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Biennial Review - Safe and Free Schools Act

Drug Free Schools and Communities Act

Southwest Minnesota State University Biennial Review - 2010


The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 Amendments required institutions of higher education to design and implement alcohol and illicit drug programs on their campuses. As a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, an institution of higher education has to certify that it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent "the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees" on campus property or as part of any campus activity. This legislation directed Universities to:

  1. To develop a written policy on alcohol and other drugs
  2. To develop a process that ensures policy distribution to all students, staff and faculty
  3. To enumerate federal, state or local sanctions for unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol
  4. To describe health risks associated with alcohol abuse or illicit drug use
  5. To describe University drug and alcohol programs available for students and employees
  6. To specify disciplinary sanctions imposed on students and employees for policy violations
  7. To conduct biennial reviews to assess the effectiveness of its alcohol and drug programs.

The law further requires an institution of higher education to review its program to:

  1. To determine its effectiveness and implement changes if they are needed, and
  2. To ensure that the sanctions developed are consistently enforced

In compliance with federal legislation, the Coordinator of Student Judicial Affairs for Southwest Minnesota State University has prepared this biennial review.

Biennial Review Process

The Coordinator reviewed components essential to the University's drug and alcohol program: policy statements, publications, services, data collection, educational programming, campus life, alternative student activities, and data on student and employee conduct.

A major objective of this review was to continue and expand meaningful and consistent data collection procedures, as well as initiate new methods of communication about the significance of drug and alcohol use on our campus.

University Initiatives on Drug and Alcohol Issues

Since the last biennial review, Southwest Minnesota State University has implemented or continued the following programs:

  1. Referral of at-risk individuals to appropriate resources by the Judicial Affairs office. This includes review of student conduct files as well as information gained from collaboration with University wide resources.
  2. University Staffing Committee reviews reports of students displaying high-risk behaviors and determines if immediate interventions are needed or if a student can be referred to other resources.
  3. Mental Health Counseling Center offers drug and alcohol abuse screenings and referrals.
  4. Residential Life Staff are trained to recognize the symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse and refer individual students to appropriate resources.
  5. Student Judicial Affairs requires all first time alcohol offenders to attend an On Campus Talking About Alcohol class as an educational component of their sanctions. The class is designed to educate students about the dangers and alternatives to binge drinking. The fees from the class go toward providing Thursday, Friday and Saturday night programming as an alternative to students engaging in potentially risky alcohol and drug related behaviors. An illegal drug component to this class is being developed.
  6. The University has in place a formal Employee Assistance Program to assist employees in addressing problems such as alcohol or other drug abuse. Employees who may have an alcohol or other drug abuse problem are encouraged to seek a professional assessment from the Employee Assistance Program before the problem affects their employment status. Participation in this program is voluntary and confidential, except as may be required pursuant to Public Law 100-690, Title V, Subtitle D.

University Compliance with Federal Legislation I. University Policy

Southwest Minnesota State University recognizes that the misuse of alcohol and other drugs is a serious problem in our society and our community. This University seeks to create a campus environment which promotes healthy and responsible living that is conducive to the intellectual and personal development of students. The University is committed to establishing and enforcing clear campus policies regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs.

Southwest Minnesota State University complies with and supports the Minnesota State Colleges and University Board of Trustees policy governing alcohol and other drugs on campus, the Drug Free Schools and Community Act, the Drug Free Workplace Act, the Campus Security Act and Minnesota State law.

University Policies regarding student misconduct involving illegal drugs or alcohol can be found in the SMSU student handbook.

Policies governing employee misconduct involving illegal drugs or alcohol is regulated by State of Minnesota policy and can be found here:

II. Distribution of Written Policy

University drug and alcohol policy brochures are provided to current students via email, new students at orientation, current employees via email and new employees during new employee orientation.
The policies are found in the Annual Campus Crime Report published by the Campus Security Department, The Southwest Minnesota State University website and the Student Handbook. These publications are available to all students and employees.

III. Health Risks Associated with Illicit Drug Use and Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol and drug use is prohibited not simply because it is against the law, but because of the demonstrated health risks associated with use. While the following list is not exhaustive, it serves to demonstrate the range of potential hazards associated with illicit drug and alcohol use.
Information about the health risks of drug use and abuse is available in the Student Handbook, Campus Crime Report and can be accessed through the following web site:

  • ALCOHOL Loss of concentration and judgment, slowed reflexes; disorientation leading to higher risk of accidents and problem behavior; risk of liver and heart damage, malnutrition, cancer and other illnesses; can be highly addictive to some persons.
  • AMPHETAMINES Can cause rushed, careless behavior - pushing beyond your physical capacity, leading to exhaustion; tolerance increases rapidly; causes physical and psychological dependence; withdrawal can result in depression and suicide; continued high doses can cause heart problems, infections, malnutrition, and death.
  • CANNABIS Causes permanent damage to lungs, reproductive organs and brain function; slows reflexes; increases forgetfulness; alters judgment of space and distance.
  • COCAINE Causes damage to respiratory and immune systems; induces malnutrition, seizures and loss of brain function. Some forms (such as "crack") are highly addictive.
  • HALLUCINOGENS (PCP, LSD, Ecstasy) Causes extreme distortions of what's seen and heard; induces sudden changes in behavior, loss of concentration and memory; increases risk of birth defects in user's children; overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma, and death. Frequent use can cause permanent loss of mental function.
  • NARCOTICS (Heroin, morphine, opium, codeine) Tolerance increases rapidly; causes physical and psychological dependence; overdose can cause coma, convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death; leads to malnutrition, infection and hepatitis; sharing needles is a leading cause of the spread of HIV and Hepatitis; highly addictive.
  • SEDATIVES Tolerance increases rapidly; produces physical and psychological dependence; causes reduced reaction time, and confusion; overdoses can cause coma, respiratory arrest, convulsions, and death; withdrawal can be dangerous; in combination with other controlled substances can quickly cause coma and death.

IV. Legal Sanctions

State and federal legal sanctions for violations of drug and alcohol laws are detailed in the Annual Campus Crime Report and the Student Handbook.

V. Resources

Counseling and Support Groups

On Campus:

  • Mental Health Counseling Center (507)537-6150
  • Health Services (507)537-7202

Off Campus:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (507)537-1777 Narcotics Anonymous 877-767-7676
  • 24 Hour Helpline 800-759-2793
  • Project Turnabout: 507-532-2008

Employee Assistance: (Available for all SMSU employees).

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