University of Saint Mary, as a Catholic liberal arts university, seeks to maintain an atmosphere conducive to the pursuit of learning and to a healthy and wholesome social environment.  University of Saint Mary considers its students to be adults who will comply with its Alcohol and Other Drug policy (AOD) and federal, state, and local law regulating alcohol and drug use. 

The university, however, attempts to educate members of the university community as to the health risks associated with alcohol and drugs and the effects of alcohol and drug use and abuse on themselves, their families, their friends, and their colleagues.  USM also tries to teach students to be responsible for their behavior and make them aware of the effects of their behavior on others within and outside of the university community.  USM also provides confidential counseling service for alcohol and drug-related problems where needed.  In keeping with the laws of the United States Government, the State of Kansas, and the City of Leavenworth, University of Saint Mary establishes these policies regarding alcohol and drugs. 

Current Law

In the State of Kansas, the legal drinking age is 21. Consumption of alcohol by a minor is punishable by a minimum $200 fine.  Furnishing alcohol to a minor is also punishable by a minimum $200 fine.  Violation of Kansas drinking law can result in increased fines and incarceration.  A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also result in fines in excess of $500, community service, mandatory treatment programs, license revocation, and/or incarceration.

In the State of Kansas, it is also illegal to be involved with controlled substances, including prescription drugs obtained or used contrary to the prescription.  Violation of the Kansas drug laws also may result in incarceration and substantial fines. 

The university voluntarily complies with the substantive provisions of the federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1994, which prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by all students on the property of University of Saint Mary or as part of any educational program or activity. 

Federal law contains other laws regulating drugs and controlled substances.  Under federal law, illegal possession of a controlled substance can result in a fine of at least $1,000 and up to one year imprisonment for a first offense.  Penalties increase when an offender has been convicted of prior drug-related offenses.  Illegal possession of a controlled substance can also result in the forfeiture of property, civil fines, and the loss of federal benefits.  Trafficking controlled substances can also lead to substantial fines and lengthy prison sentences, including life in prison. Conviction for violation of federal drug laws may also result in loss of federal aid for financing education. The City of Leavenworth regulates alcoholic beverages including places of public consumption.  Conviction for violation of the Leavenworth Ordinances can result in fines and incarceration. 

More details on federal, state, and local drug and alcohol law can be obtained in consultation with Campus Safety and Security.

Health Risks

Abuse of alcohol and use of drugs is harmful to one’s physical, mental and social well-being. Accidents and injuries are more likely to occur if alcohol and drugs are used. Alcohol and drug users can lose resistance to disease and destroy their health. Tolerance and psychological dependence can develop after sustained use of drugs.

Alcoholism is the number one drug problem in the United States. Alcoholism takes a toll on personal finances, health, social relationships and families. It can have significant legal consequences. Abuse of alcohol or use of drugs may cause an individual driving a motor vehicle to injure others and may subject the abuser to criminal prosecution. Drunk drivers are responsible for more than half of all traffic fatalities.

More specifically, the major categories of drugs are listed below and include the significant health risks of each.

AMPHETAMINES - Physical dependency, heart problems, infections, malnutrition and death may result from continued high doses of amphetamines.

NARCOTICS - Chronic use of narcotics can cause lung damage, convulsions, respiratory paralysis and death.

DEPRESSANTS - These drugs, such as tranquilizers and alcohol, can produce slowed reactions, slowed heart rate, damage to liver and heart, respiratory arrest, convulsions and accidental overdoses.

HALLUCINOGENS - may cause psychosis, convulsions, coma and psychological dependency.
University Regulation of Alcohol

Students are prohibited from being intoxicated while on university property or attending a university-sponsored or university-financed function or while holding themselves out as representatives of the university. Behaviors indicative of intoxication include such things as staggering, strong odor of alcohol or other drug, incoherence, lack of judgment, or unconsciousness (passed out) or other behaviors which indicate the use or influence of alcohol or other drugs. 

A “minor in possession” is defined as a person of less than 21 years of age who has in their possession (for example, car, room, or person) containers of alcoholic beverage.  A minor whose breath smells of alcohol will also be considered “in possession.” 

“Juice parties” or gatherings at which the alcoholic beverages are combined into one container and commonly shared by those in attendance are not acceptable behavior.  Kegs are not allowed for student use at the University of Saint Mary under any circumstances. 

Social Event Alcohol Permit Forms

Permission to serve or consume alcoholic beverages at events where students may be offered or served alcoholic beverages in public areas of the university such as social rooms, dining hall, campus picnic areas, academic departments, offices, the circle fountain, or at university-sponsored or university-financed events must be obtained from the vice president for student life or designee prior to the event.  Alcohol for such events must be served and distributed by a third party vendor.  USM students, faculty, or staff may not serve alcohol to students. For on-campus events or at university-sponsored or university-financed events, request permission by completing and submitting a Social Event Alcohol Permit Form which is available in the Student Life Office.  The Social Event Alcohol Permit Form must be submitted at least fifteen (15) business days prior to the event. Grant or denial of permission to serve alcoholic beverages at a social event is at the discretion of the vice president for student life or president.  Alcoholic beverages are never allowed or consumed at university-sponsored athletic events whether the event is held inside or outside, on or off campus. 

University Regulation of Other Drugs

University of Saint Mary prohibits the manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, sale, transfer, or use of any illicit or illegal drug or controlled substance, including without limitation, marijuana and cannabis-derived material, opium and its derivatives, hallucinogens, amphetamines or methamphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine or crack, and prescription medications illegally obtained.  Any student violating this policy will be subject to university disciplinary procedures.  Any illicit/illegal drugs, or controlled substances and drug paraphernalia, will be confiscated by the university.  Prescription drugs not used in conformity with the prescription are considered illicit or illegal drugs under this policy.  The university cooperates with local law enforcement in these matters. 

  • Marijuana

  • Synthetically derived cannabis materials (e.g. K2, Head Trip, Spice, etc...)

  • Salvia divinorum, in any form

  • Bath salts

  • Opium

  • Hallucinogens

  • Amphetamines

  • Methamphetamines

  • Barbiturates

  • Cocaine/Crack

  • Prescription medications illegally obtained (either unlabeled prescription bottle or name on the bottle does not match student’s name)

  • Any other types of drugs that are used for their unintended purpose “to achieve a high or elevated state of awareness”

All drugs and drug paraphernalia will be confiscated by the university and turned over to law officials.  Any student violating this policy will be subject to university Student Conduct Disciplinary Procedures.  The university cooperates with local law enforcement in these matters. 

Students are prohibited from being under the influence of drugs while on university property or attending a university-sponsored or university-financed functions or while holding themselves out as representatives of the university.  “Under the influence of drugs” is defined as displaying behavior such as staggering, glassy eyes, strong odor of banned substances, incoherence, lack of judgment, unconsciousness (passed out), or other behaviors which indicate the use or influence of drugs.  Residence Life reserves the right to bring in law enforcement officers and canines to inspect residence halls without notice. 

Marijuana is not legal in the State of Kansas.  The State of Kansas, local law enforcement authorities, and USM do not recognize medical marijuana cards issued by other states.  Possessing a medical marijuana card from another state does not make it legal to use marijuana in the State of Kansas or at USM. 


A student may be required to undergo a drug or alcohol screening (i.e. blood test, breath test, hair test, urinalysis, or gas chromatography mass spectrometry) if, in the judgment of the vice president for student life, or his/her designees, the student is in violation of the university’s Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) policies.  Payment for such screening is the responsibility of the student.  While a USM student, a positive drug test will always result in disciplinary actions.  Failure of the student to submit to any alcohol or drug screening on request as provided by the AOD policies will be considered an additional violation of this AOD policy and admission of guilt. 

Consequences for AOD Policy Violation

Violations of the AOD Policy will be addressed pursuant to the Student Conduct Disciplinary Procedures.  Along with any other appropriate sanctions, consequences of a violation of the university AOD policy may include one or more of the following:

  • Required attendance and completion of a drug or alcohol education course;

  • Rehabilitation;

  • Treatment program satisfactory to the university;

  • Required periodic alcohol and drug screening ;

  • Reporting the matter to appropriate law enforcement authorities, which, in any event, may be required in some cases involving violations of federal, state, or local alcohol or drug-related laws;

  • Disciplinary fines and sanctions up to and including dismissal from the university which will effectuate appropriate resolution;

  • Disciplinary probation which could result in extra-curricular activity suspension, including athletics.

A student may be required to present a statement of successful or continued successful participation in drug or alcohol rehabilitation satisfactory to the university and further drug and alcohol screening as a condition of continued enrollment.  The cost of such rehabilitation, including communications between the drug or alcohol rehabilitation provider and the university and all drug and alcohol screenings, is the responsibility of the student.  Violations of the university AOD policy by a student-athlete are reported to the athletic director. 

As permitted by law, the university also reserves the right to release information about alcohol or drug related disciplinary violations to parents of students. 

Smoking and Tobacco Policy

To promote a safe and healthy USM environment, smoking, and the use of smokeless tobacco is not permitted in any university building.  This also includes “spit bottles.” Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco is permitted on campus outdoors with a minimum distance of 25 feet from entrances, windows, air intake areas of all buildings and designated spectator and participant areas of outdoor campus events. 

The university does not allow tobacco use by students under 18 years of age and guests of members of the university community who are under 18 years of age while on university property or participating in a university-sponsored event or activity.  Violation of the smoking and tobacco policy will result in university Student Conduct Disciplinary Procedures. 

Revised:  08/05/2014