/ Equal Opportunity and Compliance

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Hope College promotes a campus culture where each person can flourish. In that regard, we are committed to the personal, intellectual and spiritual growth of all members of our community.

The use of illegal drugs and/or misuse or abuse of legal drugs or alcohol can inhibit personal development and is negatively correlated with academic success, job performance and personal safety. We recognize the need for all members of our community to exercise prudence when engaging with drugs or alcohol, as any behaviors that work against our educational mission become behaviors of concern.

Hope College welcomes and supports the decision of any student or employee not to consume alcohol. Hope College seeks to emphasize education about choices, risks, and personal responsibility regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs. Hope College expects everyone to observe state and federal laws regarding alcohol and drug use, with particular attention to those that address underage drinking. Behaviors that create a risk of danger to the health and safety of themselves or others could be subject to disciplinary action. Anyone found in violation of our policies and/or the law will be held accountable for his/her choices.

Hope College is a dry campus, with very few exceptions[1], as well as a drug-free campus. Students or employees who are 21 or older are free to make decisions when off campus about whether or not to consume alcohol or recreational marijuana. Anyone hosting off campus gatherings is responsible to ensure that all guests observe county, city, state and federal laws.

I. Policy Statement

Hope College is committed to the elimination of drug and/or alcohol misuse and abuse and forbids the use, possession or transfer of illegal drugs and alcohol in the workplace and in all learning environments.

In compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act (41 U.S.C. 701) and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act (20 U.S.C. 1145g), the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance or alcohol on property owned or controlled by the College or as part of any College sponsored program or activity off campus is strictly prohibited, unless specifically permitted for legitimate business purpose.

Violation of this policy constitutes grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. For students, disciplinary consequences are set forth in the Student Behavior Code.

II. Reason for policy

Drug and alcohol use or abuse may pose a threat to the health and safety of Hope College students, staff and community members, and to the security of our equipment and facilities. The risks associated with the use or abuse of drugs or alcohol are numerous and include physical and mental impairment, and effects on employees’ or students’ professional and personal lives. Use or abuse of drugs or alcohol can negatively impact job or academic performance and attendance and can jeopardize continued employment or status as a student. This policy is designed to maintain a drug-free work and learning environment and to comply with the requirements of local, state and federal laws.

III. Entities affected by this policy

Persons covered by this policy include employees, students, applicants for employment, persons employed on the premises of the College as independent contractors, vendors and any persons on campus and/or participating in or attending College-sponsored programs or activities.

IV. Who should read this policy

  • Students
  • Employees
  • Applicants
  • Independent Contractors
  • Vendors
  • Board of Trustee Members
  • Community guests

V. Related documents

VI. Contacts

VII. Definitions

A. This policy covers the following substances

  1. Alcoholic beverages of any kind.
  2. Controlled or illegal drugs or substances (including hallucinogens, barbiturates, depressants, stimulants, cannabinoids, opioids, club drugs, synthetic analogs, dissociative drugs and any other compounds or drugs whose use, possession, or transfer is restricted or prohibited by either state or federal law). The use of such drugs or substances is considered prohibited “misuse” under this policy.
  3. Any substance which influences an employee in a way which jeopardizes the safety of the employee or other employees or hinders the employee’s ability or any other employee’s ability to perform work responsibilities.

B. Employee[2]

Includes at will and contracted employees, temporary employees, volunteers, independent contractors and student employees.

C. Exceptions

  1. Drugs prescribed by any person licensed to prescribe or dispense controlled substances: Drugs used in accordance with their instructions for medicinal purposes are not prohibited unless they cause side effects that may impair a student’s ability to participate in the education programs and activities of the College properly and safely or an employee’s capability to perform work responsibilities properly and safely. If an employee feels that the side effects of prescription medication may jeopardize his/her ability to perform the job safely, the employee should consult with his/her supervisor. The supervisor shall consult with Human Resources to determine whether temporary placement in another position is necessary, or whether another accommodation is possible.
  2. The possession or use of both recreational marijuana and medical marijuana is prohibited in any College program or activity, even if off campus. Legal use of recreational or medical marijuana off campus (when not affiliated with a College program or activity) is not subject to this policy unless it impairs job or academic performance, or has other side effects that may impair a student or employee’s ability to complete work responsibilities or participate in the educational programs of the College properly and safely.
  3. Reasonable and responsible use of alcohol during work time (if the work is located off campus) is permitted for legitimate business purposes involving a client of the college, such as donor or stakeholder cultivation.

VIII. Procedures

A. Recognition of symptoms of drug or alcohol misuse or abuse

Hope College believes it is the responsibility of all employees/students to report misuse or abuse of drugs and alcohol. Reports can be made to a supervisor, Campus Safety, Human Resources, or to the Judicial Affairs Office.

When a supervisor observes or is made aware of work performance or behavior signs that could affect the safety of the individual or others, Human Resources (and/or Student Development in the case of students) must be contacted to determine the appropriate course of action.

One or more of the following signs, which could be indicative of drug or alcohol misuse or abuse and are cause for concern, should be reported.

  1. Changes in temperament, speech pattern, or coherence.
  2. Changes in the physical condition, energy level, or appearance.
  3. Trouble in concentrating on assignments.
  4. Increase in absences.
  5. Increase in errors of judgment or mistakes.
  6. Changes in quality or quantity of work.

B. Actions to be taken for suspected misuse or abuse by employees

If an employee is suspected of violating this policy or any other related policies, the College will initiate an investigation through Human Resources to determine the appropriate course of action. This investigation can include an immediate request for the person to be subject to testing for alcohol consumption and/or drug use.

Individuals whose work performance is determined to be impaired as a result of misuse or abuse of drugs or alcohol (either on or off campus); who misuse or abuse drugs or alcohol on campus or while on college business; who violate any provisions of this policy or who have been convicted of violating any criminal drug statute while on college property or while participating in a college sponsored programs off campus are subject to disciplinary action up to termination of employment or referral to law enforcement authorities.

C. Action to be taken for suspected misuse or abuse by students

If a student is suspected of violating the Drug and Alcohol policy or the Student Handbook, the College will perform an investigation through Judicial Affairs to determine the appropriate course of action.

D. Actions to be taken for crimes involving drugs or alcohol

Each employee must notify the Director of Human Resources of any criminal conviction related to drug activity in the workplace within five days after such conviction. If the individual is supported by a federal grant or contract, the college must notify the appropriate government agency within ten days after receiving such notice as required by the provisions of the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

Human Resources and the President of the College shall have the responsibility for determining the appropriate course of action for employees who are convicted of drug or alcohol offenses during their employment with Hope College.

E. Confidentiality

Information and records relating to test results, drug and alcohol dependencies and legitimate medical explanations shall be kept confidential to the extent required by law and maintained in secure files separate from normal personnel files. Such records and information may be disclosed among managers on a need-to-know basis and may also be disclosed where relevant to an investigation, or a grievance, charge, claim or other legal proceeding initiated by or on behalf of an employee or applicant.

F. Prevention and awareness

The Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program (DAAPP) document outlines additional awareness information and resources and is provided to all employees and students on an annual basis and can be found on the Student Development web page.

IX. Effective Date

March 2019

X. Revision/Policy history 

It is strongly recommended that this policy be reviewed as needed, or at least every two years to ensure that it accurately reflects legal developments, institutional policy, procedures, programs and campus safety plan.

Originally Approved February 2018
Next Review/Revision Date: March 2021


1. Exceptions to the dry campus include Hope employees (who are not students and are of the legal drinking age) who live in college housing. Events hosted at the home of the President are considered to have a legitimate business purpose and may include alcohol.

2. For purposes of this policy only, volunteers and independent contractors will be treated in the same manner as employees.