Apr 14, 2021  
2020-2021 Student Handbook 
2020-2021 Student Handbook

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Resources

Overview and Philosophy Statement

An important part of the mission of York College extends beyond the classroom to the holistic development of student character and ethics. Many student life programs address this mission element, including activities and presentations on the issues posed by alcoholic beverages and the societal presence of illegal drugs.

The overall theme of all alcohol and drug education programs is that each individual is responsible to make prudent choices regarding alcoholic beverages and to be prepared to confront invitations to use illegal drugs. As a result, each individual must consider carefully, in advance, how he or she will make such decisions. The consideration process should include a full understanding of relevant physiological, behavioral, ethical, religious, and legal issues. The result should be a “personal policy” on alcohol and drugs, which can serve as a behavioral guide to the student as circumstances arise requiring decisions on alcoholic beverages and the avoidance of illegal drugs.

Sensational or exaggerated presentations on alcohol and drug use among college-age youth are explicitly avoided. Rather, York College’s drug and alcohol education programs are based on the highest caliber and most recent research studies on these issues.

The College community strives to ensure that all social gatherings are conducted in accordance with state law and College regulations and that all persons manifest responsibility for proper risk management and the welfare of others. York College of Pennsylvania’s overall approach to alcohol education and its programs to prevent related health and social problems are consistent with the Model Campus Alcohol Policy adopted by the Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues at the National Symposium on Campus Alcohol Practices.

The model includes the following: a summary of state and local laws; institutional policies and standards of conduct; health and wellness education; prevention strategies; intervention resources and assistance programs; judicial/referral processes; campus activities and extracurricular programs; and campus and community partnerships on alcohol and drug education and services. York College’s Campus Alcohol Policy and Program also follows the guidelines and practices recommended by the Columbia Addiction and Substance Abuse Center (CASA) and the U.S. Department of Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention.

Ultimately, students must obey civil law and accept responsibility for their behavior. Students found in violation of relevant policies are referred to appropriate campus assistance, counseling, and educational programs as part of the judicial and referral processes. Disciplinary sanctions may include probation, removal from residence facilities, and/or suspension from the College.

All College employees may be issued written warnings, suspended, or discharged for consumption of alcoholic beverages or for the use of illegal substances while on the job.

Health Risks

The excessive use of alcohol and illegal drugs may lead to many health concerns. While some concerns are listed below, an extensive list is available on the Drug and Alcohol Wellness Network (DAWN) website.

Alcohol Related Health Risks

On a short term basis, some health risks include drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea and impaired judgment. Continued use and misuse may lead to injuries, loss of productivity, alcohol poisoning, cardiovascular concerns, and sever damage to the brain, stomach, liver, and pancreas.

Drug Related Health Risks

Cardiovascular conditions, short term confusion, anxiety or mental disturbances, depression, overdose due to unregulated use, change in personality, loss of memory, mental health problems and poisoning.

The Law

It is illegal in Pennsylvania for persons under the age of 21 to attempt to purchase, consume, possess, or transport any alcohol, liquor, malt, or brewed beverages. Pennsylvania law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages by anyone unless they have the proper license issued by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Pennsylvania and federal law prohibits the possession, manufacture, sale and distribution of illegal substances. Giving marijuana or another drug free of charge may be considered the same as sale or distribution. Possession of large amounts of drugs may be viewed as possession with intent to sell.
Applicable criminal penalties may include loss or suspension of driver’s license, fines, and/or jail time.

Pennsylvania Zero Tolerance Law

The Zero Tolerance law makes it illegal for persons under the age of 21 to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood. The Zero Tolerance law reduced the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) required to charge minors (under age 21) with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) to .02 percent. For individuals 21 years and older, the legal limit in Pennsylvania is a BAC of .08 percent.

Why Zero Tolerance?—Traffic accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States. In 2000, approximately 30 percent of traffic fatalities among 16-20 year olds were drivers who were under the influence or occupants riding with a driver who were under the influence (United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration).

Driving involves multiple tasks, the demands of which change continually. To drive safely, you must be alert and make decisions based on ever-changing information present in the environment and maneuver based on these decisions. Drinking alcohol impairs a wide range of skills necessary for carrying out these tasks.

Serious Consequences for a DUI—The Zero Tolerance law establishes serious consequences for those under 21 who drive with a measurable amount of alcohol in their blood. The consequences of breaking this law will result in being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

DUI For Minors (Over Age 18)

  • Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD), if qualifications are met.
  • Incarceration for 48 hours if defendant does not accept or qualify for ARD.
  • Up to one year suspension of driver’s license.
  • A drug and alcohol evaluation.
  • Participation in a state-approved Alcohol Highway Safety Program, if ordered by the Court.
  • Payment of fines, costs, and restitution.
  • Chemical test refusal violations will result in automatic one-year suspension of driving privilege.
  • Offenders are often hit hard financially because of DUI fines, legal and court costs, and increased car insurance premiums. They experience lost time from school or work and suffer personal embarrassment. In addition, they may lose their job, if it involves driving a commercial vehicle. Finally, there is the potential for cancellation of car insurance policies. Students should be aware that in concert with Zero Tolerance, the Association of Pennsylvanians Against Underage Drinking have established a state-wide hotline to report underage drinking parties—planned or in progress—or establishments selling or serving alcohol to minors (1-800-UNDER21).

Where to Get Help and Information on Campus

Drug and Alcohol Wellness Network

The DAWN Coalition is a group of students, faculty, administrators, and community members that seeks to advocate for programs and policies at the campus/community level that cause change in the social and cultural environments in which students make decisions about alcohol and drug use. We are, therefore, dedicated to promoting harm reduction and prevention of problems associated with illegal alcohol & drug use.

Contact: Residence Life, (717) 815-1281, or Counseling Services, (717) 815-6437.

Referral Resources

Counseling Services of York College will provide referrals for the YCP student community for both individual and group counseling to assist Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA), and recovering addicts (AA and NA). Assessment, individual and group counseling are also offered by Counseling Services. Contact: Counseling Services, (717) 815-6437.

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

The mission of the York College of Pennsylvania Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is to enhance the overall YCP student-athlete experience. The representatives who serve on this committee serve as a communication link between our athletic conference SAAC and their respective sports team(s). The Spartan representatives have an understanding of and are mentored on the NCAA legislation and issues that are currently present in Division III athletics. These student-athletes serve as a representative of every student-athlete at York College, and their charge is to have every student-athletes’ voice heard on the institutional and conference level. The student-athletes who serve on this committee are role models to all, and look to foster and promote good sportsmanship, healthy choices and a commitment to the one’s “total self”, all while maintaining the tenants of the Division III philosophy. Contact: Athletics, (717) 815-1780.

Susquehanna Valley Consortium for Alcohol and Other Drugs

This regional consortium of 14 colleges and universities has been meeting for over 15 years to discuss the issues of alcohol and other drug use/abuse on campus. The members share programs, data, and resources and have sponsored opportunities for admissions personnel and campus leaders, including a conference for peer health educators. York College Contact: Director of Counseling Services, (717) 815-6437.

Alcohol Awareness and Prevention Days

Alcohol awareness and prevention programs occur throughout the school year; however National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week is recognized during the third week in October. This week allows York College to focus on the importance of overall health and wellness as well as the importance of awareness education around the issue of alcohol use and misuse. A variety of campus organizations as well as the Counseling Center, Student Activities Office, and Office of Residence Life participate in coordinating social and educational activities for students during this week. Contact: Assistant Director of Residence Life (717) 815-1281.

Drug and Alcohol Education/Intervention

Referral and Discipline Process

A student automatically enters this process when the College alcohol/drug policy is violated. Any member of the YCP Community may refer a student to this process if they are concerned about a student’s well being. If a student is referred to the process and has not been found in violation of College policy a disciplinary sanction is not necessary. Possible sanctions for violating this policy are listed below . Once a student has entered this process, all information is kept confidential as outlined in the Student Handbook. The Assistant Director of Residence Life for Student Conduct will be notified of any incidents involving alcohol and/or drugs.

Potential Sanctions

  • Official Warning
  • Referral to the Under the Influence or Marijuana 101 On-Line Educational Program & Associated Program Fee
  • Disciplinary Probation
  • Community Service
  • Community Restitution
  • Residential Facilities Reloation
  • Suspension/Expulsion From YCP
  • Other Educational Sanction

Not Responsible

If a student is found not responsible for an alcohol/drug policy violation there will be no sanction issued. This determination will be made at the conclusion of a student conduct hearing.

Parental Notification on Student Conduct Matters

Parents or legal guardians of financially dependent students may be notified by the Student Affairs Office/College officials when their student has been found in violation of the College’s Student Code of Conduct. Students and parents are encouraged to discuss these disciplinary matters to assist in the learning process and behavioral improvement.

Research Documentation

York College’s policies on alcohol and substance abuse have a strong foundation in research studies. Among the current studies reviewed are reports issued by the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, the Harvard University studies, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) report, “Rethinking Rites of Passage: Substance Abuse on America’s Campuses,” a report published by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, and The National Social Norms Resource Center. These studies and reports provide York College personnel with valid behavioral statistics and the conclusions of the leading experts serve as guides for our institutional alcohol and drug policies.

What Does the Research Show?

A recent report from NIAAA indicates the significant consequences of alcohol use and abuse. The number of college students affected each year is as follows:

  • 1400 college students die from alcohol related causes each year.
  • 1100 of these deaths involve drinking and driving.
  • 300 are a result of alcohol poisoning/alcohol overdose
  • 400,000 students report having unprotected sex while under the influence of alcohol.
  • More than 150,000 students develop health problems associated with their alcohol use.
  • There are approximately 2.1 million cases of driving under the influence (DUI) each year.
  • More than 150,000 college students a year develop a health problem due to drinking; 6% develop a dependence on alcohol. The secondary effects of alcohol use and/or abuse are also significant, including 600,000 alcohol related assaults each year. Of these, 70,000 are reported sexual assaults. Other secondary effects include interrupted sleep, arguments, and property damage.

An Environmental Management Approach

According to research, most college students across the country do not drink excessively and this fact is consistent with research studies conducted on the York College campus (CORE Survey, 2013). However, according to a report from the Higher Education Center, high-risk alcohol and other drug use is the most widespread health problem on college and university campuses in the United States. Unfortunately, there is not one solution to addressing this issue. The Higher Education Center promotes an environmental management strategy approach to addressing the issue, and this is the approach that is taken at York College. The environmental management strategy includes the following elements:

Limit Alcohol Availability

York College of Pennsylvania provides quality education in a collegial environment while emphasizing the holistic development of students. The College believes that the misuse of alcoholic beverages is detrimental to the standards of academic achievement and campus life, and therefore does not permit students to use or possess alcoholic beverages on campus, except in designated Independent Living Areas (Country Club Manor Apartments).

Restrict the Marketing and Promotion of Alcohol and Other Drugs on Campus

York College of Pennsylvania offers a variety of extracurricular activities that not only enhance academic and personal development, but also promote safe, healthy, legal choices. The College prohibits reference on any posted notice, through words or pictures, to alcohol or other drugs.

Increase the Development and Enforcement of Campus Policies

Various offices on campus collaborate to develop and enforce policies related to alcohol and other drug use including the Office of Residence Life/Student Conduct, and the Department of Campus Safety. Counseling Services at York College consult with other offices in the development of related policies and provide free, confidential counseling for students concerned about their substance use. Students found in violation of alcohol and other drug policies are referred to appropriate campus assistance including counseling and educational programs as part of their disciplinary sanctions. Disciplinary sanctions may include probation, residential facilities relocation, and/or suspension from the College.

Promote Alcohol-Free Social, Recreational, Extracurricular, and Public Service Options

Alcohol-free programs are offered by a variety of offices including Student Activities & Orientation, Residence Life, Intercultural Student Life and Global Programming, Athletics/Intramurals, and Spiritual Life. There are over 70 clubs and organizations available to students, and the Student Activities calendar contains a complete list of events scheduled for each semester. In addition, special programs including weekend/late-night activities are planned for high-risk days and times.

Create a Health-Promoting Normative Environment

York College promotes a social norms marketing campaign via various campus media, posters, and promotional items that advances accurate statistics and information about alcohol and other drug use among York College students. These “social norming” messages are intended to correct the misperception that “all students drink excessively.” In reality, most York College students who choose to drink do so in moderation. The goal of this campaign is to promote healthy behaviors and norms and to encourage students to make responsible, healthy choices.

Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA), and Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations

Part 86, the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations, of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, requires that, as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, an institution of higher education (IHE) must certify that it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. If audited, failure to comply with the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations may cause an institution to forfeit eligibility for federal funding.

York College certifies its compliance with these regulations and distributes the following in writing to all students and employees annually:

  • Standards of conduct that clearly prohibit the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol on school property or as part of any school activities.
  • A description of the applicable legal sanctions under local, state, or federal law for the unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol.
  • A description of the health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol.
  • A description of any drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation or re-entry programs that are available to employees or students.
  • A clear statement that the institution will impose sanctions on students and employees (consistent with local, state, and federal law), and a description of those sanctions, up to and including expulsion or termination of employment and referral for prosecution, for violations of the standards of conduct. In addition, York College conducts an annual review of its program to determine its effectiveness, implement necessary changes, and ensure consistent enforcement of College developed sanctions.

Information regarding the DFSCA was obtained from The U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention; http://www.edc.org/hec/dfsca/.

York College of Pennsylvania Policies and Programs

York College Student Affairs administrators utilize current research, reports, and data to develop the College’s policies and programs on alcohol and other drug related issues. York College policies and programs on alcohol and substance use and abuse reflect the best of prevailing scholarship on these issues.

Believing the use of alcoholic beverages is detrimental to the standards of group living and academic achievement, the College does not permit students to use or to possess such beverages on campus, except in designated Independent Living Areas (Country Club Manor Apartments). Students are cautioned that consumption of alcoholic beverages off campus must comply with Pennsylvania State law.

The U.S. Department of Education cites studies that prove the misuse of alcohol and other drugs results in negative consequences as well as contributes to violence on campus. Students found in violation of College drug and alcohol policies are processed through Student Conduct , and are referred to appropriate campus assistance, counseling and educational programs as part of the disciplinary process. Please refer to the “Drug and Alcohol Education/Intervention Referral and Discipline Process” section for specific information regarding sanctions and consequences.

Campus Activities and Co-curricular Programs

The Student Affairs Division designs student programs using a holistic wellness approach, giving special attention to students’ basic needs and interests while providing developmental and entertaining activities outside the classroom.

“The College strives to have a campus climate that sets a positive tone for learning and for healthy interaction, formally and informally, among College community members. In all aspects of academic and student life, College personnel strive to create an environment in which all persons interact harmoniously, demonstrating respect for the rights of others and commitment to academic freedom of conscience. The College assists students who commit full-time to higher education to develop intellectually, physically, socially, spiritually, culturally, and professionally and, to that end, provides a comprehensive program of extracurricular activities. Part-time learners are provided with appropriate enrichment opportunities.” (The York College Mission for Student and Campus Life).

Student Life programs and services are driven by the York College Mission, and the primary goal of the Student Affairs Division is a commitment to provide a campus environment that is developmental to student learning and personal growth. The focus is to generate personal wellness and educational opportunities in all aspects of student life, both in and out of the classroom. These programs and services are directed and coordinated through Student Activities and Orientation, Athletics, Residence Life, Career Development Center, Counseling Services, Health Services, Dining Services, Spiritual Life, Student Organizations, Student Conduct, and Intercultural Student Life and Global Programming.

The six dimensions of the wellness wheel include emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual, occupational, and social wellness. The wellness wheel serves as the framework for our programs and services. This model for student development not only affects individual growth and learning, but also the overall campus environment. York College offers a variety of programs and activities to address the various components of wellness.

The Student Activities Office, its Director, the Student Senate, and the Campus Activities Board provide opportunities for fun, excitement, relaxation, and learning not readily found in other College activities. There are many opportunities for intellectual and social growth in Student Activities through first-hand experience in planning programs, fiscal responsibility, group leadership, community service, committee involvement, and attendance at social and recreational events.

In addition, there are over 100 clubs and organizations at York College including intramural and club sports, musical/theatre performance groups, media and publications organizations, academic and honorary societies, fraternities and sororities, religious and service organizations, and many others. There are activities to satisfy nearly every student interest.

The Student Affairs Division and College personnel plan services and campus programs that have a positive impact on student life, student learning, and personal wellness; as well as prepare college students for service, citizenship, and leadership in their future.

Note: The Student Handbook and Activities Calendar have a current list and description of campus activities and student organizations as well as a guide to all Student Services.

Responsible Drinking and Social Functions

Conduct all social gatherings in accordance with the state law and college regulations, being responsible to proper risk management and the welfare of guests. If you use alcohol in a responsible manner, chances are good you will not experience negative consequences associated with your consumption of alcohol. For the person who has made the choice to drink, here are some ways to avoid overindulgence and associated problems:

  • don’t make drinking the primary focus
  • set a limit on how many drinks you will consume
  • recognize another’s right not to drink
  • drink slowly, don’t gulp your drinks
  • don’t encourage irresponsible behavior
  • discourage drinking and driving
  • respect the law and campus policies
  • measure the alcohol you are mixing into a drink

Sponsoring organizations and participating individuals must recognize that even at an off-campus function, the misuse of alcoholic beverages may lead to criminal prosecution and third-party liability as well as implementation of the College student conduct process. The following three violations are of particular concern:

  1. furnishing alcohol to a minor
  2. being responsible for a minor’s consumption of alcohol or promotion thereof
  3. serving alcohol to any individual, regardless of age, who is already intoxicated
    All social gatherings must be conducted in accordance with the state law and College regulations. Hosts and all in attendance must be responsible to proper risk management and the welfare of guests.

Promotion, active soliciting, or recruiting for parties are not permitted. The problem is inflated when those under 21 years of age are invited or recruited.

If members of the administration or faculty are present at any off-campus student affair, they are there as invited guests and are not there as chaperones or in any official capacity whereby they assume responsibility for student behavior. Their attendance is as invited guests.

Smoking Policy and Tobacco Products

York College is now a TOBACCO FREE, SMOKE FREE Campus.

For the health and well-being of our community members, York College prohibits the use of all tobacco products on YCP property.  This includes:  smokeless tobacco, ‘spit’ tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or any other smoking material or device including electronic cigarettes, juuls, hookahs, and vapes.

Allegations of violations of this policy shall be directed to the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs for faculty violations; the Vice President of Campus Operations for administration and staff members; and the Office of Student Conduct and/or the Vice President of Student Affairs for student violations.


York College makes a conscious effort on a daily basis to act responsibly in the best interest of its students. Alcohol abuse and illegal drug use are problems that affect college and university students across the country. York College strives to remain at the forefront of providing meaningful assistance to its student body in this regard, and remains vigilant in its commitment to the wellness of its students, faculty, and staff.

If you choose not to drink, here are some tips:

Decline drinks politely, but firmly, insist on your right to abstain, don’t apologize or make excuses for not drinking; don’t be afraid to ask for soda, coffee, tea, or water.