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Alcohol on campus

From the 2011 Parent Orientation Newsletter

Students are most likely to face dangerous situations when they have been drinking and their judgment is impaired. Minnesota state law, as well as University policy, prohibits students under the age of 21 from consuming or possessing alcohol. Sanctions for students who violate alcohol policies may include alcohol assessments, educational workshops, probationary status in housing, and expulsion from residence halls for repeated or extreme violations.

Parents are not generally notified for a student’s alcohol violations, but parents will be contacted when there is a concern that the student poses a threat to him/herself or to someone else, or if the student exhibits a pattern of behavior that poses a threat to the student’s success. The University has decided to notify parents in only some instances for several reasons:

  • We are committed to educational, rather than punitive, interventions as a first step to encourage students to understand and modify their choices related to alcohol.
  • The severity of alcohol violations varies. A student who is in a room where drinking takes place is violating alcohol policy, even if they are not drinking.
  • There is conflicting evidence nationally about the success of parent notification in curbing alcohol use and abuse.
  • Parent notification policies can create a false sense of security. A first-time drinking incident can be fatal. Proactive discussions between parents and students are more effective than waiting until a first incident.

The decision to contact parents is usually made following a meeting between the student and the vice provost for student affairs or a designate.

Students are always subject to legal sanctions if they receive a citation from police. Social host ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul hold individuals (social hosts) criminally responsible for hosting or permitting an event or gathering where persons under 21 years of age possess or consume alcohol, regardless of who supplied the alcohol.

For more information, download the Social Host Ordinance (PDF).

Online course: Alcohol on Campus

We encourage you to go through this course for parents and discuss college drinking with your student. There’s no charge for the course, which was developed by the University Parent Program with the College of Education and Human Development and the Family Social Science department. The course is at