Alcohol and Illegal Drugs


As an institution of higher education, Bowdoin is committed to providing an environment in which students can further their own intellectual, social, moral, and physical development and in which all members of the campus community can work together in pursuit of knowledge and understanding.  The abuse of drugs and alcohol is antithetical to that mission. Bowdoin prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by students and employees on Bowdoin’s property or as part of any Bowdoin activities.  Furthermore, the College strives to eliminate other community issues that are often a result of problematic drinking behavior or other substance abuse such as violence, sexual assault, improper conduct, and vandalism to personal and College property.

As part of its educational mission, the College is committed to reducing substance abuse, enhancing the development of responsible attitudes and behavior regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages and to devising policies and providing the information and education that will reduce dangerous drinking (such as “drinking games,” which encourage the rapid ingestion of large amounts of alcohol). In keeping with this commitment, Bowdoin intends to inform its community of state and federal laws and College policies, provide campus resources to assist individuals with substance-related problems, promote discussion and increase awareness of alcohol-related issues, and ensure the health and safety of members of the Bowdoin community.  Enforcement strategies are balanced with an expectation of personal responsibility for behavior and compliance with applicable laws and policies.

Bowdoin College believes that bystanders hold tremendous influence to intervene in dangerous situations, both acute and habitual.  Any member of the community who observes another member involved in substance abuse, including dangerous drinking should feel a responsibility to discourage the behavior and to help the intoxicated individual. If someone is intoxicated or under the influence of another substance and is non-responsive to physical or verbal stimuli, emergency medical services should be sought immediately. When the safety and health of an individual is at risk, Bowdoin urges erring on the side of caution and calling for help. Waiting means taking a chance with the life of another.  Similarly, if someone is regularly misusing or abusing alcohol or other substances, intervene by having a conversation or bring it to the attention of another.  Staff are available in Counseling, Health Services, the Dean’s Office, Residential Life and Human Resources to assist.   

Bowdoin College is committed to helping students who have questions or concerns about drugs or alcohol, and related problems. The Counseling Service and the Health Service staff are available resources on campus. In particular, the College has a relationship with a local substance abuse counselor who meets with students and assists with community education.  Health Services and Counseling staff members will maintain the confidentiality of any student seeking help for an alcohol or drug problem. Confidentiality is broken only when a student is in imminent physical or psychological danger and it is necessary to provide for his or her safety. 

Ultimately, the specific alcohol regulations established by Bowdoin College are intended to honor both the rights of the individual and the standards of the community, and are designed to encourage responsible and respectful drinking and behavior by clearly stating what is expected of those who choose to consume or serve alcohol. Individuals who make the personal choice to drink will be held fully accountable for their actions. Violators of the alcohol policy are subject to disciplinary consequences.  Students or employees experiencing substance abuse problems may be referred to a number of College and/or area resources.

The following pages inform students and employees about physical and medical consequences of alcohol and drug use, relevant state and federal laws, and Bowdoin’s policies and disciplinary sanctions. This information is published for the guidance of students and employees and to satisfy part of the requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, Public Law 101-226.


Alcohol is a drug that is absorbed into your bloodstream and transmitted to virtually all parts of your body. It is a depressant that causes a number of changes in behavior, though particular effects vary among individuals. Even one or two drinks will significantly affect your alertness, judgment, and physical coordination, making it dangerous for you to drive and participate in sports, and impairing your ability to make decisions about further drinking. Small to moderate amounts of alcohol can increase aggressive behavior. Larger amounts cause physical effects such as staggering, slurred speech, double vision, sudden mood swings, and marked impairment of higher mental functions, severely altering your ability to learn and remember. Very high consumption, either long-term or in binges, can cause unconsciousness, respiratory arrest, and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much smaller amounts of alcohol will cause the same effects. Combining alcohol consumption with stimulants, such as energy drinks, can mask the effects of alcohol.  This can make it more difficult for individuals to judge their level of intoxication and can therefore lead to a higher consumption of alcohol than is safe.  Heavy drinking may make you dependent on alcohol; sudden withdrawal may produce severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions, and may even be life-threatening. Long-term heavy drinking increases your risk of developing liver and heart disease, circulatory problems, peptic ulcers, various forms of cancer, and irreversible brain damage. Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome, causing irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. Children of alcoholic parents may suffer from a number of developmental and psychological problems, and are a greater risk of becoming alcoholics than are other children.

As the American College Health Association says in Alcohol: Decisions on Tap: Abusing alcohol can cripple your chances for a good life. Too much drinking even once can cause you pain and harm the lives of others. It can result in sports injuries, car accidents, fights, unplanned parenthood, sexual assault, and sexually transmitted diseases. Over time, too much drinking leads to slow, steady damage to your body and mind.

Controlled substances have a number of physical and mental effects, summarized in Appendix A of the Federal Register, Vol. 55, No. 159, page 33590.


1. State Laws
Bowdoin College students must comply with Maine state laws regarding the consumption, sale, purchase, and delivery of alcohol. A summary of applicable Maine law is provided below:

a.  Individuals must be twenty-one (21) years of age or older to purchase, possess, consume or transport alcoholic beverages in Maine.

b.  It is illegal for minors (20 years of age or younger) to purchase, possess, consume or transport liquor.

c.  It is illegal to falsify official Maine state identification cards or any identification material for the purpose of procuring alcoholic beverages. Moreover, no person may misrepresent age verbally or in writing or practice deceit in the procurement of an identification card, possess a false identification card, or sell, furnish, or give an identification card to another for the purpose of procuring liquor.

d.  Only licensed liquor dealers may sell alcoholic beverages in Maine. Charging admission to parties where alcoholic beverages are available for “free” or possessing liquor with the intent to sell is illegal, as are any similar arrangements having similar effects.

e.  No person may knowingly furnish, procure, deliver or sell liquor or imitation liquor to a minor or allow any minor under his/her control to possess or consume liquor or imitation liquor.

f.  It is illegal to knowingly procure in any way and/or assist in procuring, furnishing, giving, delivering, or selling liquor to/for an intoxicated person. It is illegal to serve liquor to an intoxicated person if the server knows that such person is visibly intoxicated.

g. Consumption of alcoholic beverages in a public place is illegal without a special license or permit issued by authorized Maine state officials.

h.  No person may drink liquor while operating a motor vehicle on any public way. A driver of a vehicle is also in violation of Maine law if the driver or a passenger of the vehicle possesses an open alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle on a public way. In addition, operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher is illegal and will automatically result in a suspension of your driver’s license or permit and/or a fine of at least $400. If you are under age twenty-one, the state considers you intoxicated if you have consumed any amount of alcohol and your license will be automatically suspended.

2. Hard Liquor
No student, regardless of age, may possess hard liquor in College residences. Hard liquor with an alcohol content of more than 10 percent alcohol by volume that is found in campus residences by Security will be confiscated. Generally, this excludes beer, malt beverages, wine, hard liquor mixes, champagne and hard cider.

3. Drinking Games
Drinking games, encouraging the rapid ingestion of alcohol, are not permitted. Such games include, but are not limited to: Quarters, Beer Pong, Beirut, Power Hour, and Flip Cup. Paraphernalia identified as having been used in a drinking game, including tables, may be confiscated by Security and will become property of the College.

4. Personal Responsibility
Students influenced by alcohol are fully responsible for their actions and any damages they may cause. Individuals are also accountable for verbal or physical abuse toward other individuals or personal property. In addition, conduct violations may result in formal disciplinary action, including financial restitution for any and all damages incurred.

5. Student Activity Fees
Student groups cannot use student activity fees or any other College funds for the purchase of alcohol, without permission of the Office of the Dean of Students.

6. Restricted Areas
Drinking in public places (including common rooms, outdoor areas, residence hallways, stairwells, etc.) or outside private rooms is prohibited by College policy and Maine state law. Except under special circumstances, alcoholic beverages are not permitted in Kresge Auditorium, Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, Pickard Theater, Morrell Gymnasium, Farley Field House, Dayton Arena, Hatch Science Library, Watson Arena, Walker Art Museum, academic or other buildings, and facilities where the primary function of the building would be intruded upon or potentially impaired through the use of individuals consuming alcoholic beverages.

7. Parties/Social Functions
Typically, the College allows parties/social functions with alcohol on Friday and Saturday nights while classes are in session.

a. All parties or social events must be conducted in accordance with Maine state laws as noted above.

b. Registration

1.) Students sponsoring a party or social event at which alcohol will be served or which may draw attention to itself due to noise or other circumstances must complete a party registration form and receive signed approval. No events with alcohol are permitted in First Year residence halls. When the event is planned for a College House, residence hall, apartment, or campus common space, approval must be obtained from the Director of Residential Life or his/her designee. Party registration forms must be submitted to the appropriate College official by noon Thursday. Forms submitted after this deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

2.) Registration regulations pertain to events planned for all College facilities, including College Houses, residence halls, and apartments.
3.) Small, intimate gatherings may be held in residence hall private rooms or apartments. Civility and respect for other residents is essential; thus gatherings in private rooms in the residence halls must not adversely affect the immediate environment. A small gathering of this sort need not be registered with the College, unless it may draw attention to itself due to noise or other circumstances. Such gatherings are, however, subject to all other regulations regarding alcohol use described in this policy.

4.) The College recognizes that there are legitimate occasions when a spontaneous gathering of individuals may occur that would ordinarily violate the provisions of 7.b.1. above due to the fact that the gathering was not planned or registered in advance. In such cases, which should constitute the exception rather than the rule, it is the responsibility of the individual or individuals hosting the gathering to contact the dean-on-call through Security (ext. 3314) as soon as possible and before the gathering commences, in order to request permission to host a spontaneous party or social event, as defined in 7.b.1. above. Upon consultation with the host(s), the dean-on-call will either approve or deny permission for the gathering, based upon adherence to alcohol policy regulations and other relevant considerations. Such spontaneous gatherings shall be subject to the same regulations governing approved parties registered in advance.

c.  Responsible hosts/sponsors must be named prior to any party or social event, and be clearly identified and available at the function. All hosts must abstain completely from drinking alcohol on the night of the event. Hosts may call Bowdoin College Security for assistance with any alcohol violations or difficult situations that may arise during an event. Bowdoin Security will conduct a pre-party check with the hosts and check in periodically at approved social functions to ensure that the event is operating in accordance with the Alcohol Policy, fire code regulations, noise ordinances, and the details stipulated on the party registration form. Security officers will address violations they observe and will request the name and identification number of any student believed to be engaged in underage drinking or in violation of other aspects of the Alcohol Policy or Bowdoin College Social Code. Although Security will make every effort to work with hosts to address and remedy alcohol violations or other problems, officers are authorized to close parties at which violations of policy or other serious problems are evident. Should Bowdoin Security come across an unregistered event at which alcohol is present, such events will be assessed immediately by Security and may be shut-down if deemed necessary. Party hosts are also responsible for ensuring that all messes are cleaned and common areas are restored to their original appearance following a social event. Violations of alcohol regulations discovered by Security will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students and appropriate disciplinary action will ensue. Hosts are responsible and liable for the conduct of their guests at parties. Hosts may face disciplinary action for Alcohol Policy violations that occur at parties they sponsor, and, under certain circumstances, may face criminal or civil proceedings. Individuals responsible for organizing or hosting an unregistered event may likewise be held responsible and liable for alcohol-related violations committed by their guests, and face additional sanctions for failing to register the event in accordance with the guidelines specified in items  b.1. through b.4. above.

d. In order to minimize the potential for conflict between academic and social priorities, the College will approve parties or other social events involving alcohol for Friday and Saturday nights only. Under unusual circumstances, occasional exceptions to this regulation may be permitted. However, the granting of such exceptions would require both a compelling rationale and substantive assurance that the proposed event would not compromise the assumed academic priorities of individuals involved in or otherwise affected by the event. Any requests for exceptions to this regulation must be submitted to the Director of Residential Life or his/her designee at least one week in advance of the proposed event.

e.  Due to fire safety ordinances, the total number in attendance at a party or social event must not exceed the legal capacity of the facility. Fire capacity information is available on the party registration form.

f. Everyone attending a party or social function where alcohol is served must carry valid identification that verifies their date of birth. Bowdoin students must also carry College ID. This is important for the individuals involved and for the protection of the event’s hosts.

g.  Alcohol shall be served only to party guests who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older. It is the responsibility of the host(s) to verify the legal age of all guests consuming alcohol, and to provide for adequate control over the distribution of alcohol at the party so that minors and intoxicated persons are not served.

h.  Alcohol must be served in a professional manner by designated bartenders only. In unlicensed premises, bartenders must be twenty-one (21) years of age or older.

i.  Alcohol is limited to beer or wine in quantity appropriate to the number of individuals attending the event who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older. Hard liquor and drinking games, which encourage the rapid ingestion of large amounts of alcohol, are not allowed. The appropriate quantity of alcohol to be available at any given party or social function will be determined beforehand through consultation between party host(s) and the Director of Residential Life or her/his designee. If beer is to be provided from kegs, kegs must be registered with Security (i.e., keg serial numbers provided before the party). Other common sources (including, but not limited to, party balls, punch bowls, etc.) are not permitted without the permission of the Director of Residential Life or her/his designee.

j.  Alternative (i.e., non-alcoholic) beverages must be available in quantity appropriate to the number of guests at the event. Non-alcoholic beverages must be visible, readily accessible, and available in reasonable quantity throughout the party or event. Imitation alcoholic beverages, if served, must also be registered with the Director of Residential Life or her/his designee and cannot be provided to minors. 

k.  Food must be available in quantity appropriate to the number of guests at the event.

l.  Intoxicated individuals must not be served alcohol. Alcohol and event hosts are trained to recognize the signs of intoxication, pre-alcohol poisoning and alcohol poisoning. They are expected to contact Security if they are concerned about an individual’s health or behavior.

m.  Due to Brunswick town ordinance, hosts must not serve alcohol after 1:00 a.m.

n. Hosts must not serve alcohol before 7:00 p.m. unless special permission is provided by the Director of Residential Life or her/his designee.

o.  Events involving alcohol are not permitted during final exam and reading periods unless special permission is provided by the Director of Residential Life or her/his designee

p.  Events involving alcohol are required to be registered during Senior Week.

q.  Advertising of parties or events must not depict the presence of alcohol.

r.  Hosts of parties or social functions cannot charge admission that directly or indirectly allows or signifies access to alcohol, nor can money be solicited or collected from guests at any time during the event for the purchase of alcohol. It is illegal to sell liquor in Maine without a license.

s.  Alcohol must not be used as a “prize” at any function.

t. Hosts are responsible for clean-up immediately following an event. This includes the outside of the party location.

u. Hosts are responsible for removing kegs from the party space by Tuesday afternoon. If kegs are not removed by this time they will be confiscated.

8. Pub Regulations
a.  Jack Magee’s Pub is an officially licensed College establishment where beer and wine are sold to individuals who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older, and is subject to the same state laws that govern commercial establishments in Maine. No one may bring any alcohol into the Pub.

b.  Pub managers and bartenders may request proof of age from any person attempting to purchase or consume alcohol. If appropriate documentation is not supplied, Pub personnel will refuse any sale of alcoholic beverages.

c.  Only Bowdoin College student identification and/or an official Maine or other state identification will be accepted as verification of legal age.

d.  If, in the judgment of any Pub bartender, an individual appears intoxicated, additional service will be refused.

e.  Should the need arise, Bowdoin Security may be called for assistance. Instances of misbehavior or violations of College policies or State law by Bowdoin students may be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students for possible disciplinary action.


Bowdoin College is neither a police agency enforcing the law nor a sanctuary protecting those who violate laws regarding alcohol or other drugs. The College is vitally invested in maintaining an environment conducive to physical and psychological safety, intellectual development, and personal maturation. In accordance with these goals, the College acknowledges its obligation to provide clear standards of behavior regarding the use of alcohol, to determine levels of disciplinary sanction appropriate to the nature of any given alcohol-related infraction, and to address consistently violations of alcohol regulations that come to its attention.

Although any alcohol-related violation is subject to disciplinary consequences, the College is most urgently concerned with those behaviors and accompanying attitudes that threaten the physical or psychological safety or well-being of self or others, infringe upon the rights of others, or are otherwise disruptive to the community. Following established guidelines, members of the Dean of Students staff will determine disciplinary action resulting from conduct violations, with possible referral to the Judicial Board and, in some cases, criminal or civil authorities. Sanctions imposed by the College may range from a warning letter for a relatively minor first-time violation, to immediate suspension or dismissal for egregious violations or a pattern of multiple offenses. Students may also be expected to pay restitution for any and all damages occurring as a result of their behavior.

Bowdoin College Security Officers will note and report all alcohol violations that come to their attention whether observed at parties or other social events, in campus public spaces, or during routine “walk-throughs” of residence halls. All other members of the community (proctors or other students, faculty, administrators, or support staff) may call attention to suspected violations of the Alcohol Policy, and are expected to play an appropriate role in enhancing the safety and well-being of members of the community. Reports of violations or suspected violations of the Alcohol Policy will be made to the Office of the Dean of Students.

Above all, it must be emphasized that Bowdoin students are responsible for their personal behavior as well as the conduct of their guests in all private spaces at the College and campus facilities. The ingestion of alcohol or other drugs in no way constitutes an excuse for behaviors that violate College policy, federal or Maine state laws, or otherwise infringe upon the rights of others.


Since alcohol is a psychoactive substance that presents the possibility of addiction and other negative physical and psychological consequences, the College feels a responsibility to provide assessment and treatment (within certain parameters) to those individuals whose alcohol-related behaviors indicate the potential for such consequences. Such individuals who come to the attention of the College will be referred, usually by the Office of the Dean of Students, to either Bowdoin’s Health Service or Counseling Service for a substance use evaluation. This evaluation may result in a recommendation for treatment, which could take place individually or in a group, either on-campus or at an outside agency, depending on the particular circumstances and needs of the individual.

Students are encouraged to seek education about alcohol and the effects alcohol has on the body. Programs and resources are available through Health Services, Counseling Services and Health Promotion.  Further, the College maintains a relationship with a consulting Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, who is available to students.  Students who receive disciplinary sanctions related to an alcohol-related infraction will be required to participate in an alcohol education program and meet with a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor as appropriate.


Bowdoin College expects its students and employees to comply with all the requirements of federal and Maine state law. As such, the possession, trafficking, or use of illegal drugs and/or drug paraphernalia as defined in Maine and federal statutes are prohibited and subject the violator to disciplinary action by the College as well as possible prosecution by local, state, and/or federal authorities. Bowdoin College will not take responsibility for students or employees who disregard the various drug laws, nor will students’ educational status render them immune from the legal processes.

Students whose illegal drug use comes to the attention of the Office of the Dean of Students will generally be referred to the Counseling Service or another drug treatment program. Depending on the circumstances, the student may also be subject to disciplinary action.

Students who sell illegal drugs will be subjected to disciplinary action by the College. If the Office of the Dean of Students receives reliable information or other evidence that a student has been or is currently involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs, or has been or is in possession of such amounts or associated paraphernalia as to make this a reasonable presumption, then the student will be asked to resign from Bowdoin College. Should the student refuse to resign, then the Dean of Students may temporarily suspend the student pending a formal hearing by the Judicial Board for permanent dismissal.

Students who are accused of placing illegal drugs in the beverages or food of others will be subject to the same disciplinary procedures as those accused of selling illegal drugs.

Drug use will be considered an exacerbating, not a mitigating, condition in Social Code violations.


The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires recipients of federal monies to provide and maintain a drug-free workplace. In compliance with this federal provision, students and employees should review the College’s alcohol and illegal drug policies for a detailed description of standards of conduct, health risks, community resources for support and treatment, and institutional disciplinary and criminal sanctions.

Bowdoin has no intention of intruding into the private lives of its employees; however, the College does retain the right and responsibility to expect both students and employees to conduct themselves in a manner that will not jeopardize the health and safety of others. Some of the drugs that are illegal under state and/or federal law include marijuana, heroin, hashish, cocaine, hallucinogens, and depressants and/or stimulants when not prescribed for medical care.

Any student under the influence of illegal drugs or who possesses or consumes illegal drugs at Bowdoin is subject to College disciplinary procedures and action, up to and including dismissal from the institution. The illegal manufacture, distribution, or sale of illegal substances on the premises is strictly prohibited and will constitute an offense warranting dismissal. Any illegal substance found shall be turned over to an appropriate law enforcement agency.

As part of the drug-free awareness program, Bowdoin will continue to advise and inform students and employees of the dangers of drug use and abuse in the workplace. Upon request, Bowdoin will offer non-financial assistance to students and employees seeking treatment or rehabilitation services. Referrals for assistance are available from the College Counseling Service.


The Bowdoin College Counseling Service is staffed by mental health professionals trained in psychiatry, psychology, social work and counseling who are prepared to assist students experiencing difficulties related to the use of alcohol or drugs. The Counseling Service provides two free confidential sessions with an off-campus licensed alcohol and drug counselor to any student who thinks their alcohol or drug use may be getting out of hand. Students may also consult with the licensed substance abuse counselor or another clinician at the Counseling Service if they are concerned about a friend or family member’s alcohol or drug use. The Counseling Service staff also meets with students who are mandated for a three session alcohol and drug evaluation with a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Typically, the Office of the Dean of Students initiates these referrals following a series of alcohol/drug related infractions. In this case, students are responsible for the evaluation fee ($300) and a report will be generated at the conclusion of the assessment that will be sent to the Counseling Service where it will remain confidential. Only a brief summary will be shared with the Office of the Dean of Students to verify that a student has been evaluated and that a treatment or follow up plan is in place.

Additional referrals for substance abuse treatment are also available through community resources such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon, Narcotics Anonymous (NA), intensive outpatient chemical dependency treatment and also inpatient hospitalization for chemical dependency.

Where to Get Help:

The Health Service Staff:  207-725-3770

Counseling Service Staff: 207-725-3145

Community Resources:
Alcoholics Anonymous for Bath-Brunswick, Hotline 207-882-1000 or 1-800-255-1060
Addiction Resource Center, Brunswick, 207-373-6950
Mid Coast - Parkview Health, 207-729-0181

Geno Ring, LDAC, 207-319-4104

Inpatient Rehabilitation Services:
Mercy Hospital, Portland, 207-879-3600