Policies, Workplace Requirements and Disciplinary Proceedings

Illegal or abusive use of drugs or alcohol can adversely affect the educational environment and prevent a person from achieving personal, social, and educational goals. The University has had a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program for faculty, staff, and students since 1987 that addresses substance abuse through education and, when appropriate, through referral or disciplinary action. Since then, the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, the Drug Free Schools and Communities Amendments of 1989, and the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 have established certain federal reporting and information distribution requirements designed to combat drug and alcohol abuse.

The University’s Alcohol Policy establishes rules on student alcohol use and possession, additional rules for recognized student groups, and University consequences for violations of those rules. Regarding North Carolina alcohol laws, the policy notes that “It is against the law for any person under twenty-one (21) to purchase or possess any alcoholic beverage” and further that “It is against the law for anyone to sell or give any alcoholic beverage to a person under twenty-one (21) or to aid or abet such person in selling, purchasing or possessing any alcoholic beverage.” The policy also contains a medical amnesty provision. Copies are also available at the Office of Student Affairs. The Fraternity and Sorority Alcohol Policy, is an addendum to the University’s Alcohol Policy.

The Alcohol Policy also provides guidance on serving alcohol at events on campus and restricts the service of alcohol in accordance with North Carolina law.

The Board of Trustees’ Policy on Illegal Drugs is part of the University’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program. All students, faculty, and staff are responsible for knowing about and complying with this policy. Those responsibilities include being aware of and complying with state laws that make it a crime to possess, sell, deliver, or manufacture drugs designated collectively as “controlled substances” in Article 5 of Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes. These substances include cocaine, amphetamines, anabolic steroids, marijuana, and other drugs. Any University community member who violates those laws may be subject both to prosecution and punishment by civil authorities and to disciplinary proceedings by the University. Copies of the full text of the policy are available at the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Human Resources, and online.
Federal legislation also requires, as a condition of employment, that any faculty, staff member, or student assistant engaged in the performance of a federal grant or contract must abide by the University’s drug policy and, if he or she is convicted of a violation of any criminal drug statute in the workplace, must give written notice of that conviction to his or her dean, director, or department chair within five days thereafter. The dean, director, or chair should forward any such reports to the University’s Vice Chancellor and General Counsel.
Disciplinary proceedings against a student, faculty or staff member, or other employee will be initiated under the University’s Policy on Illegal Drugs when the alleged conduct is deemed to affect the interests of the University. Penalties will be imposed for violation of the policy only in accordance with the University’s existing procedural safeguards that are applicable to all disciplinary actions against students, faculty or staff members, and other employees.

Possible penalties for violations of the Policy on Illegal Drugs range from written warnings with probationary status to expulsion from enrollment and discharge from employment. On-the-job drug or alcohol impairment or any possession or use of alcohol on campus other than that authorized by the policies noted above are not consistent with these policies and will be addressed appropriately through established faculty and staff disciplinary procedures.

  • Sale of amphetamines (including methamphetamine), cocaine, GHB, heroin, LSD, MDMA, opium, oxycodone, or psilocybin:
    • Student expulsion and employee discharge.
  • Illegal possession of these drugs
    • First offense: suspension from enrollment or employment for at least one semester. Because the Policy on Illegal Drugs requires, at a minimum, a longer suspension without pay than State Personnel Commission regulations allow, the penalty for a first offense committed by an SPA employee is discharge.
    • Second offense: sanctions up to expulsion for students and discharge for employees.
  • Sale of anabolic steroids or marijuana
    • First offense: suspension from enrollment or employment for at least one semester. Because of State Personnel Commission rules, SPA employees will be discharged.
    • Second offense: student expulsion and employee discharge.
  • Illegal possession of these drugs
    • First offense: Probation. Possible conditions of probation include drug education and counseling, regular drug testing, and other appropriate conditions.
      • If a student or employee fails to comply with probation conditions: suspension for the balance of the probation period. Because of State Personnel Commission rules, if the balance of an SPA employee’s probation period exceeds one work week, he/she will be discharged.
    • Subsequent offenses: progressively more severe penalties, including expulsion and discharge.
  • Employee violations of alcohol possession/sale of alcohol rules
    • Disciplinary action up to and including termination.
  • Student and student-organization violations of alcohol possession/sale of alcohol rules
    • For alcohol possession violations, students will be held accountable for the violation and will face a probationary period, referral to Wellness Services for Tar Heel BASICS, and possible restitution or community service. For repeat or egregious violations including sale of alcohol or provision of alcohol to minors, students may face additional disciplinary sanctions, including suspension from the University. For violations occurring in University Housing, students may receive additional Housing sanctions. Student organizations face revocation of their University recognition.
Legal consequences for the illegal possession or sale of controlled substances vary depending on the amount of the controlled substance.

North Carolina has structured sentencing, with judges permitted to impose a sentence within a prescribed range, depending on the class of the offense, the number of prior convictions for the individual defendant, and whether there were aggravating or mitigating factors in the circumstances of the offense. The sentences below represent the maximum possible sentence under North Carolina law for possession and sale of the listed drugs:

  • Sale of Amphetamine, Cocaine, GHB, Heroin, LSD, MDMA, Methamphetamine, Oxycodone, Opium, Psilocybin:
    • 47 months imprisonment and fine
  • Sale of anabolic steroids, barbiturates, marijuana:
    • 47 months imprisonment and fine
  • Possession of GHB, Heroin, LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin:
    • 39 months imprisonment and fine
  • Possession of more than 100 dosage units of anabolic steroids, barbiturates, Opium, Oxycodone:
    • 24 months imprisonment and fine
  • Possession of any amount of amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine:
    • 24 months imprisonment and fine
  • Possession of marijuana:
    • Less than ½ ounce – 20 days imprisonment and fine
    • More than ½ ounce – 120 days imprisonment and fine
    • More than 1 ½ ounces – 24 months imprisonment and fine
A student convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving any grant, loan, or work assistance will not be eligible for any federal grant, loan, or work assistance from the date of that conviction for the period of time set forth below.

  • Possession of a controlled substance:
    • First offense: Ineligible for one year
    • Second offense: Ineligible for two years
    • Third offense: Ineligible for an indefinite period of time
  • Sale of a controlled substance:
    • First offense: Ineligible for two years
    • Second offense: Ineligible for an indefinite period of time.

A student whose eligibility for aid has been suspended may regain eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period if:

  • The student satisfactorily completes a drug rehabilitation program that complies with criteria established by the Secretary of Education and passes two unannounced drug tests; or
  • The student’s conviction is reversed or set aside.

The Federal Student Aid website can help in determining when someone may be eligible for aid again.

There is help available for those who seek it. Student Wellness — 919-962-9355 — provides Tar Heel BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) on a referral basis for students who violate the student alcohol policy, or on a self-referral basis, for any student who may be questioning their alcohol use patterns. Additionally, Student Wellness provides referral assistance to students and their families for local substance abuse counselors, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs), and Inpatient Treatment Programs. Student Wellness also offers mentorship and social support for students in recovery from substance abuse through the Carolina Recovery Community.

Counseling and Psychological Services — 919-966-3658 — offers clinical assessments, brief counseling, and referrals for students seeking help for substance abuse problems.

UNC Health Care’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program offers clinical assessments, comprehensive DUI services, intensive outpatient counseling, and group support. They can be accessed by calling 919-966-6039.

The University’s Employee Assistance Program — 877-314-5841 (24 hours a day) — provides assessment, referrals and online EAP resources for employees and their family members. Local community mental health agencies and personal physicians can identify treatment resources, and information and assistance also are available from local chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Information on Health Risks

There is help available for those who seek it. Student Wellness — (919-962-9355 and https://studentwellness.unc.edu/) — provides Tar Heel BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) on a referral basis for students who violate the student alcohol policy, or on a self-referral basis, for any student who may be questioning their alcohol use patterns. Additionally, Student Wellness provides referral assistance to students and their families for local substance abuse counselors, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs), and Inpatient Treatment Programs. Student Wellness also offers mentorship and social support for students in recovery from substance abuse through the Carolina Recovery Community. Counseling and Psychological Services —(919-966-3658 and https://caps.unc.edu/) — offers clinical assessments, brief counseling, and referrals for students seeking help for substance abuse problems. UNC Health Care’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program offers clinical assessments, comprehensive DUI services, intensive outpatient counseling, and group support and can be accessed by calling 919-966-6039. The University’s Employee Assistance Program, 877-314-5841 (24 hours a day), provides assessment and referrals for employees and their family members. Online EAP resources are available. Local community mental health agencies and personal physicians can identify treatment resources, and information and assistance also are available from local chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

This depressant slows down the heart, nervous system, and brain, and high doses of alcohol can cause someone to stop breathing. Prolonged immoderate use can cause artery disease, heart failure, and liver damage including cancer, cirrhosis, and hepatitis. Women may develop alcohol-related health problems sooner than men, and from drinking less alcohol than men. Because alcohol affects nearly every organ in the body, long-term heavy drinking increases the risk for many serious health problems. More information is available.
Marijuana has various risks associated with use, whether inhaled or ingested with food. Evidence indicates it can affect brain development in teens and young adults. In the short-term, it causes problems with short term memory and learning, distorts perception (sights and sounds), and causes poor coordination and decision making. It has been known to contain more than 400 chemicals and has 2 ½ times as much tar as tobacco. Because it decreases concentration and learning abilities, marijuana is particularly detrimental to students.

Research shows that marijuana users experience the same health problems as tobacco smokers, such as bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, and throat and lung cancer; tend to have more chest colds than non-users; and are at greater risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per day may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day. Other effects include increased heart rate, dryness of the mouth, reddening of the eyes, and impaired motor skills. Long term use is associated with depression, anxiety, and loss of motivation. More information is available.

Steroids have side effects ranging from insomnia to death. Using them increases the risk of cancer and cardiovascular, kidney, and liver disease. Users may exhibit mood swings that include aggressive, combative behavior, and use may cause impotence, sterility, or fetal damage. More information is available.
These drugs can cause acute psychoses and malnutrition. They also can make a user nervous, hyperactive, and sleepless and can elevate pulse rate and blood pressure as well as exacerbate symptoms of anxiety. More information is available.
Meth is a highly addictive drug that targets the functioning of the central nervous system. Short term effects include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, hypothermia, irritability, paranoia, insomnia, confusion, tremors, and aggressiveness. Long-term health effects include irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, stroke, severe reduction in motor skills with symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, impaired verbal learning, memory impairment, and decreased ability to regulate emotions. Many of the long term effects persist after use of the drug is discontinued. More information is available.

Both physiologically and psychologically addictive, these drugs can cause death in high doses. Infants born to barbiturate users may suffer congenital deformities.  Other effects include nausea, dizziness, lethargy, allergic reactions, and possible breathing difficulties. More information is available.

Anyone who uses cocaine – even a first-time user – may have seizures, heart fibrillation, and strokes that can result in death.  Habitual users experience irritability, paranoia, and hallucinations. Use causes tumors, chronic fatigue, dangerous weight loss, sexual impotence, and insomnia and affects respiration, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. More information is available.

An overdose of these psychologically and physiologically addictive drugs can cause death through suppression of central nervous systems including breathing.  Users feel sluggish and fall asleep at inappropriate and dangerous times. Intravenous users risk contracting Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other infections. More information is available.
LSD causes hallucinations, perception distortions, and anxiety. Users cannot function normally and are accident-prone. LSD also can cause elevated body temperature and respiration and a rapid heartbeat. More information is available.
This drug produces both stimulant and psychedelic effects including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, nervousness, and hyperactivity. Because users may experience feelings of increased confidence, sensitivity, arousal, and confusion, use of Ecstasy makes them more vulnerable to crime, especially robbery, sexual assault, and other unwanted sexual encounters. More information is available.
These drugs are chemically similar to heroin and opium. Although they can be safe and effective treatments for pain when prescribed by a doctor and used as directed, they are psychologically and physiologically addictive and overdose and death through misuse is possible. Because of their medical uses, these drugs are frequently manufactured in a time-release (sustained-release, long-acting, extended-release) form. If users circumvent the time-release formulation, they may take a larger dose than intended, overdose, and suffer serious complications or death. Combining opioids with alcohol or other drugs significantly increases the risk to life and well-being. More information is available.
These drugs are chemically similar to amphetamines. Although they are safe and effective treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when prescribed by a doctor and used as directed, they are powerful stimulants and can be addictive. Because of their medical uses, these drugs are frequently manufactured in a time-release (sustained-release, long-acting, extended-release) form. If users circumvent the time-release formulation, they may take a larger dose than intended, overdose, and suffer complications or death. More information is available.