2024-2025 Catalog

Alcohol and Drugs

On December 12, 1989, Congress amended Title XII of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The amendment, known as the “Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989,” requires every educational institution that receives federal funding to certify its adoption and implementation of programs designed to prevent the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees.

BCC, in accordance with legal mandates and its philosophy of establishing and maintaining an environment of learning and a supportive climate in which to conduct the business and mission of the College, enforces the following policies:

  • The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of alcohol, or a controlled substance, is prohibited on the campus of BCC or as part of any college- related activity. Students or employees who violate these restrictions shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including, suspension, expulsion or discharge and shall also be subject to referral for criminal prosecution. Where students or employees are convicted of violating a criminal drug or alcohol statute related to a college activity, the College shall ordinarily expel or discharge the offender absent mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances shall include, but shall not be limited to, considerations or handicap under federal and state law.
  • BCC shall cooperate in the enforcement of federal and state laws concerning illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages. Massachusetts statutes pertaining to illegal drugs and alcohol include: 
    • Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 272, Section 59 (Public Drinking)
    • Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 24 (Operating Under the Influence, Open Containers)
    • Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94C (Controlled Substances Act)
  • Prescribed penalties under Chapter 94 range from mandatory probation for a first conviction for possession of a class E substance, e.g. marijuana, to a period of imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of two thousand dollars for each subsequent conviction related to sale or distribution. Prescribed penalties under Chapter 90, Section 24 range from a fine of $100 to imprisonment for not more than two years and a fine of $1000. Federal judicial guidelines also exist which suggest penalties for violation of federal criminal statutes related to drugs and alcohol.
  • Under-age drinking is prohibited at BCC functions and on any part of the campus.
  • Alcohol may not be served, consumed, or furnished at any BCC student event either on or off any of its facilities. The exception is the Hospitality Administration and Culinary Arts program dinners. Club or activity advisors, or other appropriate college officials, should take all reasonable steps to insure that alcohol is not available during, or en-route to, a college-sponsored event.
  • Employees working under federally funded grants are additionally subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.
    • Employees convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace must notify the Vice President for Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer of Berkshire Community College no later than five (5) days after such conviction. Such notification must be in writing.
    • The College shall notify the appropriate federal agency within ten (10) days after receiving notice from the employee regarding such conviction. Such notification will be in writing.
    • The College, within thirty (30) days of receiving notice, with respect to any employee who is convicted, will:
      • Take appropriate disciplinary action against the employee, up to and including termination of employment; or
      • Require such employee to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by a federal, state, or local health, law enforcement or other appropriate agency. For more information go to www.berkshirecc.edu\personalcounseling
  • The College will present campus-wide drug and alcohol education literature on an annual basis. This is in addition to other educational opportunities available in current or future offerings.
  • The following medical risks are associated with drug and alcohol use:
    • Overdose -- An overdose can happen due to uncertain purity, strength or even type of drugs one gets illegally. It can also happen due to increased tolerance, because one needs increased dosages to achieve the same effect. An overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma or death. While the risks of drug overdose are more common and frequently more severe, extreme quantities of alcohol can similarly result in psychosis, convulsions, coma or death.
    • Dependence -- Continued use of drugs and alcohol can lead to a psychological and/or physical need for them.
    • Ill Health -- Long term drug or alcohol use can destroy a healthy body and mind. Generally, drug or alcohol abuse can lead to organic damage, mental illness, malnutrition, failure to get treatment for existing diseases or injuries, and even to death. Chronic drinking also has been associated with increased rates for heart disease, liver damage, ulcers and gastritis, and adrenal and pituitary gland damage. Injection of drugs presents special risks of getting AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. Drug and alcohol use can also affect the health of a child in the womb and result in birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, drug dependency or death. Because the quantity of alcohol likely to injure a developing fetus is unknown, the United States Surgeon General has specifically counseled women not to drink any alcohol during pregnancy.
    • Accidents -- When drugs and alcohol affect an individual's perception and/or reaction time, accidents become more likely.
  • The College shall conduct a biennial review of these policies and programs and implement changes as necessary.
  • For any member of the Berkshire Community College community who is experiencing substance use issues, BCC stands ready to offer supportive services and referral for treatment, as appropriate and available. Information concerning substance use and treatment/recovery programs is available at the Student Support Center or Human Resources, located in the Susan B. Anthony College Center.