideline for making low-risk choices.

  • ZERO - zero alcohol: If You are under 21 years of age, are sick (using medication on other drugs, pregnant, chemically dependent) driving, or have a strong family history of alcoholism
  • ONE - one drink per hour: Your body can only metabolize one average drink per hour
  • THREE: no more than three drinks on any day

In general, low-risk drinking is defined as no more than 4 drinks per day for men (maximum 14 per week) and no more than 3 drinks per day for women (maximum seven per week).

Remember: An average drink is 1 oz. of 100 proof liquor, 1 1/2 oz. of 80-proof liquor, a 12-oz. beer, or a 4-5-oz. glass of wine.

It is always okay not to drink. If you do choose to drink, make healthy choices and follow 0-1-3.

For new information and interactive feedback, please visit Rethinking Drinking.

New research tells us that the human brain continues to develop through age 25. Drinking during this critical developmental period, especially to the point of intoxication, may lead to life-long impairments in brain function, particularly as it relates to memory, motor skills, and coordination. Young adults may be likely to over drink and to suffer repeated bouts of withdrawal from alcohol. This repeated withdrawal may be a key reason for alcohol's harmful effects on the brain.

The Risk of Using Other Drugs

Any drug, even if it's over the counter or a legal prescription, has possible side effects that can cause impairments for some people. However, these drugs are regulated, and risks are written on the packaging. With illegal drugs, there are no guidelines, and you can never be sure of their strength or purity. Here are some things to consider:

  • Most, if not all, illegal drugs are mixed with impurities. You may not always get what you believe you are getting!
  • Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. It is both psychologically and physically addictive.
  • Alcohol is a depressant drug; it slows the central nervous system.
  • THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, remains in your body for one month following use. Marijuana smoke produces all of the harmful effects of tobacco smoke and contains 50 percent more of the cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Alcohol and illicit drugs, as agents that dull the senses and impair judgment, are major factors in a large proportion of unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, date rape, accidental injury, and death.
  • Aside from the psychosocial implications of long-term use and addiction, permanent physical damage can develop in every bodily organ system, being most pronounced in the heart, liver, and brain.

View a complete list of health effects of illegal drugs.

Your Knowledge of the Law

West Chester University prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on its property or as part of any of its activities. The University vigorously enforces all local, state, and federal laws as they pertain to the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. Conviction under such laws provides for punishment that includes fines and/or imprisonment. The specific codes are described in detail in the Student Code of Conduct.

The links below show summaries of the legal consequences of alcohol-related violations in Pennsylvania, the state Marijuana Crime Code, and legal sanctions for drug violations under federal government law:

  1. Legal sanctions for underage alcohol law violation under state law and also DUI laws.
  2. Legal sanctions for marijuana law violations under state law.
  3. Legal sanctions for drug violations under federal law.

Your Education

Your status as a student at the University could be affected. Students are held accountable for their behavior both on and off campus. Students who are found guilty of violations of the Student Code of Conduct face a full range of sanctions. The standard penalty for those who possess or sell drugs and who sell alcohol to minors is suspension or expulsion. Ask yourself, is it worth it?

Your Future

Many employers, including those in education and government, require a background check that includes University judicial records as well as criminal records. In addition, many graduate schools also require a clearance from the Dean of Students Office, which includes any judicial records.

A single use of marijuana can show up on a drug test 20 days later (and in some cases even longer). One in ten drinkers develops severe drinking problems. And if you are the "adult child of an alcoholic" (ACoA), you are three times more likely than others to develop an alcohol problem.

This information was prepared as part of the educational efforts associated with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.

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