Drug-free Schools

Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act / Drug-Free Work Place Act Compliance

It is the policy of Marshall University to comply with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities (Campuses) Act of 1989 and Federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.


The entire University community, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the campus.

Standards of Conduct

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of illicit drugs and alcohol is prohibited at Marshall University, including its property or as part of any of its programs or activities. Further, reporting to work, class, or any University function under the influence of an illicit controlled substance or alcohol is prohibited.

All Marshall employees must notify the University of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five (5) days after the conviction.

Failure to abide by these standards of conduct will result in disciplinary sanctions consistent with local, state, and federal law.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Marshall University is committed to providing a safe environment that is socially responsible and conducive to learning. The inappropriate use of alcohol and other controlled substances is detrimental to our employees, students, and the public they serve. The university will attempt to help you if you are involved with inappropriate use of controlled substances by obtaining education and rehabilitation. However, the ultimate responsibility for overcoming a dependency or inappropriate use of controlled substances is yours. All students, faculty and staff have a responsibility to abide by these policies and to encourage others to maintain safe and responsible habits. The university will respond to all such violations quickly and severely in order to preserve these standards. While our primary goals are to educate you and support your growth through mistakes, you should be aware that violations of these policies could result in your suspension, expulsion from the university, or termination of employment with the university, as well as referral for criminal prosecution.

The university does not accept or condone the inappropriate use of alcohol or controlled substances by employees or students. Human Resource Policies and Procedures and Student Policies and Procedures applies to all employees or students who have a continuing relationship with Marshall University, and the university retains the authority to address violations of these expectations both on and off campus.

The University will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees (consistent with local, State, and Federal law as well as University policy and procedures) if it determines that violations of the law and University policy and procedures have occurred. The sanctions imposed will be commensurate with the violation, based on the totality of the circumstances, and will take into consideration all of the relevant facts.

Range of Sanctions

Any employee found in violation shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination, and/or may be required to participate in a substance use assistance or rehabilitation program, and/or referred for criminal prosecution.

For students, sanctions range from requiring a reflection exercise to expulsion and referral for criminal prosecution. The following sanctions are available beyond those covered under Student policy and procedures:


Termination of all of the student’s relationships with the University, including all student status such as any remaining right and/or privilege to receive any benefits, recognition, or certification. During the expulsion, the person is barred from coming onto or using University property and facilities. A copy of the of the notice will be forwarded to the Dean of the Student’s College and to the Registrar for a notation on the transcript. Expulsion records are maintained indefinitely. The action will appear on the student’s official transcript until such time as an appeal is made to and granted by the Vice President of Student Affairs to terminate the expulsion. Expulsion shall be noted on the student’s transcript until such time as the student is readmitted to the University or successfully petitions for the removal of the notation. A student may petition the Vice President of Student Affairs for readmission to the University after a specified time. Permission for readmission by the Vice President of Student Affairs does not abrogate the right of any dean or director to deny readmission on the basis of scholarship. At such time as a student is readmitted to the University, the student is placed on Conduct Probation until graduation, unless mitigating circumstances warrant a different sanction.


Separation of the student from the University for a specified period of time. Suspension records are maintained indefinitely. Any suspension imposed shall be recorded on the student’s transcript during the suspension period and until the student matriculates for the following academic term. Should a student remain out of the university during an academic term following a suspension, he/she must apply for readmission as would a student who had withdrawn from the university. A suspended student may apply for re-admission to the University through the Office of Student Conduct and the Office of Admissions at the end of the suspension period specified by the conduct action. The Office of Student Conduct may deny readmission in those instances where the suspended student fails to demonstrate a positive change in behavior which indicates that the suspended student is prepared to again become a responsible member of the University community. Numerous resources may be used to assist the student in identifying and clarifying experiences, goals, educational and career choices, and other personal objectives. At the end of a suspension period, the student is placed on Conduct Probation until graduation, unless mitigating circumstances warrant a different sanction.

Probationary Suspension

Suspension will be withheld pending careful evaluation of a student’s behavior during a probationary period, not to exceed one year. If the student is involved in any further offense, or if otherwise warranted, this suspension of disciplinary action may be revoked by the Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee and the full sanction of suspension enforced subject to appeal to the Hearing Board. While a student is on Probationary Suspension, any of the conditions under probation may be imposed.

Deferred Suspension

Formal sanction is held in abeyance in rare circumstances after the Student Conduct Hearing Board determines that a certain sanction is the appropriate formal sanction, but strong mitigating circumstances warrant the abeyance. Formal sanctions may only be held in abeyance by the Student Conduct Hearing Board or the Vice President of Student Affairs. The student may continue enrollment under restrictions and conditions. A student found to have violated the conditions or restrictions of a formal sanction held in abeyance will minimally have the formal sanction imposed. A copy of the notice will be forwarded to the Dean of the Student’s College and to the Registrar for a notation on the transcript. The notation remains until either the end of the formal sanction held in abeyance period or graduation unless a petition for early removal is approved. Formal sanctions held in abeyance shall be terminated automatically upon graduation. This is a suspension which becomes effective at a specified future date. It is normally used near the end of a semester to avoid the financial penalty of immediate suspension. During this period of deferred suspension, probationary status as described in Probationary Suspension above will exist.

Conduct Probation

A strong communication that a student is no longer in good disciplinary standing with the academic community. Any subsequent violations of the Student Code of Conduct will be evaluated in the context of the student’s probationary status. The Office of Student Conduct will notify the dean of the student’s college and a Social Obligation Hold will be placed on the student’s record. The Social Obligation Hold will remain on the student’s record until the obligation is fulfilled. The record of Conduct Probation is maintained in the Student Conduct office for seven years. Conduct probation may include one or more of the following: 1) loss of participation in any extracurricular activities; 2) self- improvement program planned in conjunction with a faculty or staff person; 3) surrender of student activity privileges with exceptions allowed by the Student Conduct Office for events required by academic courses or programs; and 4) loss of privilege of participation in advanced registration through the online process with exceptions allowed by the Office of Student Conduct.

Formal Warning

An official communication that a student’s behavior is inappropriate for a member of the academic community. A Formal Warning is maintained in the student’s disciplinary file until the student graduates and would serve as a basis for further sanctioning should subsequent violations occur. A Formal Warning will not appear on the academic transcript.

Health Risks

Substance abuse and drug dependency are problems of staggering size in out society today. They are the leading causes of preventable illness and injury in the United States and are estimated to afflict over twenty-five million Americans. While alcoholism may develop in anyone, it tends to appear first between the ages of 20 and 40, and is more prevalent when a family history of alcohol abuse exists. Alcohol abuse is often characterized by one of three different patterns: (1) regular and daily use, (2) drinking large amounts of alcohol (binging) at specific or irregular times, or (3) periods of sobriety interspaced by periods of heavy drinking and intoxication. The disorder is progressive and is usually fatal. Health risks from the misuse of alcohol include a greater risk of liver disease, heart disease, depression, stroke, and stomach bleeding, as well as cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, larynx, pharynx, liver, colon, and rectum as well as problems managing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pain, and sleep disorders along with an increase in the likelihood of unsafe sexual behavior. If you recognize any tendencies toward alcohol abuse in yourself, your friends, or loved ones, please seek help as outlined below in the “Counseling and other assistance” section.

Health risks of other drugs include:

  • Narcotics (including opium, morphine, codeine, heroin, and others). Physical addiction, loss of awareness, respiratory restriction, and death.
  • Depressants (including barbiturates, Quaaludes, and others). Slurred speech, disorientation, and shallow respiration coma likely with overdose
  • Stimulants (including cocaine, amphetamines, and others). Increased heart rate and blood pressure, possibly leading to death, increased excitation, and loss of appetite
  • Hallucinogens (including LDS, “mushrooms,” PCP, mescaline, and others). Illusions and hallucinations, poor perception of time and distance, and psychotic and unpredictable behavior, often leading to injury and arrest. Symptoms may reappear (flashback) sometime after use
  • Cannabis (marijuana, hashish, THC, and others). Unrealistic euphoria, diminished inhibitions, disoriented behavior, diminished motivation, and increased pulse

For more information about the health risks associated with particular types of drugs and alcohol please visit NIH Commonly Used Drugs Charts.

Description of Applicable Legal Sanctions for Unlawful Possession & Distribution of Illicit Drugs and Alcohol

Local Ordinances


Intoxication or drinking in public places in prohibited by Article 521.06 of the Huntington Code of Ordinances. A violation of this provision shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Article 529.03 addresses illegal possession of controlled substances, and a violation of this provision is a misdemeanor any may be fined up to $500 and/or sentenced to 30 days in jail, but a first offense for possession of fifteen grams or less of marijuana shall be conditionally discharged.

South Charleston

Illegal possession of controlled substances is prohibited by Article 511.03 of the South Charleston Code. A violation of this provision is a misdemeanor any may be fined up to $500 and/or sentenced to 30 days in jail, but a first offense for possession of fifteen grams or less of marijuana shall be disposed of and any guilty plea or conviction may be deferred by the court for probation upon terms and conditions. Article 521.06 addresses intoxication or drinking in public places, and a violation of this provision be the first offense is a fine of not less than $5 dollars nor more than $100, and second and subsequent offenses may be prosecuted under appropriate state law.

West Virginia Law

Chapter 60A of the West Virginia Code sets forth the applicable state laws regarding controlled substances. It is known as the West Virginia Uniform Controlled Substance Act and is modeled after the Uniform Controlled Substance Act, which is similar to portions of the Federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, 21. U.S.C. § 801.

In general, except as authorized by the Act, “it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance.” W. Va. Code § 60A-4-401(a). Furthermore, “is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by” the Act. W. Va. Code § 60A-4-401(c).

The punishment for violations of the Act range from imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not less than one year nor more than fifteen years, or fined not more than $25,000, or both fined and imprisoned for Schedule I or II controlled substances to confinement in jail for not less than six months nor more than one year, or fined not more than $5,000, or both fined and confined for Schedule V controlled substances. Notably, W. Va. Code § 60A-4-415 prohibits the unlawful manufacture, delivery, transport into the state, or possession of fentanyl, and upon conviction thereof a person shall have committed a felony and be punished, depending on the weight, anywhere from imprisonment in a correctional facility for not less than two nor more than ten years, to potentially imprisoned in a correctional facility for not less than four nor more than twenty years for five (5) grams or more.

Federal Statutes

The possession and distribution of illegal drugs under federal law is primarily governed by, among other statutes, 21 U.S.C. § 841 and 21 U.S.C. § 844. Under 21 U.S.C. § 841, it is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally “to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance” or “to create, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent

to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance,” whereas 21 U.S.C. § 844 provides that is unlawful “for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice . . .”

Specifically, the following controlled substances are mentioned in 21 U.S.C. § 841: heroin, cocaine, ecgonine, cocaine base, phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), N-phenyl-N- [1- ( 2- phenylethyl ) -4-piperidinyl] propanamide, mari[j]uana, and methamphetamine, its salts, isomers, and salts of its isomers.

The penalties for violating federal laws governing controlled substances depends on a variety of factors, such as the controlled substances involved, the amount of controlled substances, where the alleged offense took place, and any other relevant factor under the United States Sentencing Guidelines.18 The penalties range from probation/supervised release, to mandatory minimum sentences of not less than ten years or more, to life in prison. The mandatory minimum increases for factors such as whether death or serious bodily injury results, and whether there have been two or more prior convictions.

Counseling and other Assistance

Help is available on campus through Student Health Education Programs, 145 Prichard Hall, 696-4800. Services are free and confidential. An Alcoholics Anonymous group meets on campus and is open to all interested parties. Community resources are also available and can be accessed through the number listed above. The University will support the effort of any employee seeking assistance in a treatment program.

Additional information related to employees may be found at Drug Free Workplace Policy.