Drug and Alcohol Policy

June 2014

Drug and Alcohol Policy

The Policy Statement of The Jewish Theological Seminary pursuant to the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.

I. Policy Statement

JTS is committed to creating an environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is not adversely affected by drug and alcohol abuse, and that complies with federal, state, and local laws. JTS takes very seriously its obligation to address substance abuse because of its view that such activity is antithetical to the values of the community and to educational excellence. We strongly support educational and treatment programs as an effective means to help reduce and prevent alcohol and drug abuse. At the same time, JTS expects that students will conduct themselves in accordance with basic principles of personal responsibility, respect for order, and consideration of the rights of others. Implied in these expectations is the recognition that students are responsible for making their own decisions and accepting the consequences of those decisions. To assist members of the community to make informed choices, students should educate themselves about the consequences of drug and alcohol use.

JTS prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students, faculty members, or staff members while on JTS property or while participating in JTS sponsored or affiliated activities or conducting JTS business either on or off premises. JTS's standards regarding this policy, the risks associated with substance abuse, and available resources to address these problems are explained below. We urge students to read this material carefully.

II. Standards of Conduct

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs on JTS premises, or at JTS-related activities, whether on or off campus, is strictly prohibited. The sale, service, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages on JTS premises or at related JTS activities, whether on or off campus, must comply fully with New York State and appropriate local laws. Based on such laws, the following standards must be respected:

•·         Persons under the age of twenty-one are prohibited from possessing any alcoholic beverage at JTS or at any event sponsored by JTS or by any JTS related organization, except for small amounts of wine used for religious purposes.

•·         No person shall be sold or served alcoholic beverages if that person is under the legal drinking age of twenty-one, appears to be intoxicated, or is known to be a problem drinker.

•·         No person under the age of twenty-one shall present or use fraudulent proof of his or her age to purchase, or try to purchase, alcoholic beverages.

•·         No person shall misrepresent the age of someone (him/herself or another person) under twenty-one, or possess or present any written evidence of his or her age, in order to purchase, or try to purchase, alcoholic beverages, or to try to gain admittance to an event or activity with an age twenty-one requirement.

The individual or group sponsoring any event or activity at which any alcoholic beverage is to be served or sold shall be responsible for compliance with all laws,  regulations, and JTS policies regarding alcoholic beverages. In addition, the following standards must be followed:

•·         Individuals and groups sponsoring an event must contact the Office of Facilities Management and the Office of Student Life in advance when alcoholic beverages are to be served and comply with the procedures to regulate alcohol consumption.

•·         Any government license or permit required to serve or sell alcoholic beverages must be obtained. Such license or permit, and any government required posters, signs, or notices, must be prominently displayed at the site of such event.

JTS will take appropriate actions to enforce these standards of conduct. In furtherance of its educational mission, JTS will seek to assist those with alcohol and drug-related problems to obtain counseling, support services, and/or to participate in rehabilitation programs. Details of disciplinary sanctions, health risks of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as available counseling and rehabilitation agencies, are contained in this policy. JTS also seeks to provide for the safety and well-being of the community as a whole and will take appropriate measures to do so.

III. JTS Sanctions

Students: Individual students who violate this  policy or any related policy shall be subject to the appropriate disciplinary process. The disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed for violations of the policy include, but are not limited to, warnings, restitution, probation, suspension, loss of financial aid, expulsion from residence halls, and expulsion from JTS.

Sponsoring student organizations and their members are also held responsible for violations of the standards of conducts and related policies. Where violations occur, student organizations and their members may be penalized, may have funding revoked, may be denied use of facilities and services, and may be barred from having their future events recognized as student activities . Individual members may also be disciplined.

Faculty and Staff: Individual employees who violate the standards of conduct and related policies shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary process, in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreements or with JTS administrative procedures. Disciplinary sanctions may include, but not be limited to, warnings, suspensions, and termination of employment. In imposing disciplinary sanctions, JTS shall take into account the circumstances surrounding the offense, the nature of the violation, and the individual's previous record at JTS. At JTS's discretion, as an alternative to or in addition to any disciplinary action, employees found in violation of these standards of conduct or related policies may be required to participate in and satisfactorily complete an appropriate counseling or rehabilitation program or employee assistance program.

Additional disclosure requirements may be imposed by federal law regulating drug convictions of employees; an employee should consult Human Resources if he or she has any questions about governing federal law.

IV. Criminal Sanctions

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol is punishable by harsh sanctions by the United States government and by the State of New York. Sanctions can include fines, imprisonment, alternative community service, and the loss of federal student financial aid eligibility.

Where illicit drugs are involved, the seriousness of the offense and the penalty imposed upon conviction usually depend upon the individual drug and the amount of the drug held or sold. For example, in New York State, the criminal possession of four or more ounces of cocaine is a class A-1 felony, punishable by a minimum of fifteen to twenty-five years, and a maximum of life in prison. The sale of two ounces of cocaine will be similarly treated. The criminal possession of more than eight ounces of marijuana is a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, as is the sale of more than twenty-five grams of marijuana. It is important to be aware that in New York, a gift of drugs, including marijuana, is treated as a sale. Federal penalties are similar to those assessed by the state. Federal possession or trafficking can also lead to the forfeiture of property (such as a car), the loss of federal licenses, and the denial of federal benefits such as student loans and grants. The federal Higher Education Act provides that a student who is convicted under federal or state law of possession or sale of illicit drugs is suspended from eligibility for federal student financial aid and grants. Depending on the number and types of convictions, the suspension may be for one year or indefinitely; a student may regain eligibility upon the completion of an acceptable rehabilitation program. A felony conviction may also prevent an individual from entering many professional careers.

A person need not be in actual physical possession of a controlled substance to be guilty of a crime. The unlawful presence of a controlled substance in an automobile is presumptive evidence of knowing possession of each passenger, unless the substance is concealed on the person of one of the occupants. Similarly, the presence of certain substances, including marijuana, in open view in a room, under circumstances demonstrating an attempt to prepare the substance for sale, is presumptive evidence of knowing possession of anyone in close proximity to the substance.

Criminal penalties may also result from the misuse of alcoholic beverages. In New York, a person who gives or sells an alcoholic beverage to another person less than twenty-one years old, is committing a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to three months in jail or a $500 fine. Any sale of any kind of alcoholic beverage without a license or permit is also a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, a jail term, or both. Persons under the age of twenty-one are prohibited from possessing alcoholic beverages with intent to consume them. Each violation is punishable by a $50 fine. The beverages may also be seized and destroyed by appropriate internal or external authorities. An individual can be fined up to $100 and/or be required to perform community service if he or she is under twenty-one and presents a falsified proof when attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages. A person's driver's license may be suspended for ninety days if he or she is under twenty-one and uses that license to try to purchase alcohol illegally.

Those are only examples of the penalties that can be assessed against a person for the illegal possession, use, and distribution of alcoholic beverages and drugs. It is JTS's policy to discourage violations of federal, state, and local city law by its employees and students. Where appropriate, JTS may refer employees and students who violate such laws for prosecution by the relevant governmental authorities and will cooperate fully with such authorities.

V. Health Risks Associated with Alcohol Abuse and Illicit Drug Use

The following are summaries provided by the federal government of the health risks associated with illicit drug use and alcohol abuse. These summaries are an overview. Different individuals may experience the effects of drugs or alcohol in a slightly different way, given his or her physical and psychological factors.

Alcohol consumption 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 spouse and child abuse. 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 will produce the effects just described.

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants may have physical and cognitive disabilities. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.

Current details on the health risks and reactions to illicit drugs are available from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

VI. Counseling and Support Programs

A network of services is available through JTS and New York City to help those with problems relating to abuse of alcohol and illicit drug use. These programs are confidential and voluntary. In addition to those listed below, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Student Life may be able to provide additional assistance.

Students who wish to discuss in confidence matters related to drug and alcohol abuse are encouraged to contact the JTS Counseling Center. Staff members are available for counseling, and can serve as consultants or resource persons when referrals are needed.

Similarly, employees may seek the assistance of the Human Resources Department in locating appropriate services. Labor unions may also be of assistance to their members. The confidentiality of these requests will be respected.

There are a wide range of drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs in New York City. The following is a sampling of the self-help and resource organizations which are located in New York and which offer services at little or no cost:

•·         OASAS Drug Abuse Information Line, (877) 846-7369, www.oasas.ny.gov

•·         Cocaine Anonymous Hotline, (212) COCAINE, www.canewyork.org

•·         Alcohol Council of Greater New York, (800) 56-SOBER, www.alcoholism.org

•·         Alcoholics Anonymous, (212) 647-1680, www.alcoholics-anonymous.org

•·         Al-Anon, (212) 941-0094, www.nycalanon.org

•·         Narcotics Anonymous, (212) 929-6262, www.na.org

•·         Marijuana Anonymous, (212) 459-4423, www.ma-newyork.org

•·         National Drug Information Hotline, (800) 662-4357, wwwsamhsa.gov

In addition, there are numerous private and voluntary programs offering different types of alcohol and drug treatment services. Most require payment or appropriate medical insurance. The following organizations located near the JTS campus offer a variety of treatment services:

•·         Harlem Hospital
506 Lenox Ave
New York, NY 10037
(212) 939-1000

•·         St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center
Alcohol Division
Amsterdam Avenue and 114th Street
New York, NY 10025
(212) 523-1897

JTS will review this policy periodically to determine its effectiveness and, as needed, will make appropriate changes.