Students and employees are reminded that members of the community differ in their convictions about the use of alcohol. Some have formulated positions which require them to abstain from its use. Others have not. Therefore, students and employees are requested to consider the consciences of others in the seminary. Those who abstain from alcohol use are requested not to condemn those who do not abstain from its use. Those who have not formulated positions requiring abstinence are requested to apply restraint whenever prudence or concern for another warrants it. In the interests of these sensitivities, alcoholic beverages and their consumption are prohibited on campus and at the Bookstore’s leased location.
Illicit drugs are strictly prohibited. The seminary will cooperate fully with local police in prosecuting offenders who possess, use, or sell drugs. The seminary has adopted strict disciplinary sanctions regarding possession, use, or sale of illicit drugs.
Any student or employee who unlawfully possesses, uses or distributes illicit drugs or alcohol will be subject to criminal sanctions provided by federal, state, and local law in accordance with the Controlled Substance Act. The sanctions under the federal Controlled Substances Act include imprisonment of up to life and fines for each violation. Under the Pennsylvania Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act, a person may be imprisoned for up to 15 years or fined up to $250,000 for each violation.
For updated information regarding the federal Controlled Substance Act, and penalties for the possession and trafficking of illicit drugs, please visit the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s web address (http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/csa.html). For information regarding the Pennsylvania Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device and Cosmetic Act, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's website (http://www.health.state.pa.us/pdf/ddc/ddcAct.pdf).
The seminary considers a violation of the drug and alcohol policy serious and, subject to applicable law, will take the following appropriate actions itself in response to a violation:
- Any student or employee convicted by a court of law of being under the influence of alcohol, on- or off-campus, shall be given an immediate warning. A subsequent offense of the same nature, at any time, is sufficient cause for a three-year probation. Counseling may be required as a condition of continuing enrollment/employment. A subsequent offense of any nature, whether described or not described in this Policy, warranting probation which coincides with the probation described for this offense, is sufficient cause for termination of enrollment/employment after due process.
- Any student or employee convicted by a court of law of being under the influence of illicit drugs or of illicit possession or distribution of alcohol, on- or off-campus, shall be immediately placed upon a three-year probation and may be required to seek counseling as a condition of continuing enrollment/employment. A subsequent offense of the same nature, or of another nature, described in this section or not described in this section, warranting probation which coincides with the probation prescribed for this offense, is sufficient cause for termination of enrollment/employment after due process.
- Any student or employee observed, by two or more witnesses, to be in possession of alcoholic beverage in any seminary building or consuming alcoholic beverage on seminary property shall be given an immediate warning. A subsequent offense of the same nature, at any time, is sufficient cause for a three-year probation and counseling may be required as a condition of continuing enrollment/employment. A subsequent offense of any nature, described in this section or not described in this section, warranting probation which coincides with the probation prescribed for this offense, is sufficient cause for termination of enrollment/employment after due process.
- Any student or employee observed to be in possession of illicit drugs, on- or off-campus, shall be reported to law enforcement authorities. The Seminary will cooperate fully in lawful prosecution, including testimony with regard to any accused in a court of law. Any student or employee arrested for such an offense may be suspended until proven guilty or innocent by a court of law. Any student or employee subsequently convicted of possession of illicit drugs shall have his or her enrollment/employment immediately terminated upon due process.
All employees of Westminster Theological Seminary must, as a condition of employment, abide by the terms of this policy, submit to drug and alcohol testing as requested, and report any conviction under a criminal drug statute for violations occurring on or off seminary premises while conducting seminary business. A report of a conviction must be made to Human Resources within five days after the conviction. This requirement is mandated by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.
Health Risks Associated with the Use of Illicit Drugs and Alcohol
Please see the health risk information from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency at (http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/drugs_of_abuse.pdf).
Further Effects of Alcohol
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 have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Education and Prevention Programs
The seminary annually distributes to all students and employees information about the physical and psychological dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a summary of legal sanctions. If an employee recognizes a personal addiction or abuse problem, he or she is encouraged to use the seminary’s health insurance plans, as appropriate, to address his or her problem. Conscientious efforts to seek help for an alcohol or substance abuse problem will not be noted in personnel records. In addition, the confidential nature of the employee’s counseling and rehabilitation for drug and/or alcohol abuse will be preserved. The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) is available to counsel and refer resources to anyone with need in this area.
Westminster Theological Seminary has established an agreement with the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) for the initial counseling of any student or employee who needs help to overcome drug/alcohol abuse/addiction. The Seminary will pay the cost of the initial visit and the student or employee will be responsible for subsequent visits. CCEF may refer the student or employee to another provider of services for inpatient or outpatient treatment. Most services are provided by social workers, psychologists or psychiatrists at private offices, and clinics or hospitals. Services generally fall into one or more of the following categories: (1) counseling/therapy; (2) detoxification/treatment; and (3) rehabilitation/re-entry. Some of these services may be at least partially covered by one’s health insurance.
Biennially, the Student Development Office will review the drug and alcohol policy and seminary prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. As part of the review, it will do the following:
- Determine the effectiveness of the drug and alcohol policy and seminary prevention of abuse and implement needed changes
- Determine the number of drug- and alcohol-related violations and fatalities that occur on the seminary campus, at the seminary bookstore, and as part of seminary activities and are reported to seminary officials
- Determine the number and type of sanctions imposed
- Ensure sanctions are consistently enforced.
This review will be provided upon request to the public.