The College prohibits the use of alcohol at all College-sponsored student events, and on campus grounds, defined as College-owned property and facilities, and including College-owned student housing, but excluding private residences.
The College does not seek to regulate the personal use of alcohol off campus by faculty, students of legal drinking age and staff. However, the College does expect all community members to observe relevant laws under all circumstances, notably the proscription against serving alcohol to minors.
Leaders and participants of off-campus programs are encouraged to discuss carefully, as a group, the educational opportunities and challenges that arise when living in a culture whose prevailing attitudes, laws and expectations about alcohol use may be different from our own. Off-campus programs should develop group understandings of how best to balance the need to participate appropriately in a foreign culture, to respect the sensibilities of individual group members, and to best represent the Earlham community in other parts of the world.
Violations of the alcohol policy may result in judicial action by the College and/or criminal prosecution.
Many who live and work at the College are 21 years of age or older and therefore legally permitted to make responsible choices about whether to drink and whether to serve alcohol to others. For this reason, some have argued that the campus alcohol policy ought to acknowledge that group’s legal right to drink by permitting alcohol on campus.
There are several responses to this argument.
First, on educational grounds we feel that it is right to seek to provide an alcohol-free environment on campus for the entire community. Doing so gives students and other community members a clear opportunity to consciously consider or reconsider how important a role they wish to give alcohol in their lives.
Second, a policy that permits some students to drink but not others would effectively create or at least encourage a fundamental social schism between students that is not in keeping with the ideals of campus community life. Our campus should be a place where everyone feels fully enfranchised to enjoy all its benefits, both educational and social.
Third, there are always many more students who have not reached their legal age than students who have. A policy that would require our Campus Safety and Security and Residence Life staff to sort out minors from legal drinkers would be impracticable and unenforceable.
Earlham's Approach to Alcohol
Earlham asks that no one drink alcohol on its campus or in conjunction with its programs. This is an expectation we have all students, faculty and staff whatever choices people make away from the College. We recognize that the large majority of our undergraduate students are below the legal drinking age while they live in residence at the College.
Our primary response to students who use alcohol on our campus is educational. We want our students to understand well the consequences of alcohol use for oneself and for those with whom one interacts.
We know that alcohol use and especially alcohol abuse can lead to destructive and abusive behavior. Earlham will not tolerate disrespectful behavior. Being under the influence of alcohol will never be taken as a mitigating circumstance for harmful behavior.
The responsibility to uphold and communicate this expectation not to drink alcohol on our campus or in conjunction with our programs falls upon every member of the community. Those who persistently bring alcohol onto our campus in the face of our expectation will also be subject to disciplinary sanctions.
The problems associated with alcohol abuse on American college campuses have become startlingly acute and troubling. Binge drinking is notorious and widespread. Campus vandalism is, more often than not, linked to alcohol abuse. Sexual assault and other forms of physical and emotional violence usually involve alcohol or illegal drugs.
Quakers have offered a range of responses to issues connected with the use and abuse of alcohol. Some feel strongly that abstention from alcohol is a religious imperative and that alcohol mars one’s body and defiles something granted by God. Other Friends have emphasized moderate drinking rather than total abstinence.
As a community, the College aspires to help those who are abusing alcohol and other substances. We try to listen non-judgmentally, offering information about sources of help, refusing to enable people to continue in harmful patterns, and working to create an environment free from addictive practices.