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Student Handbook

Drug Use and Paraphernalia Violations

Drug Use and Paraphernalia Violations

Marijuana is an illegal substance and is prohibited. Any student who is found to be in possession of or using marijuana will face disciplinary action and possible criminal charges. Water pipes, bongs, hookahs, and other paraphernalia commonly associated with drug use are also prohibited.

Although the State of Maryland has decriminalized the possession of marijuana in amounts less than 10 grams and has legalized the use of medical marijuana in certain cases, the possession and use of marijuana on Washington College’s campus continues to be prohibited by federal law (the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989). If Washington College fails to comply with federal law, it could become ineligible for federal funding and financial aid programs for its students. Thus, possession and use of marijuana, including medical use, continue to be prohibited at Washington College including in residence halls, on college property, or at off-campus events sponsored by the college.

First violation/low-level violations 

A first violation will be reviewed by the Honor Board and may result in a minimum of one semester of probation and demonstration of successful completion of a substance abuse education requirement or similar activity.

Second or subsequent violation/first serious violation

Serious first violations will be reviewed by the Honor Board and may result in more serious sanctions, including suspension for a semester or more, evidence of substance abuse counseling or other appropriate learning and development activity while away, and a two-semester or more period of probation upon return. Students reported for a second or subsequent violation of College policy during the period of probation will be referred to the Honor Board and face possible suspension or, for repeated or serious violations, expulsion from the College. In all cases, students should be aware that violations involving controlled dangerous substances (CDS) may be reported to local authorities who may file charges independently in the local court system.

Possible sanctions that may be considered:

  • Fines
  • Probation for a semester or extension of existing probation
  • Substance abuse education activity or community service followed by a reflection paper
  • Change in the housing assignment
  • Restriction to classes and class-related activities (prohibited from attending social activities, entering the Student Center, residence halls, etc.)
  • Suspension from the College for a semester for a moderate to serious violation committed while on probation
  • Suspension for two semesters or longer or expulsion for repeated violations while on probation or for a very serious violation while on probation

Typical Notifications:

  • Parent/guardian notification
  • Associate Provost notification
  • If a student is a varsity athlete - athletic coach and Athletic Department staff notified
  • If a student is a Greek organization member - Director of Student Engagement notified

In addition to the possible sanctions listed above, students should also be aware of other potential consequences of drug-related convictions through the court system. If a student is convicted of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs, under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), the student is ineligible for federal student aid funds. A drug-related conviction might also affect a student’s:

  • Eligibility to participate in a study abroad program
  • Eligibility for employment
  • Ability to acquire certification to work in fields of education, recreation, and with senior citizens
  • Ability to acquire professional licensure (i.e., counseling, law, health care professions, etc.)

All students should be aware that current federal statutes permit notification of parents/legal guardians of a student’s violation of College alcohol policy. Both designated College administrators and the Honor Board may recommend to the Vice President for Student Affairs that parental/legal guardian notification occur. The Vice President for Student Affairs will make a final determination of the appropriateness of notification. The Vice President for Student Affairs may also notify parents/legal guardians without a designated College administrator’s or Honor Board’s recommendation when the situation warrants notification. Each student should be prepared that parental/legal guardian notification may occur if an underage student is reported for a violation of the College alcohol or other drug policies.