Help-Seeking Policy

Help-Seeking Policy

We expect students to abide by the law and Harvard policy on the use of drugs and alcohol. The University is not a sanctuary from the existing laws of the city, state, or federal government and students must recognize the consequences of their personal decisions as well as the impact those decisions can have on themselves, others, and the wider College community.

However, in cases of drug or alcohol intoxication, health and safety are the College’s primary concerns and this policy is intended to encourage students to seek help.

Students seeking medical treatment for themselves or another person for the effects of drug or alcohol use will not be subject to disciplinary action from the College for violations pertaining to the use or provision of drugs or alcohol. Sources of help might include: HUHS or other medical providers; College residential life staff; and HUPD or other police or security officers.

This policy does not provide immunity from disciplinary action relating to any other conduct violations, including, without limitation, assault, property damage, or the possession in quantity or the sale or distribution of drugs.

Responsibilities of Student Groups

The College expects officers of all student groups (whether or not such group is officially recognized by the College), like any other social hosts, to create safe social environments. To this end, student group officers are urged to participate in annual education efforts with the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Services and DSO, which may include training on event planning, risk reduction, and the responsible service of alcohol.

If a person was seriously harmed, or could have been seriously harmed, as a result of consumption of alcohol or drugs at an event held, sponsored, organized or supported by a student group and those directly responsible for the provision of alcohol or drugs are not identified, then the College may hold the event hosts personally responsible. If the event hosts are not identified, then the officers of the organization may be held personally responsible. In considering such cases, the College will, in all circumstances, apply the Help-Seeking Policy as described below.

At a minimum, when cases involving the consumption of alcohol or drugs at an event held, sponsored, organized or supported by a student group come to the attention of the College, the student group may be asked to come to the Dean of Students Office for a conversation about their procedures for hosting responsible social events and may be asked to participate in additional education or training efforts.

Application of the Help-Seeking Policy to Student Groups

The Help-Seeking Policy is intended to encourage all members of student groups to access help for the effects of drug or alcohol use. If a person needs assistance after consuming alcohol or drugs at an event held, sponsored, organized or supported by a student group and the person who seeks assistance is a member of that student group, then the College will weigh this fact heavily as a mitigating circumstance when considering potential disciplinary action with respect to other student group members. Conversely, the failure to seek help by members of the student group also may be considered in deciding whether to impose disciplinary action. In addition, the College may consider as mitigating factors the student group’s participation in the College’s annual education and training about responsible social events, as well as any efforts made by the hosts or officers to prevent the harmful or potentially harmful situation and their cooperation with the College in its investigation of the situation.