Office of Alcohol Policy & Education

Stanford University is committed to student safety and well-being, and thus maintains an educational approach to dealing with alcohol and drug issues on campus. In order to further student learning, development and success and to promote the University’s academic mission, Stanford fosters an environment of personal and collective responsibility and respectful citizenship. This means that all members of the university community—students, faculty and staff—have a role in safeguarding a healthy learning environment free of the consequences of alcohol misuse. The University also strives to create a culture that supports students who do not use alcohol and students who use alcohol in a safe, legal and responsible fashion. Many students choose to abstain from substance use and the University strongly supports this choice. The majority of students will make respectable choices about alcohol and drug use and will behave responsibly.

Alcohol Policy

Stanford students are expected to behave responsibly, both in the classroom and outside, both on campus and off. In particular, the University does not tolerate reckless drinking—lawful or unlawful—and its consequent harmful behaviors. The University is especially concerned about the misuse of distilled alcohol products (“hard alcohol”), and the dangers that arise from that misuse.

All students should understand the physical and behavioral effects of alcohol misuse, and should avoid such misuse themselves. In addition, they are expected to do their part to ensure the safety of fellow students whom they perceive to be engaged in reckless drinking behavior or to be suffering from its consequences.

The University provides educational resources to assure that students understand the effects of alcohol misuse and know how to respond when they perceive others to be engaged in dangerous behavior.

Reckless drinking and encouraging reckless drinking are violations of University policy, and may be subject to disciplinary action. Extreme or repeated violations may result in dismissal from the University.

More generally, students are expected to make healthy, responsible choices concerning their personal use of alcohol and the University supports them in this endeavor through education and other resources. The University sponsors activities and programs focused on students who choose not to drink or to drink lightly, as well as resources and services to assist students who need help for themselves or others related to alcohol use.

For those who will be coming to Stanford from another state or from another country, you should be aware that in California it is illegal to: drink alcohol if you are under 21 years of age; buy alcohol for minors; serve alcohol to minors; and possess a fake ID. The Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) enforces the drinking-age requirement. Drugs, including marijuana, are illegal in California. Stanford University offers a range of educational programming about alcohol and drugs, and partners in these efforts with students, faculty, staff, and the police.

Alcohol Policy Violations

F or those who engage in high-risk and/or disruptive drinking behaviors, the University takes swift steps to intervene. Stanford takes a strong position in regard to illicit drugs (including the abuse of prescription drugs) and does not tolerate misuse. Students risk judicial proceedings and serious consequences for drug violations.The Office of Alcohol Policy and Education will work with the following offices to address violations of the University’s alcohol policy as determined by the specifics of each situation.  

Violations may be referred to the Office of Community Standards (for individual students) and the Organization Conduct Board (for student groups). The Dean of Student Life may take action as well in certain circumstances.

Cardinal Nights

Cardinal Nights is an OAPE initiative that seeks to challenge the faulty normative belief that alcohol is needed in order to have fun on a college campus. We are dedicated to de-emphasizing alcohol and reducing high-risk drinking on campus. The mission of Cardinal Nights is to shift the campus culture away from a focus on alcohol by providing premium, equally attractive, non-alcoholic social programming.

Core Values

  • Build community
  • Promote inclusion
  • Expand and support services for non-drinkers and light drinkers
  • Provide leadership opportunities for students
  • Infuse a collaborative approach to planning events on campus between students and professional staff
  • Produce data to support the importance of our programming and the impact it is having on our student community

For more information about Cardinal Nights

For more information about Alcohol Policy and Education

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