Policy on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

The university recognizes that the use or consumption of alcohol, tobacco products, and other drugs can adversely impact academic achievement, personal development, health, and safety. Individuals who violate university policy, local, state or federal regulations are subject to arrest and/or disciplinary sanctions including, but not limited to, required assessment, treatment, restrictions or expulsion.

Medical Amnesty/ Good Samaritan Procedures

It is of the utmost importance that one calls for medical assistance when a student(s) is severely intoxicated or seriously injured after consuming alcohol or drugs. Because these emergencies can be life threatening, Viterbo works to reduce barriers to seeking assistance.

The university recognizes that sometimes concern about Viterbo disciplinary action may deter students from seeking medical assistance for themselves or others in drug- or alcohol-related emergencies. Therefore, Viterbo University will not take disciplinary action for a violation of Viterbo’s Code of Student Conduct, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Policy, or other university policies, against those students who seek emergency medical assistance for themselves or other students. This protection is not available to those students who violate other university policy that warrants disciplinary action (e.g., students who are disruptive or combative, refuse treatment, possess a false identification, commit assault, and/or do property damage).

The university also recognizes the significant threat to health and safety of ingesting dangerous amounts of alcohol and/or drugs and will work to ensure the involved student receives appropriate education and evaluation in order to reduce this risk. As a result, any student for whom assistance is sought under this policy will be required to complete education, assessment, and/or possible referral for treatment. The student will be responsible for any associated costs. In the event the student incurs any alcohol violation during the 12-month period following the Good Samaritan report, the prior assistance file may be reviewed as part of the sanctioning process but will not be counted as a prior alcohol offense for the purpose of imposing mandatory minimum sanctions.

It is Viterbo’s expectation that a student will avoid disciplinary action under this Good Samaritan policy only once; it is an opportunity to learn from a serious mistake and take healthy steps to avoid such mistakes in the future. The policy does not prevent action by police, or other legal authorities nor does it protect a reporting student from potential criminal or civil liability.

Medical emergencies: Alcohol and/or drug consumption/misuse can result in a medical emergency. Students and/or staff should request help with such an emergency immediately by visiting a hospital emergency room and/or by contacting 911, Campus Security, Health Services or Student Life.

Voluntary Seeking Assistance: When a student recognizes that she or he has difficulty with substance abuse and agrees to voluntary withdrawal to participate in a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program at his or her own expense, penalties incurred for disruptive behavior resulting from the use of alcohol and/or drug consumption may be waived.

Smoking and Tobacco Policy

Viterbo University is a smoke and tobacco free campus. Viterbo University helps ensure a healthy campus environment by prohibiting the use, sale, advertisement and distribution of smoking and tobacco products including, but not limited to cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, e-cigarettes, vaping devices, etc. Possession of e-cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products are not permitted in university housing. Smoking and tobacco products are prohibited from being utilized in university facilities, on university grounds, on sidewalks on and adjacent to university property, in university parking lots, at university-sponsored events, and in university vehicles. Policy violations may be reported to Campus Safety and Security, Human Resources, and/or Residence Life. Persons violating this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

Students and employees interested in smoking cessation are encouraged to contact Wisconsin Quit Line at 1-800- QUIT NOW. The Wisconsin Quit Line is available 24/7 and provides free medications, life coaching and web forums. Viterbo Health Services and Counseling Services are also available for assistance.

Policy on Alcohol and other Drugs

The Viterbo University Code of Student Conduct includes the following prohibited behaviors:

  1. Use, possession, sale, manufacturing and/or distribution of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, cannabis, Delta 8, Delta 9, other THC containing substances, prescribed drugs, synthetics, heroin, narcotics, and/or other substances banned by Wisconsin state statues.
    • Alcohol and/or other drug intoxication regardless of age. Indicators of alcohol and/or other drug intoxication may be blood/breath alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08, bloodshot or glassy eyes, blurred vision, confusion, chills or sweating, irrational conversation, mood swings, rapid eye movement, slurred speech, strong odor of alcohol or other drugs, unsteady walk or gait, or other actions that signify poor judgment.
    • Inability to exercise care for one’s own safety and/or the safety of others due to intoxication.
    • Behavior that encourages or contributes to excessive alcohol consumption by any student.
    • Alcoholic beverages may not, in any circumstances, be used, possessed and/or distributed to any person under 21 years of age.
    • No alcohol is allowed in an on-campus apartment unless all assigned residents and guests present are 21 or older; alcohol is not allowed in first-year residence halls regardless of resident age.
    • Alcohol and drugs may be confiscated by Residence Life and/or Campus Safety and Security personnel.
    • Prescription drugs are permitted on university property only for use by the person to whom the prescription is written.
  2. Violation of any federal (USA), state (Wisconsin) or local law (City of La Crosse or La Crosse County). When off-campus incidents come to the attention of University officials, the officials may follow up with disciplinary action. This may occur following parties, study abroad, travel for university-sponsored events, team travel, etc.
  3. Use, sale, advertisement or distribution of tobacco products (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, e-cigarettes, vaping devices, etc.) in university facilities, on university grounds, at university events, and in university fleet vehicle.

These stipulations are also university policy:

  1. Serving alcohol to an individual who has not reached 21 years of age is prohibited on Viterbo property and at university-sponsored events.
  2. Students may possess moderate amounts of alcohol (i.e. no more than 12 cans of beer, one bottle of liquor no more than 1.75 liters each or up to one 1 Liter bottle of wine per person) and the alcohol may be consumed in the privacy of on-campus housing facilities when all occupants and guests present in the room are 21 years of age or older. In such cases, the doors should be closed and all other policies governing noise and other common courtesies must be followed.
  3. All assigned occupants of a residence hall room or apartment may be subject to disciplinary action if a guest or someone in the unit is violating alcohol, tobacco and other drug policies, including but not limited to the complicity provision of the Code of Student Conduct; non-occupants present may be subject to disciplinary action related to the complicity provision of the Code. 134
  4. No large quantities of alcohol will be permitted in university housing facilities (see #2 above) or on travel associated with the university. Providing alcohol to others puts the community and its members at risk.
  5. Common source containers of alcohol (i.e. punch bowls, trashcans, water coolers, etc.) and/or containers holding more than 1.75 liters of alcohol whether empty or full, tapped or untapped, are not permitted on university property, at university-sponsored events or on travel associated with the university. Jell-O shots containing alcohol, pre-mixed punches, spiked punch, “garbage can punch” and other mixtures are considered to be excessive and are prohibited on university property, at university-sponsored events or on travel associated with the university regardless of alcohol content.
  6. Drinking games and other activities which promote excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages are prohibited on university property, at university-sponsored events and on travel associated with the university. Any paraphernalia associated with such activities, including but not limited to beer pong tables, funnels, and shot glasses may be confiscated and not returned.
  7. The possession, use, and/or displaying of alcohol, tobacco, and/or drug paraphernalia is prohibited on campus. For the purpose of this policy, paraphernalia is defined as items typically used to dispense alcohol, or to dispense or ingest tobacco or illegal drugs (bongs/funnels, hookahs, kegs, pipes, hookah pens, roach clips, shot glasses, empty bottles, etc.). Any related paraphernalia will be confiscated. Such confiscated items will not be returned.
  8. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at events planned for students and/or students’ families (such as athletic team banquets, club parties/dances, receptions associated with student art shows and/or student recitals, and events planned for adult learning, graduate, and/or non-traditional students, etc.) unless approved by the Director of the Fine Arts Center and/or the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. Use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited at all other university-sponsored events unless approved by the President of the university.
  9. The service and/or sale of alcoholic beverages is not permitted on university premises or at university-sponsored functions between 8am and 5pm. Any exceptions must be approved by the President.
  10. University employees are not permitted to store alcohol in offices or use alcoholic beverages on university property.
  11. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited at university-sponsored athletic events on and off-campus.
  12. Alcohol or other drug impaired driving on university property and drivers or passengers in university fleet vehicles or vehicles rented/utilized for university travel may not possess or consume alcohol beverages.
  13. Grain alcohol (also known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol) is prohibited on university property, at university-sponsored events or on travel associated with the university except when used in a supervised classroom laboratory.
  14. Viterbo Campus Safety and Security personnel may request that the La Crosse Police Department (LCPD) perform a voluntary breathalyzer test of: (a) individuals who are visibly intoxicated to help assess the need for medical treatment, and (b) individuals to demonstrate that they have not been drinking. People may request a breathalyzer test to demonstrate that they have not been drinking. When a breathalyzer is requested by Campus Safety and Security, people have the right to refuse it. Individuals may not refuse to be transported to the hospital when incapacitated. At Viterbo, breathalyzers are used only by members of the LCPD.
  15. Exemption to this policy must be approved by the Director of the Fine Arts Center or the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students.
Student Athletes

Student athletes are responsible for adherence to policy outlined in the Code of Student Conduct; the Viterbo University Policy on Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs; local, state and federal regulations; and standards imposed by the coach. In addition, all Viterbo student athletes regardless of age are required:

  1. To refrain from the consumption of alcoholic beverages for 48 hours prior to any university-sponsored competitive event.
  2. To report their own on-and off-campus alcohol or drug violations to the team coach and the Director of Athletics. Typically, these sanctions are imposed by the team coach and the Director of Athletics in addition to the sanctions imposed by university personnel responsible for the enforcement of the Code of Student Conduct. These sanctions may be carried forward to the following year.
    • First Violation – Suspended 10 percent of team’s NAIA allowable contests or dates.
    • Second Violation – Suspended an additional 20 percent of team’s NAIA allowable contests or dates.
    • Third Violation – Suspended one calendar year of athletics competition.
    • Fourth Violation – Permanently suspended from all further athletic participation at Viterbo University.
  3. Should a student athlete seek medical assistance for themselves, or others, the Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan policy may apply.

Disciplinary sanctions for violations of university regulations may include warning, disciplinary probation, discretionary or educational assignments, fines, parental notification, referrals, restitution, restrictions or loss of privileges, residence unit suspension, residence unit expulsion, temporary suspension, suspension from the university, or expulsion from the university. Under federal law, the university may notify the parents of alcohol and drug violations if the student is under the age of 21 at the time of notification.

Any student found responsible for the use or possession of illegal substances may face possible criminal charges. In addition, the university may require a student to participate in an approved drug rehabilitation program (at the expense of the student) and provide the university satisfactory evidence of successful completion of the program and of being drug free.

When it is not possible to determine who within a group of students is responsible for the use, possession, manufacture, sale or distribution of drugs and/or alcohol, responsibility for the offense will fall on the occupant(s) in whose room, vehicle or social gathering the violation occurs unless another individual within the group accepts responsibility.

While the sanctions imposed depend upon the severity of the offense and the history of offenses (if any), disciplinary sanctions typically follow this pattern:

LEVEL 1: Students who have been found responsible for a first minor alcohol/drug violation where the student may be sanctioned and the student has been advised to take corrective action. Sanctions appropriate for Level 1 may include (but are not limited to): warnings, monetary fines, coach notification, restitution, mediation, community building activities with those negatively affected by the violation, counseling, volunteer service, and/ or educational projects.

LEVEL 2: Students who have been found responsible for violations where the student has been sanctioned and has been assigned mandatory corrective action including but not limited to a second minor alcohol/drug violation. Sanctions appropriate for Level 2 may include (but are not limited to): automatic parental/guardian notification of alcohol or drug law violations as permitted under FERPA, coach notification; monetary fines; restitution, community building with those negatively affected by the violation, counseling, volunteer service, behavioral contracts and/or loss of privileges for a period of 1 to 4 weeks.

LEVEL 3: Students who have been found responsible for more significant violations or multiple minor alcohol/drug violations where the student has been sanctioned, has been assigned mandatory corrective behavior, and has received a warning about the risk of losing good standing in the event of any future violations. Sanctions appropriate for Level 3 may include (but are not limited to): automatic parental/guardian notification for alcohol or controlled substance violations as permitted by FERPA; coach notification; monetary fines; restitution; counseling; behavioral contracts; community building; re-assignment from campus residence facilities and/or loss of privileges for a period of 1 to 8 weeks (not including semester break, spring break, summer or any other time the student is not enrolled in classes). Loss of privileges at Level 3 can include loss of the right to participate in university-sponsored activities and/or use of campus facilities.

LEVEL 4: Students who have been found responsible for serious violations where the student has had privileges suspended until corrective action is completed. The student has been warned that future violations could result in possible suspension or expulsion from housing. At Level 4, the student’s eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities is automatically and immediately suspended for a minimum of 1 week and will remain in effect until such time as the student makes satisfactory progress, as determined by the student conduct officer hearing the case, in completing required sanctions. Other sanctions which apply to students at Level 4 may include (but are not limited to): automatic parental/guardian notification for alcohol and drug violations as permitted by FERPA; notification of the student’s advisor, coach, or other faculty and staff who serve in an advisory capacity for the student; restitution for damages; monetary fines; loss of eligibility to live in student housing; and/or loss of any other student privileges for up to 32 weeks (not including semester break, spring break, summer or any other time the student is not enrolled in classes).

Community Sanctions: Viterbo students are subject to sanctions imposed by officials in their local and/or home communities as well as those imposed by the university. Fines typically imposed on those found to be drinking alcoholic beverages under the age of 21 are shown below. Sanctions usually involve payment for and the completion of an alcohol assessment in addition to the prescribed fines. City of La Crosse Local Laws and Fines

Drug-Free Workplace Policy Statement

Viterbo University is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace in compliance with applicable state and federal laws. The unlawful possession, use, distribution, dispensation, sale or manufacture of controlled substances is prohibited on university premises and at university work sites. Use of alcoholic beverages at university events is prohibited except when approved by the Director of the Fine Arts Center or the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students as appropriate.

Employee violation of this policy may be cause for action including, but not limited to, referral to appropriate agency or agencies for evaluation and to determine the appropriate treatment or rehabilitation, participation in a drug rehabilitation program, separation from university duty, termination of employment, and/or referral for prosecution. Participation in a treatment program will not affect future employment or career advancement, nor will participation protect employees from disciplinary action for substandard job performance. Students who violate this policy will be governed by the university’s Code of Student Conduct and subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension, expulsion and referral for prosecution.

Under the requirements of the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, an employee who is convicted of any criminal drug offense must notify their supervisor within 5 days. When notified of an employee conviction for an offense occurring in the workplace by an employee working on a federal grant or contract, the university will inform the granting or contracting federal agency within 10 days.

Resources for Prevention, Treatment, and Assistance

Viterbo Counseling Services


4 Student Dev. Center

Viterbo Health Services


3 Student Dev. Center

24/7 Crisis Line


Text “Hello” 741-741
Dial 211 or 800-362-8255

Coulee Council on Addiction


933 Ferry St., La Crosse

Driftless Recovery Services


441 Main St., Suite 301, La Crosse

Gundersen Behavioral Health


1900 South Ave., La Crosse

Jed Foundation



Mayo Behavioral Health


212 S. 11th St., La Crosse

Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line




Health Risks Associated with Use of Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol and/or drug consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low consumption significantly impairs judgment, coordination, sleep, concentration, and academic functioning. Low to moderate amounts of alcohol and/or drugs can increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts including but not limited to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Moderate to high consumption of alcohol and/or drugs has been found to cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information.

Repeated use of alcohol and/or drugs can lead to dependence. Sudden decrease of alcohol and/or drug intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms including but not limited to severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening and the need for medical attention is strongly encouraged.

A chart listing the possible effects and health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and controlled substances may be found on the ATOD website listed above.


Last updated February 2024. 

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