How We Live Together - Policies

Alcohol  |  Drugs  |  Tobacco  |  Physical Conflict Weapons  |  Sexual Misconduct  |  Hazing  |  Complicity  |  Theft  |  Unauthorized Entry  |  Damage to Property  |  Failure to Comply  |  Fire Hazards  |  Pets  |  Immunizations

Alcohol Policy

The University’s policy regarding the use of alcoholic beverages by students is derived from its general philosophy of student life. University of the South students are regarded as people who are morally and legally responsible for their own conduct within the context of the norms and values of an educational community and as responsible residents of the local community in which the university is located, with respect for the laws of the state and community. As part of its overall educational program and mission, the University provides counseling and educational programs related to alcohol and drug use and abuse.

The University regards intoxication as irresponsible behavior both because of its effects on an individual’s ability to exercise sound judgment and because of its potential threats to health and safety. Not only do students incur serious risks for themselves and others when they drink to excess, but they also make themselves legally liable to prosecution, as well as morally responsible, when they contribute to irresponsible consumption by others and dire consequences ensue.

In an effort to encourage students to think first about the choices they make concerning alcohol, the University has developed a holistic philosophy that promotes healthier choices within a healthier community. In short, the University, the Student Life Division, and the Sewanee Police Department are committed to the following objectives:

  • To reducing the prominence of alcohol on campus and the harms and high-risk behaviors that alcohol and other drugs bring to campus life;
  • To providing a myriad of healthy social and intellectual experiences;
  • To fostering a community of accountability and to teaching students personal responsibility.
  • To supporting students who have challenges with alcohol and substance abuse through a variety of ways, including counseling and support groups.

Where appropriate, alcoholic beverages may be consumed in a non-abusive manner by individuals of legal age, and social hosts may sponsor events at which alcoholic beverages are permitted with the understanding that hosts bear the responsibility for abiding by state laws, for establishing reasonable guidelines for the behavior of their guests, and for taking measures to discourage alcohol abuse at their social functions.

As appropriate, these policies apply to groups as well as individuals. The University's statement on Social Host Responsibility for groups is available here.

Rules Governing Alcohol

  1. The University prohibits the unlawful use, possession, and distribution of alcoholic beverages. Under Tennessee law, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to buy, possess, transport, or consume alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine. It is also unlawful for a person over 21 to buy or furnish alcoholic beverages for anyone under 21. Any student who violates state law or the University’s alcohol policies is subject both to the jurisdiction of local law enforcement officials and the discipline system of the University.

  2. The public display of alcoholic beverages on campus, public intoxication, and drunk and disorderly conduct in public or private locations (including residence halls and fraternity houses), and the possession of paraphernalia such as beer funnels are violations of University policy. Public places on campus include all property and buildings not held by a private leaseholder, including all University buildings. Occasionally areas normally considered public (e.g., Cravens Hall, Lake Cheston Amphitheater, Manigault Park, and Guerry Garth) may be designated private for specified events, and persons 21 and over may be permitted to possess alcoholic beverages in these areas in accordance with these policies. Private locations such as leaseholds where students may live are not exempt from University policies governing alcohol use.

  3. Common sources of alcoholic beverages (which include, but are not limited to, kegs, bulk quantities of canned or bottled beer or wine, and bulk quantities of alcoholic punch) are not permitted except in very rare and highly supervised circumstances, and as approved by the Dean of Students.

  4. Display, possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages are prohibited in all public areas of residence halls such as common rooms, courtyards, breezeways, and halls. Within their individual rooms, students are expected to remain mindful of Residential Life rules and restrictions and state law at all times.

  5. Consumption of alcoholic beverages at any public athletic contest, including all varsity, club, and intramural games, is a violation of the Sewanee social policy and, as appropriate, of NCAA and conference rules.

  6. Initiation and recruiting practices that include the encouragement or promotion of alcohol consumption are prohibited. Organizations guilty of this infraction will be suspended. The College’s policy on hazing can be found in the Student Organization Handbook.

  7. In addition to being a violation of Tennessee law, driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a violation of University policy. Any student found driving under the influence is subject to serious University penalties, including separation.

  8. No alcohol may be sold on the Domain, except by vendors with appropriate permits.

  9. Students who drug others will face serious consequences--very likely separation from the University. “Drugging others” includes, but is not limited to, adding drugs to a common source of alcohol or slipping drugs into food or an individual’s drink.  Those complicit in the distribution of drugged beverages or food will also face serious sanctions.

  10. In addition to being handled through the University, conduct violations that are also violations of Tennessee law may be referred to the appropriate legal authorities for adjudication.

The University’s disciplinary process is not a legal process and thus rules of law that apply in court proceedings, such as rules related to evidence and procedures required in legal proceedings do not apply and will not be used.  While rules and procedures applicable in legal proceedings do not apply to conduct proceedings, the University does provide fair opportunity for students to respond to allegations of misconduct. Those procedures are described in more detail below under “How We Hold Each Other Accountable.”  

Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty Policy

In order to promote the safety of all University of the South students in situations involving medical risk from alcohol or drug consumption, any student who calls 911 or the Student Life staff to assist another student needing emergency and/or medical attention will not be cited for any offense under the alcohol or drug policy. The student needing emergency and/or medical attention will not be cited for any offense under the alcohol or drug policy but will be required to meet with Dean of Students staff and may be asked to complete alcohol and/or drug education, obtain a substance abuse assessment, or  be assigned other remedial activities deemed appropriate. If a student violates any other college policy while intoxicated, those infractions are subject to citation. If the student is taken to the hospital, the University reserves the right to contact the student’s parents/guardian. While individuals needing emergency and/or medical attention are protected under this policy more than once, students who find themselves in a pattern of unhealthy actions and consequences will be required to meet with the Dean of Students staff to discuss their behaviors and how they affect their success as a student, their community, and in some cases, their continued enrollment as a student.  

Alcohol Abuse

The deans of students will respond to those students who are experiencing problems because of alcohol abuse. If the abuse should manifest itself in the person’s academic performance or social behavior, a dean will meet with the individual to discuss the problems associated with his or her substance use. The dean and student will generate alternatives for dealing with the situation, including counseling options and consequences if further problems occur. Additionally, the student may be required to complete a confidential substance use evaluation with a licensed clinician, at the student’s own expense.. If the dean determines that the student must withdraw from the University for medical or chemical dependency reasons, he or she must leave the Domain within 24 hours.

The deans of students most often become aware of an individual’s abuse because of a disciplinary infraction. Any person who is guilty of this kind of disciplinary offense may be required to submit to a substance abuse educational program and/or may ultimately be required to withdraw from the college.

Drug Policy

The University of the South recognizes the enormous health hazards associated with the illegal use of drugs. In addition to this basic concern for the well-being of Sewanee students, it is also important to note that the University seeks to promote a vigorous intellectual community and a community that encourages growth into responsible citizenship. Since the presence and use of illegal drugs stands in direct contradiction to these basic concerns for our students, the University discourages the presence of these substances from our campus.

The University of the South intends to send a “zero tolerance” message regarding illegal possession or misuse of drugs, or knowingly being in the presence of those who possess or misuse drugs. Students found to be in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary action. An example of “knowingly being in the presence of” drug possession or misuse would be someone who does not possess and is not using drugs, but is standing in a discernible group of people where one or more persons are using drugs when observed by a University official, giving rise to the inference that all those in the group were participating in a drug activity. This is only one example, but there could be many such situations, so students must be sure to dissociate themselves from those possessing or misusing drugs.

It is widely acknowledged that there are significant health risks associated with the use of drugs and abuse of alcohol. Physical and psychological dependence; damage (in many cases irreversible) to vital organs such as the brain, liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, and pancreas; heart attack; high blood pressure and strokes; birth defects; immunosuppression and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases; coma; and death have all been attributed to use of illicit drugs or abuse of alcohol. Other less life threatening ill effects, but nonetheless serious in the college environment, include nausea, convulsions, insomnia, delirium, depression, nervousness, loss of concentration, and fatigue.

Unauthorized possession, use, manufacture, and distribution of narcotics, hallucinogens, and dangerous drugs, including (but not limited to) marijuana, cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), roofies (GHB), ecstasy, and prescription drugs, are illegal under both federal and state law. By state law, synthetic drugs meant to mimic illegal drugs (e.g. K2, K3, bath salts, “Spice,” “Molly’s Plant Food,” “Vampire Blood,” “Ivory Wave,” “Cloud 9,” or upper/downer brownies) are also illegal. The use of inhalants, including (but not limited to) nitrous oxide (“whippits”) is prohibited. Students may be subject to prosecution by civil authorities for violation of federal and state drug laws..

The following rules reflect the serious attitude that the University has taken in confronting this area of our society’s drug-abuse problem.  The University’s Drug- Free Campus Statement can be found on the Provost’s Page at:

  1. Anyone who sells, distributes, or provides illegal drugs, including prescription drugs and synthetic drugs, to another person will most likely be suspended from the University. Students found responsible for any drug offense may be required to submit to drug testing (including hair testing) at their own expense, as a condition for continued enrollment at the University.

  2. The use or possession of marijuana or the illegal use or misuse of prescription drugs on or off campus is strictly prohibited. Students found guilty of marijuana possession or use while participating in a University-sponsored or University-coordinated program abroad are generally suspended immediately. Reinstatement to the University is not possible without some form of counseling and treatment, deemed appropriate by the University Counseling Office. Again, students found responsible for any drug offense may be required to submit to drug testing (including hair testing) at their own expense, as a condition for continued enrollment at the University.

  3. Students who drug others will face serious consequences--very likely permanent separation (expulsion) from the University. “Drugging others” includes, but is not limited to, adding drugs to a common source of alcohol or slipping drugs into food or an individual’s drink.  Those complicit in the distribution of drugged beverages or food will also face serious sanctions.

  4. The possession of other illegal drugs generally results in suspension. This includes the use or possession of LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, crack, roofies, mushrooms, and drugs not medically authorized. Consideration for reinstatement may be given after appropriate counseling and rehabilitation. As noted, students found responsible for any drug offense may be required to submit to drug testing (including hair testing) at their own expense, as a condition for continued enrollment or reinstatement at the University.

  5. Students found responsible for illegal drug use or possession are at risk of termination of their federal student financial aid.

Students have an obligation to help uphold the standards of the community. Go to this page to report a violation of the University’s alcohol or drug policies. 

Tobacco Use

The University recognizes that tobacco products may cause adverse health effects for those who use them, as well as for those who are exposed secondhand to their use. University policy mirrors the requirements of the Tennessee Non-Smokers Protection Act, which prohibits smoking in almost all enclosed places, including private educational facilities (like academic buildings), common-use areas (like libraries, dining halls, and recreation centers), and multi-unit residential facilities (like residence halls). Additionally, the University prohibits the use of tobacco products--including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes--inside or within 50 feet of the entrance to any University building.

Physical Conflict

Students should always respect the dignity of others, which extends to another’s right to be free from the harmful, offensive or otherwise undesired touching that may occur during a physical conflict. Physical conflicts include actual contact between individuals as well as threatening physical harm, regardless of whether physical contact occurs or not. A student’s intent to initiate physical contact is not necessary for a violation to occur; however, intent will escalate the university’s response. Physical conflict related to domestic or dating violence will be adjudicated according to the University’s Sexual Misconduct policy.


The University’s Weapons Policy can be found on the Provost’s page at:

Sexual Misconduct

All members of the Sewanee community are expected to treat each other with dignity and respect at all times. Sexual misconduct at any level or of any type will not be tolerated. Any report of sexual misconduct will be handled through the University’s Title IX office, according to the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The University’s Title IX Coordinator is Dr. Sylvia Gray.  Dr. Gray is located in Woods Lab 138 and can be reached at or 931.598.1420. See the policy at


Hazing is any conduct that causes or would reasonably be expected to cause another person to experience humiliation, degradation, abuse, intimidation, harassment, or endangerment of mental or physical health or safety as a condition of association with a group, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate and regardless of whether the organization or group is officially recognized. Acts of hazing by groups, individuals, or alumni are prohibited. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts but violations of the hazing policy.

New or prospective members of groups and teams can expect to participate in educational and fun activities that build teamwork and camaraderie among all members of the group. Such activities are intended to create a sense of identity and commitment within a group and are generally acceptable and encouraged. Students should check with staff, advisors, sponsors, and coaches if there is any question about an activity constituting hazing. Groups are subject to the policies and procedures of the Dean of Students Office and recognizing or host department. Groups and individuals may each be held responsible for hazing violations.

Conditions that Create a Hazing Culture

New members often wish to be accepted, either formally or informally, into any group and will submit to hazing in order to be included. Because of this, consent to be hazed does not excuse hazing. Students across the country have died or been seriously injured as a result of participating in activities to which they have “consented.” The psychological pull to be accepted is so strong that hazing victims cannot be expected to resist hazing, even if the hazing is presented as optional. That this pull can be so coercive should make this need to prohibit this conduct, to any degree, undeniably clear.

  1. Any activity that places new members in subservient positions to experienced members creates an unhealthy and unsafe power dynamic in which control has been yielded to the experienced member.

  2. New members in any organization may expect to be trained, oriented, or indoctrinated, but membership in any group that puts a new member in a lesser role, unrelated to the original conditions for membership or mission of the group, is inappropriate and unfair to the new members. Any activities of membership should be equally shared among experienced and new members.

Anonymous Reporting

Incidents of hazing, in addition to other kinds of reports, can be reported anonymously at:

The College’s policy on hazing can be found in the Student Organization Handbook.

Other Policies


In our community, students have a responsibility to take action to preserve our community standards and values. Sewanee students routinely pride themselves for “looking out for each other.” Opposed to that spirit of shared responsibility is “complicity”—the conscious failure to take reasonable action in the face of a clear wrong. It is “approval by inaction.” Students who are demonstrably complicit in the conduct violations of others may face disciplinary consequences. Consider the student who observes another selling drugs yet does nothing, or the student who observes another committing an act of sexual misconduct (be it harassment, groping, or non-consensual sexual intercourse) yet does nothing: in each case the student has engaged in complicity and would reasonably face sanctions proportionate to the incident.

Students have an obligation to help uphold the standards of the community.  Reports can be made at


Students should respect the property of individuals, the University, and others. Students are expected not to have another’s property without express permission. A student who keeps property that excludes its rightful owner of its use or enjoyment when the student knows or reasonably should have known the property belonged to another will be treated as if the student took it no matter how it came into the student’s possession. The University will escalate its response when a student who has another’s property intentionally took it or kept it without express permission. Violations of theft will be considered under the Honor Code. Additionally, where taking or possessing another’s property without permission may be a crime, the matter will be referred to law enforcement.

Unauthorized Entry

In the interest of student safety as well as successful living and learning, students are expected to not physically enter non-public areas of the University without first receiving the appropriate permission(s) that grants access. Permission may provided in many forms, such as actual permission from the person that controls the area, card access, etc. Further, students are expected to refrain from assisting others without permission to enter such areas. Non-public areas include, but are not limited to, residence halls, residence hall rooms, construction areas, athletic playing surfaces, staff or faculty offices, card-restricted rooms/areas, rooftops, balconies, etc.

Damage to Property or Premises

The damage, destruction, or abuse of personal or University property and/or premises is subject to disciplinary action and may be subject to criminal charges. Students may be charged for any damage to University facilities and public areas that result from misconduct or misuse. Students are individually and collectively responsible for any damage unrelated to reasonable “wear and tear.” University property including, but not limited to, furniture, plants, mattresses, doors, screens, and other furnishing in lounges or reception areas, may not be removed or exchanged, stacked, or otherwise relocated.

Failure to Comply

Students are expected to be cooperative and respectful to University officials who are acting in the performance of their duties. This includes, but is not limited to, University administrators, faculty and staff such as area coordinators, proctors, Facilities Management personnel, dining services personnel, or campus police officers. Further, students are expected to comply with instructions, requests. or orders of a University official, a University official’s designee, or a University document. Note: failure to comply during the adjudication process may result in adjudication in the student’s absence and/or further disciplinary sanctions such as monetary fines and a Student Affairs Hold, which will prevent a student from obtaining transcripts and reapplying to the University. A failure to comply violation can result when a student knows or should have known of the instruction, request, or order.

Deceptive Behavior

Students should engage in honest interactions and refrain from deceptive behavior. Deceptive behavior is prohibited regardless of whether another person is actually deceived. Behaviors that violate this policy include, but are not limited to, altering documents, records, forms, or identifications; forging or using forged documents, records, forms, or identifications; using another student’s identification; using another student’s ID number; or providing false or misleading information to a University official. Violations of this policy will be adjudicated under the Honor Code.

Fire Hazards and Combustible Materials

The University is committed to the safety and welfare of our community. Combustible materials including, but not limited to, gasoline, gunpowder, flammable chemicals, explosives, etc., are not permitted. Incendiary devices of any kind, including fireworks, are strictly prohibited in University facilities and on the premises of the University. Fire Hazards such as candles, appliances restricted by Residential Life for campus housing, extension cords restricted by Residence Life from the Residence Halls, etc. are not permitted. Smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, alarms, and fire extinguishers are integral to student and facility safety and are not to be tampered with, disabled, or misused in any way. Smoke detectors must remain plugged in (if not battery operated).  Students are prohibited from covering a smoke detector with any object for any reason. Due to its significant importance in protecting the community, the University is assertive in addressing violations of this policy.

Pets and Other Animals

Sewanee strives to promote a safe and healthy learning and working environment. Consequently, pets and other animals are prohibited from University-owned buildings (excluding rental properties) unless the animal is in the service of a person with a disability, an approved emotional support animal, or the animal is used in classroom instruction. Members of the Sewanee community and neighbors are free to walk their pets on campus so long as the pets are on a leash and the pets’ owners pick up after their pets. A minimum $25 fine is imposed for violation of this policy, and students may be fined an additional $25 per day the animal continues to be kept on the Domain.  


Students entering the University are required to have on record proof of immunizations and to file the appropriate supporting documentation with The Wellness Center. More information on the requirements can be found at

Students who are unable to complete all of the required vaccines prior to arrival must have an approved plan on record through the University Wellness Center to fulfill these requirements before they will be given keys to their room. 


Updated: August 5, 2018