Policy on Alcohol and Drugs & Statement Supporting Drug-Free Schools and Communities

Statement of Purpose

This policy is designed to communicate a comprehensive approach to dealing with issues related to alcohol and other drugs. The policy will assist all members of the Ferris State University community, as it provides an educational context for these issues, identifies resources available, and enunciates specific policies that relate directly to faculty, staff, and students. The foundations for this policy reflect the University’s core values:

  • Collaboration:  Ferris contributes to the advancement of society by building partnerships with students, alumni, business and industry, government bodies, accrediting agencies, and the communities the University serves.
  • Diversity:  By providing a campus which is supportive safe, and welcoming, Ferris embraces a diversity of ideas, beliefs, and cultures.
  • Ethical Community:  Ferris recognizes the inherent dignity of each member of the University community and treats everyone with respect. Our actions are guided by fairness, honesty, and integrity.
  • Excellence:  Committed to innovation and creativity, Ferris strives to produce the highest quality outcomes in all its endeavors.
  • Learning:  Ferris State University values education that is career-oriented, balances theory and practice, develops critical thinking, emphasizes active learning, and fosters responsibility and the desire for the lifelong pursuit of knowledge.
  • Opportunity:  Ferris, with a focus on developing career skills and knowledge, provides opportunities for civic engagement, leadership development, advancement, and success.

Commitments and Values

By fulfilling these commitments, Ferris is teaching these values. However, values cannot be taught in the abstract; they must be lived in the concrete world of the everyday tasks at the University. Therefore, every member of the Ferris community must be committed to:

  • Behave ethically - to be honest, forthright, loyal, trustworthy, and compassionate
  • Act civilly - to treat everyone with respect and courtesy; to resolve disputes openly and without rancor
  • Be productive - to fully engage each person’s intelligence, talents, and energy in fulfilling the mission and achieving the goals of the University
  • Be responsible - to be accountable for individual performance and behavior

Applicability of this Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs

This policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs pertains to all activities on University property. This policy also pertains to off-campus, University-sponsored activities and to off-campus activities (social or otherwise) sponsored by students, organizations or individuals associated with the University.

Ferris State University, like all other institutes of higher education, supports the Drug Free Schools and Community Act Amendments of 1989. This legislation promotes the adoption and implementation of a program to prevent the abuse of alcohol and illicit use of alcohol and other drugs by employees and students.   This program has given us direction to compile and distribute annually this educational material to each employee and student affiliated with our University.

One purpose of this material is to make all of us more aware of the health risks involved with alcohol abuse and illicit alcohol and other drug use, as well as to be aware of the resources available should we determine that we would like or need assistance. In addition, it is important for each of us to be aware of legal consequences and University sanctions indicated by violations of local, state and federal laws and University policies and procedures.

Health Concerns and Health Risks

Any individual choosing to abuse alcohol or illicitly use alcohol and other drugs needs to be more aware that there may be a wide variety of health risks associated with this behavior. Chemical dependency, or addiction to alcohol and other drugs, is a chronic progressive illness that, if untreated, can be fatal.

Long term effects of alcohol abuse or alcoholism may include liver damage, especially cirrhosis (scarring of the liver); heart disease, including congestive heart failure; ulcers and gastritis; malnutrition; cancer of the mouth, esophagus or stomach; brain damage and possible psychosis; and fetal alcohol effect and fetal alcohol syndrome in infants of drinking mothers.

Use of other illicit drugs may pose some of the following hazards:

  • Cocaine results in changes in blood pressure, heart and breathing rates, severe weight loss and liver damage, and it may cause seizures, coma and possibly death.
  • Marijuana can affect coordination, short-term memory, visual tracking and heart rate. Regular use can produce reproductive system changes, damage to the respiratory system (lungs) and the immune system.
  • Depressants in large doses can cause altered perception, blurred speech and a staggering gait. Very large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma and possibly death. In combination with alcohol, another depressant, these effects can be intensified and this multiplies the risk.
  • Hallucinogens, like phenylcyclidine (PCP), can produce a range of effects that include slowed time and body movement, worsened muscular coordination and dulled senses. Speech can be blocked and often incoherent. Violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injury. Increasing use may produce persistent memory problems and speech difficulties, depression, anxiety and violent behavior. Large doses may result in convulsions, coma, heart and lung failure and possible stroke.
  • Narcotics (codeine, heroin, and a variety of prescription medications) will produce an initial feeling of euphoria followed by drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, constricted (shrinking) pupils, watery eyes and itching. Overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma and possible death. Due to frequent use of needles with this class of drugs, infectious diseases, including AIDS are a major concern.
  • Inhalants, volatile breathable substances, which are abused by sniffing or inhaling, may interfere diversely with breathing or produce irregular heartbeats that can lead to heart failure and death. Long-term use has resulted in bone marrow damage, drastic weight loss, impairment of vision and memory, and the ability to think clearly.

    It is not necessary to become addicted to or dependent upon any of these drugs to experience a wide variety of personal and/or family problems. “Harmful involvement” with any of the drugs mentioned here may show up in a number of different ways. Use of alcohol and/or the other drugs may result in poor judgment; poor coordination; lessened concentration; slower reaction times; impaired eyesight; slips and falls; self-induced burns due to fire; injuries from improper use of hazardous materials, tools or shop machinery on the job or in class; and motor vehicle crashes. In addition, personal motivation and productivity may decline. Quality of work and cooperation with others may also be jeopardized.

    The impact of alcohol abuse and illicit alcohol and other drug use is also seen in both family and social circles. Continued use and abuse often times may increase problems in existing dysfunctional family/social systems or may give rise to the development of dysfunctional family/social systems impacting on significant others, spouses, children, parents, and friends. Friendships and work relationships may suffer and personal relationships, including marriages, very often become strained to the point of separation or divorce. The incidence of alcohol and other drug use involved in car crashes, violent and petty crime, and domestic violence and sexual assault is well documented and very high.

    It is important to note that while we as individuals may not be personally affected by the behaviors and consequences noted above, each of us at one time during our lives will probably have to deal with a friend, family member, or co-worker who is struggling with his or her use/abuse of alcohol and/or other drugs. It is therefore important for all of us to know how we can access available resources in our community.

    As a community, we encourage individual members to reach their full potential as persons and citizens, unencumbered by destructive or counterproductive patterns of behavior.

Alcohol and Other Drug Helping Resources

Campus and/or community resources are available to employees and students seeking assistance when alcohol and other drug use/abuse becomes a personal concern or problem. University students can take advantage of the assistance and referral services of the Counseling Center’s counseling staff, including the services of an alcohol and other drug counselor. The Counseling Center is located in the Birkam Health Center, Room 210. This office is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The telephone number is (231) 591-5968. Employees can get referral assistance, including a list of alcohol and other drug counseling service providers available in the Big Rapids area, from the Counseling Center or the Office of Human Resources, Prakken Building, Room 150. In addition, the Counseling Center maintains a statewide directory of alcohol and other drug service providers for those seeking assistance outside of the Big Rapids area.

Counseling services, individual and/or group, provided to students at the Counseling Center are completely confidential and are provided at no charge. Off-campus service provider fees can vary and payment arrangements, many times, can be flexible from a sliding fee scale for those with little or no ability to pay, to fees for those with health insurance coverage. Employees and students with insurance should be advised that all health insurance policies written in Michigan are required by state law to provide at least some coverage for alcohol and other drug services.

In addition to providing or directing individuals to counseling services, the Counseling Center maintains a list of campus-based and Big Rapids area self-help, support groups (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous or Al Anon). These programs have often provided a good first step for those struggling with alcohol and other drug problems, concern about a loved one or as an additional support for those involved with a counseling program. Finally, the University offers students an alcohol-free living option, presently located in Miller Hall.

Standards for Conduct at Ferris State University

The possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and the unlawful use of alcohol (e.g. underage use, distribution to minors, or operating a University vehicle while under the influence) by employees or students on University property, or as part of University activity is specifically prohibited by Ferris State University regulations, and/or by state or federal law. Those University regulations governing the use of alcohol and other drugs are so noted below for your information:

Consistent with state and federal law, Ferris State University will maintain a workplace and an educational environment free from the unlawful manufacturing, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance, (as defined under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 812 and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, as may be amended from time to time). The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of alcohol and other drugs, including narcotics by employees and students, is prohibited on any property under the control of and governed by the Board of Trustees of Ferris State University, or on any site where work or student activity is performed by individuals on behalf of the University.

The Ferris State University Student Community Standards Administrative Policies and Procedures include specific sections related to alcohol and other drug use or abuse.

Summary of Certain Applicable Laws and Legal Sanctions

Limited Scope and Purpose of Summary

This summary is not intended to be an exhaustive review of all alcohol-related laws and legal sanctions. Not all laws which may apply to a particular situation are included here. This summary is intended only to inform and educate and should not be construed as legal advice.

    • Big Rapids Ordinances

      Consumption on Street or Parking Lot [Section 131.04 (as amended)]
      It shall be unlawful to consume any alcoholic beverage on any street, sidewalk, parkway, alley or parking lot open to the public.

      Possessing Open Alcoholic Beverage [Section 131.05 (as amended)]
      No person shall transport or possess any alcoholic beverage in a container which is open or uncapped, or upon which the seal is broken, on any street, sidewalk, parkway, alley or parking lot open to the public.

      Sale to Minors Prohibited [Section 131.07]
      Alcoholic liquor shall not be sold or furnished to a person unless the person has attained 21 years of age. A person who knowingly sells or furnishes alcoholic liquor to a person who is less than 21 years of age, or who fails to make diligent inquiry as to whether the person is less than 21 years of age, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

      Purchase, Consumption, and Possession by Minors Prohibited [Section 131.08] Except as otherwise permitted in the ordinance, a person less than 21 years of age shall not purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor, consume or attempt to consume alcoholic liquor, or possess or attempt to possess alcoholic liquor.
      Furnishing or Using Fraudulent Identification [Section 131.09]
      A person who furnishes fraudulent identification to a person less than 21 years of age is guilty of a misdemeanor. A person, who uses fraudulent identification to purchase alcoholic liquor, or to enter a business where alcoholic liquor is sold, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    • Michigan State Laws

      Driving Under the Influence
      A person shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, nor shall the owner of a vehicle authorize the operation of a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles if either . . . (a) the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substance . . . (b) the person has an alcohol content of 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.
      Driving While Impaired
      A person shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, when, due to the consumption of an intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance, the person’s ability to operate the vehicle is visibly impaired.
      Minor Driving With Any Bodily Alcohol Content
      A person who is less than 21 years of age shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles if the person has any bodily alcohol content. A person found in violation shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by community service for not more than 45 days and/or a fine of not more than $250.

      Legal Sanctions 
      There are legal sanctions under the state and federal law, for the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol and other drugs. Sanctions for violations of state and federal law may result in punishment for a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the nature of the crime. In the State of Michigan, the Michigan Controlled Substances Act #368 of 1978 lists a range of sanctions from up to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines or both for misdemeanor convictions, to up to mandatory life in prison and up to $75,000 in fines for felony convictions. Under the Federal Narcotics, Penalties and Enforcement’s Act of 1986 Federal trafficking penalties range from not more than one year in jail or $100,000 in fines for first offense violations, and up to life imprisonment with fines of not more than $4,000,000 for repeat offenders or more serious violations.

      Summaries detailing both Michigan law and Federal trafficking penalties will be available for employee or student review in the Office of Human Resource Development, the Counseling Center, the Office of Public Safety, the Office of Student Conduct, and FLITE.

    • Student Policies and University Sanctions

      Individual Students 
      Consistent with State and Federal Law, the University prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of alcohol and other drugs. The University also places limitations on the use and possession of alcohol on campus, above and beyond legal standards. Individual students who are found in violation of University policies, guidelines, or expectations with regard to alcohol and other drugs are subject to discipline, pursuant to established University procedures.

      Student Groups
      Student organizations are expected to follow all guidelines outlined in the Registered Student Organization Handbook. A violation of University policies, guidelines or expectations can result in both individual and group discipline, pursuant to established University procedures.

      University Sanctions 
      Ferris State University will impose sanctions on employees and students (consistent with local, state and federal law, and within applicable collective bargaining agreements) for violations of the standards of conduct, as expressed in any University regulations. Sanctions resulting from employee or student violations of these standards of conduct will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination for employees and dismissal for students. In addition, for both employees and students, the sanctions may include referral to appropriate authorities for prosecution of violations of stated policies.

      Student sanctions in the Ferris State University Code of Community Standards Administrative Policies and Procedures specifically include administrative warnings, behavioral contracts, disciplinary probation, suspension from the University, or dismissal from the University without opportunity to enroll in the future. In addition, these include the opportunity for other sanctions to be imposed, such as the requirement of reimbursement for damages, loss of special privileges, or participation in campus provided educational programs.

      The University considers involvement in the student disciplinary process to be part of a student’s learning experience. Through a system of progressive discipline, it is anticipated that a student will realize the importance of functioning within the University’s policies, procedures, and regulations. Though every case involving the violation of University policies or procedures is considered on the basis of the merits in that case, there are some categories of violations for which the anticipated sanction would be suspension or dismissal from the University. Such serious infractions include, but are not limited to, the distribution of alcohol to minors, distribution of illegal drugs or the use, possession, or distribution of alcohol or illegal drugs that result in a serious safety or health matter for any member of the campus or local community.

      Policy Distribution 

      This Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs shall be distributed to students through the Code of Community Standards and through the Ferris State University home page [www.ferris.edu] on the World Wide Web.

      Campus Crime Hotline

      The Ferris State Department of Public Safety has a Campus Crime Hotline to make it easier to report crime or suspicious activity on our campus. Callers may remain anonymous and have a simple code number for their own reference. This gives the community of law-abiding citizens the opportunity to anonymously report any information they have about criminal or suspicious activity.

      For more information or to report an alcohol or other drug related crime or suspicious activity, call the Campus Crime Hotline at (231) 591-5900.