The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 requires Cornell to adopt and implement programs, "to prevent the illicit use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees." The legislation requires that the following information be distributed annually to each student and employee.

The College will, in compliance with federal law, distribute a policy, which contains a statement of the following:

  1. The dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace and on the College's premises and as part of its activities;
  2. Standards of conduct that clearly prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on the College's property or as a part of any of its activities;
  3. A description of applicable legal sanctions under Mount Vernon, Iowa, and Federal law;
  4. A description of health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol;
  5. A description of available drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, rehabilitation, or re-entry programs;
  6. A clear statement of the disciplinary sanctions the College will impose on students and employees.

The College will make available counseling and support for students and employees on a confidential basis. For employees, there is an Employee Assistance Program available administered by Mercy Hospital. For students, a variety of medical, psychological, and counseling assistance is available as set out below.

Drug & Alcohol Policies: Cornell College Students

Alcohol Policy

Cornell College respects the rights of individuals to consume alcohol in a legal and responsible manner. The College expects students to participate in educational programming and discussion about the effects of alcohol use and abuse. The College's policies concerning alcohol use are intended to promote personal responsibility in regard to an individual's decisions concerning alcohol use or abstinence. It is expected that these decisions will be based on personal values and social responsibility, conform to the laws of the State of Iowa and to the health and welfare of oneself and others. Anyone who chooses to use alcohol will be held fully responsible for his/her behavior while under the influence of alcohol. Violations of the College alcohol policy are grounds for conduct action.

The responsible use of alcohol includes:

  • Compliance with State and Federal statutes regarding alcohol use, possession, and distribution;
  • Making informed decisions about whether and/or when to use alcohol;
  • Knowing your alcohol tolerance limits and not exceeding them;
  • Behaving in a way that is not disruptive or otherwise harmful to you or others when you are consuming alcohol;
  • Assuming accountability for your actions while under the influence of alcohol;
  • Avoiding binge drinking. The Harvard School of Public Health has established a nationally accepted definition of binge drinking as:
    • For women, drinking four or more alcoholic beverages per drinking occasion.
    • For men, drinking five or more alcoholic beverages per drinking occasion.
    • One alcoholic beverage is defined as one 12 oz. can/bottle of beer, one 5 oz. glass of wine, or one shot (1.5 oz.) of hard liquor.
  • Not coercing or forcing anyone of any age to consume alcohol;
  • Not coercing or forcing anyone to engage in sexual activity when either or both of you have been consuming alcohol;
  • Refraining from engaging or participating in drinking games. 

Cornell Alcohol policies

  1. Irresponsible use of alcohol is prohibited.
  2. Students age 21 or over may possess and consume alcohol in a responsible manner in the privacy of their own residence hall room or the room of someone who is age 21 or over. Students, regardless of their age, may not possess or consume alcohol on a substance-free residence hall floor.
  3. Open containers containing alcohol are not permitted in public areas of the residence halls or campus.
  4. Alcoholic beverages may be served or consumed in any public area of the campus only with prior approval by the Dean of Students or Chaplain.
  5. Any sale or serving of alcoholic beverages in public places on campus must be coordinated by the College's dining services vendor.
  6. Advertising of alcohol for any event is prohibited, except where prior permission is granted by the Dean of Students.
  7. Funds from the Student Activity Fee may not be used for the purchase of alcoholic beverages.
  8. Possession of a keg or common container (e.g., beer bong, party ball, etc.) of /for alcohol on campus is prohibited unless that container of alcohol is preapproved by the Dean of Students and is provided by the College's dining services vendor.

Iowa Statutes on Alcohol Use

Cornell students are expected to know and observe state statutes regarding the sale, possession, provision, consumption, and use of alcohol. In Iowa it is unlawful:

  1. to provide alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of 21;
  2. for a person under 21 years of age to possess or consume alcohol;
  3. for a person under 21 years of age to misrepresent his/her age for the purpose of obtaining alcohol;
  4. to consume alcohol on public streets, highways, or in public places;
  5. to be intoxicated in a public place or to simulate intoxication;
  6. to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person;
  7. to sell alcohol without a vendor's license;
  8. to operate a motor vehicle if you are 21 years of age or older and your blood alcohol content is at or exceeds 0.08;
  9. to operate a motor vehicle if you are under 21 years of age and your blood alcohol content is at or exceeds 0.02; or
  10. to provide alcohol with the intent of engaging in sexual activity with the person to whom alcohol is being provided.

Penalties for violation of state alcohol statutes include fines, loss of privileges, and/or imprisonment. Statutes and penalties related to alcohol differ from state to state, and change from time to time. You are responsible for making your own determination as to whether a certain activity is legal.


Sanctions related to violations of the Cornell College Alcohol Policy by either individuals or groups are progressive and reflect the severity of the incident. First violations typically result in students being sanctioned to engage in educational/reflection activity and being placed on disciplinary warning; subsequent violations are likely to result in individual evaluation, disciplinary probation and suspension. Severity of the incident is determined by factors including risk of harm to self or others, violence or destructive behavior; first violations of a more severe nature are likely to lead to immediate disciplinary probation. For more information regarding conduct sanctions see the section on Conduct Procedures and Sanctions

Parent notification

Because of the potential educational, personal and legal consequences for the violation of the Cornell College Alcohol Policy, parent(s) or legal guardian(s) may be notified when a student is in violation of the policy, and will be notified if the violation results in disciplinary probation, suspension, or dismissal from Cornell.

Drug Policy

Cornell College prohibits the possession or use of drugs prohibited by the State of Iowa and/or classified by the Federal Government as narcotics or as dangerous drugs, with the exception of prescription medications taken as directed by licensed medical professionals. Use, possession, sale or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances or paraphernalia, except as permitted by law, are prohibited.

Violations of College drug policies are grounds for College conduct action. Cornell will observe, and expects students to adhere to, Federal and State statutes regarding drug use, possession, and distribution. The College also stresses the importance of education and counseling to prevent drug abuse by instituting education programs which will provide students with information on the legal, psychological, social, and medical aspects of drug use and abuse. Students should be aware of confidential medical, psychological, and counseling assistance available through the Health Center, Counseling, and the Chaplain.

The College will cooperate with local law enforcement in investigating allegations of possession and/or use of illicit drugs on campus. The College will refer to law enforcement agencies information and evidence that it acquires regarding individuals or groups engaged, on or off campus, in dispensing narcotics or dangerous drugs to students of the College. The term “dispensing” is defined as the transfer from one person to another of such drugs, with or without payment. Furthermore, the College may act separately from civil authorities in such cases and through conduct processes may suspend or expel any student who dispenses drugs. Refer to the Compass section on Concurrent Legal Proceedings.

Drug & Alcohol Policies: Cornell College Employees

Cornell College will promote the development of a drug-free environment consistent with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensations, possession, or use of illicit drugs or alcohol is prohibited on Cornell's premises or in connection with any of its activities.

Consistent with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, employees receiving a criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace must notify the head of their department within five days of the conviction. The head of the department must in turn notify the program administrator within five days of learning of the conviction. If any of the employee's compensation is from a federal contract or grant program, the College must then notify the contracting or granting agency within ten days after receiving notice from the employee or of learning about an employee's criminal drug statute conviction for conduct in the workplace.

An employee receiving a drug-related criminal conviction will be subject to disciplinary action (up to and including suspension, suspension without pay, and termination) and may be required by the College to satisfactorily participate in a drug abuse or rehabilitation program.

Further, an employee who is found to be otherwise in violation of these policies prohibiting the use of illicit drugs or abuse of alcohol on the College's campus or in connection with its activities may be required to participate in the Mercy Employee Assistance Program or may be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, suspension or termination.

Dangers of Drug & Alcohol Use

As explained further below, the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol adversely affect the health of the individual. Such use or abuse also puts the individual at risk for penalties imposed by the College, up to and including suspension or termination. State, federal, and municipal sanctions for use of illicit drugs and abuse of alcohol are contained in Attachment A.

Health Risks Associated with the Abuse of Alcohol and Illicit Drugs

Alcohol: Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person's ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden stopping of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.

Illicit Drugs: The harmful effects of illicit drugs vary from substance to substance. The following is a summary of the effects of a number of such substances by category:

1. Narcotics: Repeated use of narcotics, such as opium, morphine, and heroin, results in an increasing tolerance; the user must administer progressively larger doses to attain the desired effect, leading to dependence. Possible effects of the use of narcotics include euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils, and nausea. Effects of overdose include: slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possible death. Withdrawal may lead to watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, and loss of appetite, irritability, tremors, panic, cramps, nausea, chills, and sweating.

2. Depressants: Depressants, including barbiturates (e.g., Phenobarbital and Valium) and chloral hydrate have a potential for abuse associated with both physical and psychological dependence. The effect may vary from person to person and from time to time in the same individual. Low doses produce mild sedation. Higher doses, in so far as they relieve anxiety or stress, may produce a temporary sense of well being; they may also produce mood depression and apathy. Higher doses also result in impaired judgment, slurred speech, and loss of motor coordination, disorientation, and the potential for dependence. The effects of overdose include shallow respiration, clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, coma, and possible death. Withdrawal may lead to anxiety, insomnia, and possible death.

3. Stimulants: Use of stimulants, such as cocaine, methamphetamine and amphetamines, may lead to a temporary sense of exhilaration, an excess of energy, hyperactivity, excessive wakefulness, and a loss of appetite. They may also lead to irritability, anxiety, and apprehension. These effects are greatly intensified with administration by intravenous injection, which may produce a sudden sensation known as a "flash" or "rush". The protracted use of stimulants is followed by a period of depression known as "crashing." Long term use can lead to brain damage. The effects of overdose include agitation, increase in body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, and possible death. The effects of withdrawal include apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, depression, and disorientation.

4. Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens, including LSD, peyote, and mescaline, distort the perception of objective reality. They induce a state of excitation of the central nervous system, shown by alterations of mood, usually euphoric, but sometimes seriously depressive. Other effects include hallucinations and poor perception of time and distance. Effects of overdose include longer, more intense "trip" episodes, psychosis, and possible death.

5. Cannabis: There are three drugs that come from cannabis, or hemp, that are distributed in the United States: Marijuana, hashish, and hashish oil. The effects vary from individual to individual. Marijuana is considered a "gateway" drug that may lead to the use of other illicit drugs. Low doses of these drugs tend to induce restlessness and an increasing sense of well being, followed by a dreamy state of relaxation, and often hunger. Changes in perception may lead to disorientation. Overdose may lead to fatigue, paranoia, and possible psychosis. Withdrawal may lead to insomnia, hyperactivity, and decreased apathy.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice


The College requires all entering students to complete an educational program addressing risks associated with alcohol and drug use, risk-reduction strategies, College policies and resources. The program includes opportunities for personal reflection and goal-setting, as well as brief follow-up information and testing  during the first semester of enrollment, and also has modules that can be used as conduct sanctions and/or for on-going education and reflection.

As part of the College’s New Student Orientation (NSO) there is a bystander intervention training program in which all new students participate that includes signs and interventions related to high-risk alcohol and other drug use. In NSO sessions and residence hall meetings student leaders facilitate discussions about campus policies and issues.

Peer education also takes place through student peer education programs through Student Health and Counseling Services. AOD educational programming is also sponsored by Resident Assistants (RAs) and Greek Council. In addition to educational programming the Counseling Center offers free, on-line alcohol screenings to students. The Counseling center also has AOD information available in its resource library, and the Health and Counseling centers offer passive programming (e.g., bulletin board displays, monthly information newsletters) related to AOD issues and risk reduction.

RAs and student conduct hearing officers are trained to understand effective approaches in responding to student alcohol use and abuse and drug use. Student violations of Cornell’s alcohol and other drug (AOD) policies are adjudicated consistently in order to reinforce community expectations, but are also treated as opportunities for education and reflection. Among the sanctions applied in student AOD conduct cases are educational programs, referrals to on-campus BASICS (motivational interviewing intervention) providers, and referrals for off-campus substance abuse assessment and treatment.

Among its approaches to reducing student high-risk use of alcohol and other drugs are the provision of alcohol-free activities and programs. For example, Dark Purple is an arm of Cornell’s student programming board that offers a series of late night events such as casino and “game show” nights and other highly interactive programs.

The College offers regular opportunities for individual screenings of alcohol and drug use and offers regular and periodic educational programs related to alcohol and drug use. Written materials and videos are available at the College Library, as will information concerning available resources for assistance.

Available Drug & Alcohol Related Services at the College

For employees, there is a confidential Employee Assistance Program administered by Mercy Hospital. For students there is assistance available through the Health Center, the Counseling office, Residence Life staff, the Chaplain’s office and the Dean of Students’ office. The Counseling Center offers free, on-line alcohol screenings to students. Select members of the Student Affairs staff have been trained in a motivational interviewing model (BASICS/CASICS) to help students assess their alcohol and marijuana use, identify areas for potential change, and develop action steps to implement change. Students needing or desiring formal substance abuse evaluation and treatment are referred to area substance abuse services, located approximately 20 minutes from campus. Weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting are held on campus. These meetings are open to Cornell College faculty, staff, and students as well as local community members. A list of specific resources can be found in Appendix B

Notification of Policies

All students and employees are sent an individual email from the Dean of Students with a brief description and link to the full DAAPP by October 1 of each year. All employees are provided with the DAAPP and complete an acknowledgement that they have read and understand Cornell College’s drug and alcohol policies. Students are provided with information regarding Cornell College’s student drug and alcohol policies through the New Student Orientation program or during their first block of enrollment (if they begin classes after the beginning of the academic year); students are informed that they are responsible for understanding and will be held accountable for violations of these policies.  

In addition to distributing these policies annually to all students and employees, these policies are posted online in the Student and Employee Handbooks and on the Consumer Information page, which can be accessed directly from the college’s homepage.

Biennial Review

Cornell College’s drug and alcohol abuse and prevention program (DAAPP) and related policies will be reviewed every two years for compliance and effectiveness. The materials developed pursuant to these policies and the results of the biennial review will be reported to the Cornell College President and President’s Council, and will be made available upon request and to the Secretary of Education if the College is chosen in a random selection by the Secretary for determination of compliance.

Oversight Responsibility

The Dean of Students and Employee Relations Coordinator (Human Resources) shall serve as the main contacts that will have oversight responsibility of the DAAPP including, but not limited to: updates, coordination of information required in the DAAPP, and coordination of the annual notification to employees and students and the biennial review. A committee comprised of the Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator, Associate Dean of the College, Director of Campus Safety, Directors of Health and Counseling Services, and a student have been established to assist with these responsibilities and conduct Cornell College’s biennial review of the DAAPP. This team is responsible to the College President and provides a report to the President’s Cabinet annually

Appendix A


Alcohol - State Laws

The students at the College who use alcoholic beverages are subject to the alcoholic beverage laws of the State of Iowa, contained in Chapter 123 of the Code of Iowa, which are as follows:

A. Purchase, Consumption, or Possession of Alcohol by a Minor: An individual less than 21 years of age may not purchase or attempt to purchase nor legally consume alcoholic beverages (including wine and beer) in public. A violation of the above is a simple misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100.00 for the first offense. Second and subsequent offenses are serious misdemeanors punishable by a fine of $250.00 and suspension of driving privileges for a period not to exceed one year. However, if the person is less than 18 years of age, the violation shall be referred to the Juvenile Justice System under Iowa Code Chapter 232. No person shall sell, give or otherwise supply alcoholic beverages to any individual less than 21 years of age. A violation by a person of legal age is a serious misdemeanor punishable by a minimal fine of $500.00. If the result of supplying alcoholic beverages to a minor results in serious injury or death, the supplier of the alcoholic beverage commits an aggregated misdemeanor of class "D" felony, respectively.

B. Public Intoxication: An individual shall not use or consume alcoholic beverages (including wine or beer) in any public place not covered by a liquor license. A person shall not be intoxicated (or pretend to be intoxicated) in a any public place. A person violating this provision is guilty of a simple misdemeanor with imprisonment not to exceed 30 days or a fine of at least $50, not to exceed $100.

C. Sale of Alcoholic Beverages without a License: The sale or resale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited by Iowa law unless the seller possesses a valid license or permit.

D. Driving while Intoxicated: A person commits the offense of operating while intoxicated if the person operates a motor vehicle in this State either while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drug or a combination of such substances or while having an alcohol concentration of .10 or more. A first offense is a serious misdemeanor and is punishable by all of the following: jail for not less than 48 hours, a fine up to $1,000.00, revocation of driving privileges and license for a minimum of 180 days, and assignment to substance abuse evaluation and treatment, a course for drinking drivers, and reality education substance abuse preventative program. A second offense, an aggregated misdemeanor, is punishable by jail of not less than seven days and a fine of not less than $1,500.00 nor more than $5,000.00. A third and each subsequent offense, a Class "D" felony is punishable by jail for not more than one year but not less than 30 days and a fine of not less than $2,500.00 nor more than $7,500.00. In addition to the above, a person who is under the age of 21 shall not operate a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of .02 or more. A minor violating this provision faces revocation of driving privilege and license. A court may also order an offender to attend a course for drinking drivers and, for second or more offenses, may order a substance abuse evaluation.

E. Open Container Laws: It is illegal for a person to transport, carry, possess, or have any alcohol within the passenger area of a motor vehicle except in the original container and with the seal unbroken.

Alcohol - Mount Vernon Ordinances

A. Purchase, Sale, Consumption or Possession of Alcohol by a Minor: An individual less than 21 years of age in possession of alcoholic liquor, wine or beer within the corporate limits of Mount Vernon is guilty of a simple misdemeanor. An individual less than 21 years of age who misrepresents their age in an attempt to purchase liquor, wine or beer is guilty of a simple misdemeanor. Mount Vernon Municipal Code 45.01. A simple misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of $100 or 30 days in jail. It is also illegal for a minor to serve beer in a business which does less than 50% of its business in food sales, or to be present in such an establishment without a parent or guardian.

B. Public Intoxication: No person shall be intoxicated nor simulate intoxication in a public place. A person violating this section is subject to a maximum of $100 fine or 30 days in jail.

Illicit Drugs

Illicit drugs (controlled substances) are subject to the following state and federal prohibitions:

State Statutes: Iowa law provides that it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, or to act or conspire with others to do such acts. Anyone violating this provision will be subject to criminal penalties depending on what schedule the particular substance falls under, as set out in Iowa code Chapter 124. The penalties range from a serious misdemeanor to a class "D" felony. These penalties also apply to medical or prescription drugs unless delivered or possessed pursuant to a valid prescription. It is also illegal to manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver any counterfeit or simulated controlled substance.

Federal Laws: Under Federal law, illicit drugs are subject to the following penalties:

Federal Penalties and Sanctions for Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance

21 U.S.C. 844(a) Simple possession:

1st conviction: Up to 1 year imprisonment and/or fined at least $1,000 but not more than $100,000, or both. After 1 prior drug conviction under federal or state law: At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed 2 years and fined at least $2,500 but not more than $250,000, or both. After 2 or more prior drug convictions under federal or state law: At least 90 days in prison, not to exceed 3 years and fined at least $5,000 but not more than $250,000, or both. Special sentencing provisions for possession of crack cocaine: Mandatory minimum of five years in prison, not to exceed 20 years and fined up to $250,000, or both, if:

a. 1st conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 5 grams

b. 2nd crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 3 grams

c. 3rd or subsequent crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 1 gram.

21 U.S.C. 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7) Criminal forfeiture:

Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than one year imprisonment. (See special sentencing provisions re: crack).

21 U.S.C. 881(a)(4) Criminal forfeiture:

Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance.

21 U.S.C. 844a Civil Penalty for Possession of Small Amount of Certain Controlled Substances:

Civil fine of up to $10,000 for each such violation.

21 U.S.C. 862 Denial of Benefits

Denial of Federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, up to 1 year for first offense, up to 5 year for second and subsequent offenses for possession of controlled substances. Increased penalties apply if convicted for drug trafficking.

18 U.S.C. 922(g) Firearms

Ineligibility to receive or purchase a firearm.


Revocation of certain Federal licenses and benefits, e.g., pilot licenses, public housing tenancy etc., are vested within the authorities of individual Federal agencies.


Appendix B

Substance Abuse Resources

For Students

Cornell College Counseling Center; 319-895-4292; Ebersole Health Center

Provides short-term counseling and psychotherapy, on-line and in-person alcohol screenings; services are free of charge to currently enrolled Cornell students.

For Employees

Mercy Employee Assistance Program (EAP); 800-383-6694
Offered through mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids for employees and immediate family members; services include unlimited annual counseling services for employees and family members.

Area Services

Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC)
3601 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids; 319-39-4611

MECCA Substance Abuse Services
430 Southgarte Ave., Iowa City; 319-351-4357

St. Luke's Chemical Dependency Services
1030 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids; 319-363-4429
1125 Shirken Dr.,Iowa City; 319-338-9322

University of Iowa Health Care Chemical Dependency Center
5 Boyd tower, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City: 319-384-8765

Al-Anon & Alcoholics Anonymous
Cedar Rapids area: 319-365-5955
Iowa City area: 319-341-7068, 319-338-9111

Narcotics Anonymous