The following types of student misconduct subject students to the Merrimack College student conduct system. These behavioral expectations apply to all students no matter where or when their conduct may take place. Therefore, the Student Conduct system will apply to behaviors that take place on the campus, at Merrimack College sponsored events or trips, and may also apply to behaviors that take place off campus. In addition, the College also responds to complaints of misconduct online.
1) Failure to abide by the College Alcohol Policy
2) Failure to abide by the College Drug Policy
3) Residence Life Policies
(A) Using a residence room for sales, solicitation, product demonstrations, commercial purposes or business operations
(B) Disturbing the peace by making unreasonable noise, including: TV’s, stereos, games and verbal interactions, during Quiet Hours or in violation of standards expected during Courtesy Hours
(C) Repeated violations during Health & Safety Inspections, recurring instances of inappropriate garbage disposal, or multiple instances of door propping
(D) Failure to register an event or abide by the registered event policy;
(E) Hosting a disruptive gathering, including (but not limited to) a gathering that is disruptive to neighbors, and/or involves excessive attendance
(F) Violation of Residence Life Policies
4) Personal Conduct
(A) Any written or verbal communication or physical gestures directed at an official or member of the College community that is disrespectful, intimidating, or demeaning
(B) Violation of any federal, state, or local law
(C) Intentional disruption of normal College activities such as studying, teaching, research, College administration or fire, police or emergency services
(D) Intentionally and substantially interfering with the freedom of expression of others on College premises or at College sponsored activities
(E) Theft of property or of services or knowing possession of stolen property
(F) Intentionally or recklessly destroying or damaging College property or the property of others
(G) Failing to comply with the legitimate request of any Residence Life staff member, College official or Fire/Police Officer acting in the performance of his or her duties
(H) Unauthorized presence in/on or forcible entry into any facility, property, roof, balconies, waterways or another student’s room; trespassing
(I) Knowingly using, making or causing to be made, any key or keys for any facility without proper authorization
(J) Gambling in any form, as defined by the Massachusetts General Laws
(K) Failure to abide by the Acceptable Use Policy for Technology
(L) Lewd or indecent behavior, including public urination, public nudity
(M) Events and activities that are contrary to the College’s mission and values
(N) Disorderly conduct
(O) Failure to abide by Parking Policies
(P) Failure to abide by policies at Merrimack College signature campus events including but not limited to Senior Week, Homecoming, and Spring Weekend
(Q) Knowingly providing false information to a member of the Merrimack College community
(A) Misuse, alteration, and/or falsification of Merrimack College Mack Cards, legal forms of identification, or any official College document, including lending an ID to another person, using another person’s ID, forgery, duplication and unauthorized alteration
(B) Possessing or providing false identification; refusing to identify oneself or to show proper College identification to any official who has properly identified herself or himself and who relates to the student the reason for the request. Students are expected to carry their Mack Card ID with them at all times.
(C) Misrepresentation or unauthorized use of the Merrimack College name, logo, designs or advertising.
6) General Safety
(A) Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by an “intoxicant”
(B) Participating in a mass disturbance or gathering, or participating in unsponsored games, events or activities that may result in personal harm and/or disruption to the community
(C) Infringing upon the rights of an individual or a group and/or jeopardizing the safety of individuals and property
(D) Intentionally and/or irresponsibly inflicting physical or mental harm on any person or his/her property, which includes but is not limited to, physical assault, emotional abuse, or harassment
(E) Expressing or implying, verbally or non-verbally, threat of mental or physical abuse or harassment against any person or his/her property for the purpose of submitting a person to physical pain or discomfort, indignity or humiliation at any time, regardless of the intent of such an act
(F) Acts of bigotry that humiliates, degrades or otherwise harms an individual or individuals
(G) Any offense committed by a student, including but not limited to: physical abuse, vandalism and conduct infringing on others, which includes intimidation that is motivated because of race, ethnicity, age, physical disability, religious affiliation, gender, or sexual orientation
(H) Failure to abide by the Hazing Policy or other related activities which injure, degrade or disgrace or intend to injure, degrade or disgrace any person, in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Sections 17-19.
(I) Unauthorized use, possession or storage of any weapon, including, but not limited to: any type of gun (including BB, pellet, and paintball), any type of sword (including decorative swords) and any blade
(J) Entering or exiting a building through a window, throwing objects out of windows or off balconies or using windows to bring items into a building
(K) Endangering behavior, and/or conduct that demonstrates a student is a threat to self or others
(L) Altering another person’s consumption of food and/or beverage to include additional substances without their knowledge or consent
7) Fire Safety
(A) Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire, explosion or other emergency
(B) Intentionally initiating or causing to be initiated any false report, warning or threat of fire, explosion or other emergency
(C) Intentionally or recklessly causing a false fire alarm
(D) Intentionally or recklessly misusing, damaging or tampering with fire safety equipment including smoke detectors, sprinklers and fire extinguishers.
(E) Unauthorized use or possession of fireworks or explosives
(F) Failure to evacuate during a fire alarm
(G) Use of Fire Door/Emergency Exit without cause
(H) Intentionally or recklessly obstructing means of egress or access, including but not limited to hallways, exit doors, and fire lanes. Vehicles in fire lanes, service roads, or on grass are prohibited, with the exception of Opening and Closing.
8) Failure to abide by the Guest/ Visitor Policy
9) Failure to abide by the Sexual Misconduct Policy
10) Student Conduct System
(A) Knowingly providing a false report of a Student Conduct Policy violation
(B) Falsification, distortion or misrepresentation of information regarding a Student Conduct policy violation; interfering with the investigation of a possible Student Conduct policy violation
(C) Influencing or attempting to influence a person involved in Student Conduct procedures, including witnesses, Administrative Hearing Officers and members of the Student Conduct Board
(D) Attempting or committing an act of retaliation against a person who has reported or who intends to report a Student Conduct policy violation
(E) Violation of any restrictions, conditions or terms whether issued as an interim measure or a final sanction during the course of a Student Conduct hearing or during an appeal period
(F) If a student is aware of, or is in the presence of, a violation of Merrimack College policy and he/she remains in the presence of and/or fails to take reasonable actions to stop the violation, the student gives his/her consent to the violation and therefore shares in the responsibility for the violation. A student present when one or more violations are occurring also chooses to accept the consequences of being held responsible for a violation of College policy.
(G) Attempting, aiding, encouraging, facilitating, abetting, conspiring, hiring, or being an accessory to any act prohibited in this policy
Merrimack College upholds the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regarding the sale, purchase, transportation, serving and consumption of alcoholic beverages by all members of the community. The College expects that these laws will be adhered to at all times and at all on and off-campus events. Merrimack College strongly encourages all students to become familiar with these laws and to consider the associated penalties and other potential risks that can result from violations.
The College does not intend through its guidelines or policies to restrict the responsible use of alcohol by members of the Merrimack College community who meet the Massachusetts legal drinking age requirement. However, efforts to observe existing laws and regulations in an environment in which the majority of the student body is not of legal drinking age are almost certain to impose constraints upon those who are of legal drinking age. The College expects that members of the Merrimack community of legal drinking age who choose to consume alcohol will do so responsibly and within the College’s established policies and procedures.
The College community recognizes alcohol abuse is contrary to the mission of the College. The abuse of alcohol imposes negative consequences on the individual, the members of the Merrimack College community, and the community as a whole. To address alcohol consumption at Merrimack College, the College has implemented a comprehensive alcohol education and abuse prevention program. Campus wide prevention events, online education, residence hall and athletic team programs and individual educational sessions provide many opportunities for students to obtain accurate information to assist them in making healthy, safe choices. Students found in violation of the Alcohol Policy will be held responsible for their decisions.
Medical Amnesty Policy
At Merrimack College, the primary concern of our Community Standards is the safety and wellbeing of all members of our community. In cases of a medical emergency resulting from alcohol and/or other drug use, students are strongly encouraged to seek out medical attention by contacting Residence Life staff and/or the Merrimack College Police Department. Any student who seeks out medical assistance on behalf of themselves or another student, and remains with the student until a time when help arrives, will not be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the alcohol and/or drug policies, at the discretion of the Director of Community Standards. The Medical Amnesty policy does not apply to students who are found and confronted by staff (Merrimack College Police Department, Residence Life staff, etc.).
Though a student may not be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the alcohol and/or drug policies, other violations of the Community Standards will be subject to disciplinary action, including but not limited to disorderly conduct, vandalism, distribution, and violence.
Any student who is assessed and/or transported by medical professionals will be required to complete certain educational interventions, including one to two confidential meetings with staff in either the Hamel Health and Counseling Center or the Office of Wellness Education. Failure to complete this requirement will result in disciplinary action. In addition, they will be responsible for all financial costs associated with their medical treatment/care.
Students who seek help for alcohol and/or other drug related medical emergencies more than once during their enrollment at the College will be subject to disciplinary action. The Director of Community Standards reserves the right to deny Medical Amnesty when instances of alcohol or other drug related emergencies persist.
General Alcohol Policy
Primary responsibility for knowing and abiding by the provisions of all components of the college Alcohol Policy rests with each individual. The use of alcoholic beverages must be in compliance with approved federal, Commonwealth and local laws as well as Merrimack College policies pertaining to campus events and residence areas, including, but not limited to, those outlined in this policy. At any time, as determined by the amount of noise, numbers of people and traffic patterns, the college reserves the right to suspend the ability to consume or possess alcohol within any given area.
- The legal drinking age in Massachusetts is twenty-one (21) years of age. For students under twenty-one (21) years of age, it is a violation of state law and college policy to possess, sell, transport, or consume alcohol. It is also a violation for students under twenty-one (21) years of age to be in the presence of alcohol unless in their own residence that is shared with students over the age of twenty-one (21) years of age. Alcohol in a student residence may be considered to be in that student’s possession, whether he or she is present or not. Alcohol in a student’s vehicle is considered to be in that student’s possession.
- No person may sell, furnish or give alcohol to any person under the legal drinking age. No person may sell, furnish or give alcohol to anyone who is visibly intoxicated, even if that person is twenty-one (21) years of age or over.
- Intoxication, as assessed by Residence Life staff, the Merrimack College Police Department, or another law enforcement agency, is not permitted regardless of age. A person is considered to be intoxicated when the consumption of alcohol substantially interferes with judgment and decision-making, results in destructive or disruptive behavior, and/or requires the intervention of college personnel. Behavioral symptoms that will be considered in determining intoxication include, but are not limited to, impaired motor skill/coordination, difficulty communicating, vomiting, glazed/red eyes, the smell of alcoholic beverage on one’s breath, and verbal and/or physical aggressiveness.
- Intoxication, as assessed by college staff, administrators or the Merrimack College Police Department in their sole reasonable discretion, is not permitted during Merrimack College sponsored events, including any event sponsored by a student organization, whether on or off campus.
- Beer kegs, punch bowls, beer balls or any similar type of common source or their equivalents are prohibited from campus property.
- Empty kegs, punch bowls and beer balls as well as collections of beer bottles and cans are prohibited on campus.
- The use or possession of grain alcohol is prohibited.
- The possession and/or use of funnels, ice luges, beer bongs, or any other device used to consume alcohol without regard for moderation is strictly prohibited. Also, games (including, but not limited to Beer Pong with or without alcohol) in which the object is to consume alcohol/liquid without regard for moderation is strictly prohibited.
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages, as well as the possession of open containers of alcoholic beverage, is prohibited when outdoors on campus or in any campus common area or public space by individuals of any age unless at an event where the serving of alcohol has been approved by the Campus Life staff. Common areas are: hallways, stairwells and lounges. For the purposes of this paragraph only, the townhouse living rooms are not considered common areas.
- Individuals who are of legal age may possess and consume alcoholic beverages as long as such possession and consumption is effected in accord with college policy and procedure.
- Persons who are 21 years of age or older may possess and transport alcohol in its original, unopened container to/from their vehicle to/from any residence only where alcohol is permitted by the college Alcohol Policy. The maximum amount of alcohol permitted in the possession of someone who is of legal age is the equivalent of: an 18 pack of twelve ounce containers of beer or wine coolers or an equivalent amount of beer in other containers; OR, one pint of liquor; OR, one half gallon of wine. Persons who are 21 years of age or older may not possess alcohol in residential areas where all residents are under 21 years of age.
Living in a residence hall is a community living experience where all members have certain rights and responsibilities. In addition to the regulations described in the General Alcohol Policy, the following standards of behavior are designed to maximize the positive aspects of residence hall living. Alcoholic beverages may be consumed in the privacy of a resident’s room provided all General Alcohol Policies are adhered to, as well as the following:
- For students 21 years of age or older who reside in the St. Ann and St. Thomas Apartment Complex, Monican, O’Brien, the Townhouses, North Residential Village, South Residential Village, and Royal Crest, it is permissible to possess alcohol within the personal limitations and to consume alcohol in the bedrooms and common rooms of suites, apartments and townhouses.
- Ash Center, Deegan East and West are all DRY residence areas. Regardless of age you cannot be in possession or in the presence of alcohol in these areas.
- Except in the case of Registered Events, the maximum amount of alcohol permitted in a room at any time is based upon the number of residents of legal age assigned to the room. Each resident of legal age is allowed the Maximum Possession Limit detailed in the General Alcohol Policies.
- No one, whether a student or guest of legal age, may enter the residence halls with more than the Maximum Possession Limit.
- Non-Merrimack College visitors, regardless of age, are prohibited from bringing alcohol onto campus except during designated events.
- Empty alcohol containers must be moved to one of the designated recycling or trash areas in the residential facility within twenty four hours of consumption. Empty alcohol containers and/or other materials exceeding the personal limitations may not be stored in a student room, suite or apartment common area.
- Alcohol advertising items, including display banners, neon and/or electric signs and empty alcohol bottles are prohibited from public areas or in public view such as in the window or on an exterior room door. The use of empty alcohol containers or empty boxes as decorations in rooms is prohibited regardless of the age of the rooms’ residents.
- Consumption of alcohol in areas not assigned to a student, such as stairwells, entranceways, or hallways is prohibited
- During College break periods, all residential areas are dry regardless of age.
Social Host Liability & Registered Events
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts laws regarding social host liability apply to all students regardless of age who host events at Merrimack College, including all residents living in the assigned area where a Registered Event is being held. It is against College policy and Commonwealth of Massachusetts law to provide alcohol to minors, to allow minors to drink in your home or on property under your control, including College residences. This includes instances where the minor purchases and/or brings their own alcohol into your residence. There is no need to show that the host actually supplied alcohol to the minor. Criminal penalties include a fine up to $2000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both, according to Mass. General Law chapter 138, section 34. In addition to criminal penalties, hosts may also be sued civilly if the minor becomes ill or dies from ingesting alcohol, if the minor causes damage to property, or if the minor causes harm to another person.
Residence Life and/or the Merrimack College Police Department may disband any Registered Event at any time when a violation to the Registered Event contract or Student Code is found. Students involved in a Registered Event being prematurely closed may be subject to disciplinary action. The privilege to host Registered Events in the future will be taken from individuals whom are found to violate any of these policies.
The College has long recognized the dangers of illicit drug use as well as the misuse of prescription drugs, and is intent on enforcing federal, state and local regulations regarding such. In addition, Merrimack College has established its own specific regulations regarding such drug use. These regulations include but are not limited to:
- Possession, use, manufacture, sale, or distribution of federally defined illegal drugs and controlled substances including, but not limited to, narcotics, barbiturates, hallucinogens, or amphetamines is prohibited by students, whether on or off-campus.
- Possession and/or use of marijuana is prohibited by students on campus and in college-leased housing. This includes medicinal marijuana. The unlawful manufacture, sale, or distribution of marijuana is prohibited both on- and off-campus.
- Impairment due to illicit drug use is not permitted anywhere on campus. A person is considered impaired due to drug use if that use substantially interferes with judgment and decision-making, results in destructive or disruptive behavior, and/or requires the intervention of College personnel. Behavioral symptoms that will be considered in determining impairment include, but are not limited to, impaired motor skill/coordination, difficulty communicating, vomiting, glazed/red eyes, and verbal and/or physical aggressiveness.
- Misuse, abuse, possession, sale or distribution of prescription medications is prohibited. The possession of a medication prescribed for someone else is also prohibited.
- Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance on College property will result in referral to the Merrimack College Student Conduct System, civil and/or criminal action if the situation warrants such action.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia is prohibited. Drug paraphernalia is defined as “any equipment, product, or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.” Drug paraphernalia includes but is not limited to vaporizers, bongs, pipes, bowls, rolling papers, hookahs and roach clips.
- While on campus or in college-leased housing, evidence of use of marijuana, identified by the presence of residue or seeds, by detection of the odor of marijuana by two staff members, by the presence of drug paraphernalia, or by the indication of attempt to prevent odor and/or smoke to emit from a room, such as towels rolled under doors and fans directing air flow out a window is prohibited.
- It is prohibited to be in the presence of illegal drug use.
The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 require Merrimack College to:
- Notify students of the standards of conduct relative to alcohol and other drugs.
- Describe applicable sanctions for unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs.
- Describe the health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol.
- Describe available alcohol and other drug counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs.
- Describe sanctions the College will impose resulting from violation of standards of conduct.
Students who choose to violate these rules and regulations will be referred to the College’s student conduct system in order that appropriate sanctions may be imposed. Depending on the nature of the offense and the history of the offender, sanctions can range from a written warning to suspension or expulsion. A full and thorough description of rules and regulations, and the sanctions which may be imposed as a result of violations of such, are outlined in the College’s Social and Alcohol Policy.
Summary of Effects of Alcohol and Other Drug Use
Potential health risks resulting from alcohol and drug abuse include, but are not limited to, the following:
Addiction Brain Damage Cancer Cirrhosis Heart problems
Impotence Mood swings Malnutrition Aggression Sleep problems
Education, Counseling, Treatment and Rehabilitation Services
- Resident Advisor training includes information on alcohol and other drugs and recognition of abuse patterns.
- The Orientation program for new students includes talks on substance abuse, College rules regarding legal drinking and information for counseling and referral through the College’s Health and Counseling Center.
- Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness and Harm Reduction Programs are available to students.
- The Health and Counseling Center maintains a referral network of inpatient and outpatient programs for students.
- The College has sponsored an Alcoholics Anonymous program on campus for many years and referral to off-campus Al-Anon and ACOA groups is available through the Health and Counseling Center.
Alcohol Policy Pertaining to On-Campus College Sponsored Events
Alcoholic beverages will not be permitted at student organization sponsored events without prior approval of the Dean of Students (and other administrators when appropriate).
Hosting an event serving alcohol requires that a completed Alcohol Approval Form be submitted to and approved by Internal General Counsel 45 days in advance of an event. Additionally, adherence to the following regulations and guidelines is required.
General Regulations for Events Serving Alcohol
- The sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages is regulated by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, local ordinances and Merrimack College policies, rules and regulations. Awareness of and compliance with these are required for any function involving alcoholic beverages.
- Sodexo Food Services must serve all alcoholic beverages.
- No more than one (1) alcoholic beverage may be sold to any individual per serving.
- Admission to these programs will be restricted to students who are of legal drinking age unless the Dean of Students or designees makes an exception.
- Approval for any function where alcohol is served must be received from the Internal General Counsel (or designee) at least 45 days in advance of the event whether held in the Sakowich Center or in another location.
- The College is only licensed to serve beer and wine.
- Food and non-alcoholic beverages must be available at all functions involving the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages. Representatives from the sponsoring organization must receive prior approval from the Director of Student Involvement at least 45 days in advance regarding the appropriateness of the food and beverages being served.
- Intoxication, as assessed by college staff, administrators or the Merrimack College Police Department, is not permitted during Merrimack College sponsored events, including any event sponsored by a student organization, whether on or off campus. The right to refuse service is also at the discretion of the staff working the event.
- Events involving the sale of beer and wine require a permit for such from the local licensing authorities. Requests for such permits will be processed through the Internal General Counsel. Requests must be made at least 45 days prior to the event. Sale is determined to include purchasing of individual drinks. Merrimack College may obtain only 24 such permits each year from the Town of North Andover and the College reserves the right to deny any such request.
- Adequate numbers of Campus Police officers are required at all programs involving the distribution of alcoholic beverages. The number of officers required will vary but will equal approximately one officer for every 150 participants. The number of officers must be determined in conjunction with the Office of Student Involvement and the Merrimack College Police Department at least 45 days prior to the program. The cost of these officers shall be absorbed by the sponsoring organization, which must confirm these arrangements with the Merrimack College Police Department at least 45 days prior to the event.
- Events serving alcohol served will be approved only for Friday and Saturday nights however exceptions may be made by the Dean of Students or designee. For functions held on weekdays, last call will be at 11:30 pm and service will be discontinued at 11:45 pm. For weekend functions, last call will be as 12:30 am and service will be discontinued at 12:45 am. Events serving alcohol will not be approved during the Final Exam period or Reading Days.
- Members of the sponsoring organization who have certain assigned responsibilities may not consume alcoholic beverages before or during the program. This must be discussed with the organization’s executive board and their advisor prior to the event to avoid confusion of responsibility.
- Those found consuming alcohol illegally will be required to leave the premises immediately and will be referred to the Merrimack College Student Conduct System and/or for criminal action if the situation warrants such action.
- Individuals found delivering alcoholic beverages to an underage person will be required to leave the premises immediately and will be referred to the Merrimack College Student Conduct System, and/or for criminal action if the situation warrants such action.
- All functions involving the marketing of alcoholic beverages must adhere to Merrimack College’s policy on solicitation of alcohol related advertising. (See Section J: Solicitation of Alcohol Related Advertising)
- The promotional materials associated with any event (i.e., posters, flyers, etc.) should be in good taste with no emphasis on the fact that alcohol will be served. The theme for the event should be the focus in any posters, flyers or advertisements for the event.
- In all cases where an alcoholic beverage is provided, Sodexo will be responsible for all aspects of bar operations. This service must be requisitioned by the sponsoring organization at least 45 days in advance of the program. The student organization will absorb all costs associated with this service. The college in conjunction with the Sodexo will determine drink prices, and in no case shall they be lowered. No entertainer shall offer, provide or encourage the use of alcoholic beverages at any event.
- At all events serving alcohol, college officials must be present. The Dean of Students or designee will determine the number of college officials needed for the event. The sponsoring organization is responsible for recruiting these college officials (i.e. the organization’s advisor, a faculty or staff member.)
- Any organization or individual failing to cooperate with a student staff member, administrative staff member or member of the sponsoring organization in the execution of his/her duties will be required to leave the function and will be subject to student conduct action.
- No two student organization sponsored events on the same evening may have alcohol served or consumed.
- Organizations sponsoring events serving alcohol are required to meet with a representative from the Office of Student Involvement at least 45 days prior to the event. Members of the Executive Board, as well as the organization’s advisor, must be present at this meeting.
Identification and Admission Regulations for Events Serving Alcohol
- Only those individuals who can prove that they are of the legal drinking age through a legal means (state license or identification card) will be permitted entrance into the event. Furthermore, admission to events at which alcoholic beverages are available is restricted to Merrimack College students and legitimate guests. Consequently, only those individuals who present a valid Merrimack College I.D. will be admitted to these functions.
- Two forms of positive I.D. must be shown to gain admission. One must be a valid Merrimack College I.D. and one must be a valid driver’s license or liquor purchase I.D. from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Guests need to provide one form of positive I.D.
- Staff members of the Office of Student Involvement, their designee, or sponsoring organization representatives present at the function reserve the right to refuse admission if the validity of the identification is questionable.
- All students of legal drinking age entering a function will be identified (i.e. a hand stamp, wrist band, or other method) to verify that they qualify for admission.
Guest Regulations for Events Serving Alcohol
The guest policy will be determined and clearly marked on all publicity for the event.
Responsibility of Student Organization When Sponsoring Events Serving Alcohol
It is the responsibility of the sponsoring organization to adhere to and enforce all related laws, ordinances, policies, etc. Failure to do so will result in referral of the responsible individual(s) to the Merrimack College Student Conduct System and/or criminal or civil action.
Obligation to Organization Members and the Community
All members of the sponsoring organization and the targeted constituency should be able to attend the event. Underage individuals may not attend events where alcohol is served. In exceptional cases and with the written approval of the Dean of Students (and/or other College administrators), underage individuals may attend such events only when measures have been taken by the sponsoring organization to ensure that the underage individuals will not possess, purchase or consume alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol Policy Pertaining to Off-Campus Events Serving Alcohol
The same policies that are noted above for on-campus events where alcohol will be served apply to student sponsored off-campus functions. When appropriate, certain exceptions to those policies will be made by the Dean of Students. Additionally, approval for any student organization sponsored off-campus event where alcohol is to be served and/or consumed must be received from the Dean of Students or appropriate College administrator at least 45 days in advance of the event. Only officers of the College are authorized by the Board of Trustees to enter into a contract or agreement on behalf of the College, and therefore only officers of the College should be those who sign any contract. It is the responsibility of the employees/owners of the off-campus establishment to be aware of and comply with state regulations. Adherence to the following regulations and guidelines is required.
Student Organization Sponsored Events
It is the responsibility of the sponsoring organization to adhere to all related laws, ordinances, policies and contractual agreements made between the College and the employees/owners of the off-campus establishment. Failure to do so is a very serious matter, and may result in referral of the responsible individual to the Merrimack College Student Conduct System, civil and/or criminal action if the situation warrants such action. All members of the sponsoring organization and the targeted constituency should be able to attend the program.
Identification and Admission to Event
It is the responsibility of the employees of the off-campus location to verify identification for legal drinking age. It will also be the responsibility of the off campus location to determine an admission system.
- One guest per sponsor per event.
- A guest is the responsibility of the sponsor, who must be a Merrimack student and who will be held accountable for any inappropriate behavior of his or her guest.
- It will be the responsibility of the sponsoring organization to secure a contract with the function hall. A copy of the contract that must be used, in addition to any contract the establishment may have, can be obtained in the Office of Student Involvement. Only officers of the College are authorized by the Board of Trustees to sign the contracts.
- An advisor, or his/her designee, must be present for the duration of the event.
- Organizations sponsoring events serving alcohol are required to meet with the Director of Student Involvement at least 45 days prior to the event. The Executive Board, as well as the organization’s advisor, must be present at this meeting.
- Intoxication is not permitted during Merrimack College sponsored events, including any event sponsored by a student organization both on and off campus.
- Bus transportation is mandatory for all students attending an off-campus function where alcohol is to be served. Alcohol is not allowed on the bus at any time however. Advance ticket sales must be coordinated with the Office of Student Involvement to ensure that the number of tickets sold will not exceed the capacity of the function hall. A two-tiered ticket system must be used to ensure that the appropriate students are boarding the bus and that no alcohol is transported to the event.
- Any establishment found to have served underage Merrimack College students will be notified that it will not be utilized for future events.
- If an event is planned that involves alcohol, it should take place on the weekend. Only the Dean of Students may make exceptions to this rule. Any such exception must be in writing, signed by the Dean of Students.
Hazing, as defined by Chapter 269 of Massachusetts General Law, in connection with membership or participation in College athletic teams, Greek organizations, or student organizations is strictly prohibited.
Merrimack College interprets hazing as any act whether physical, mental, emotional or psychological, which subjects another person, voluntarily or involuntarily, to anything that may abuse, mistreat, degrade, humiliate, harass or intimidate the person, or which may in any fashion compromise the inherent dignity of the person. In addition, any requirements by a member which compels another member to participate in any activity which is against College policy or state/federal law will be defined as hazing.
Actions and activities which are prohibited include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Any type of initiation or other activity where there is an expectation of individuals joining a particular team to participate in behavior designed to humiliate, degrade or abuse them regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.
- Forcing, requiring or pressuring an individual to consume alcohol or any other substance.
- Forcing, requiring or pressuring an individual to shave any part of the body, including hair on the head.
- Any requirement or pressure put on an individual to participate in any activity which is illegal, perverse, publicly indecent, contrary to genuine morals and/or beliefs, e.g., public profanity, indecent or lewd conduct or sexual gestures in public.
- Required eating of anything an individual would refuse to eat otherwise.
- Any activity or action that creates a risk to the health, safety or property of the College or any member of its community.
- Forcing or requiring calisthenics, such as push-ups, sit-ups and runs.
- Assigning or endorsing pranks such as stealing or harassment of another organization.
- Awakening or disturbing individuals during normal sleeping hours.
- Expecting or pressuring individuals to participate in an activity in which the full membership is not willing to participate.
- Physical abuse of any kind.
- Forcing, encouraging or pressuring someone to wear in public apparel which is conspicuous and not within the norm of what is considered to be in good taste.
- Engaging in public stunts and buffoonery.
- Nudity at any time or forced reading of pornographic material.
- Paddling, beating or otherwise permitting a member to hit other members.
- Having substances such as eggs, mud, paint and honey thrown at, poured on or otherwise applied to the body of a member.
- Morally degrading/humiliating games or other activity that makes a member the object of amusement, ridicule or intimidation.
- Subjecting a member to cruel and unusual psychological conditions.
Statement of Intent
Merrimack College is a community in the Augustinian tradition and we strive to maintain an environment that is consistent with our mission and respectful of the rights of all individuals within the College community. The College affirms that all members of this community are freely united by this agreement in the pursuit of scholarship and intellectual growth. The College and the students accept responsibility toward each other within this community.
Sexual misconduct in all forms violates the sacredness of the human body and spirit and will not be tolerated within our community. Campus sanctions, up to and including expulsion, may result from a responsible finding determined through the Student Conduct Process. The victim has the right to pursue additional legal options through the court system either separately or in conjunction with the Student Conduct proceedings.
Sexual misconduct is considered one of the most serious violations of the Community Standards of Merrimack College.
Statement of Policy
Merrimack College strictly prohibits sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking in all forms. This policy includes the following:
- Any sexual penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any object or sexual intercourse by a man or woman upon a man or woman without effective consent, by force or by threat of bodily injury. Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger and oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.
- Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object by a man or woman upon a man or woman without effective consent. Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.
- Any disrobing of another or exposure to another by a man or woman without effective consent.
- Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited and that behavior does not otherwise constitute another form of sexual misconduct. Examples of sexual exploitation include but are not limited to: prostitution, non-consensual video or audio taping of sexual or other private activities exceeding the boundaries of consent (e.g. permitting others to hide in closest and observe sexual activity, videotaping a person using the bathroom). This shall include non-consensual dissemination of photos, video or text that occurs when a person takes abusive advantage of another to benefit or sexually exploit that person.
- Sexual harassment is any unwelcomed verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, educational, or living environment. A form of sexual harassment exists when submission to or rejection of unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature results in adverse educational or employment action, or the threat of such adverse action, or when submission is made a condition of educational or employment advancement.
- Relationship violence is defined as behavior between two or more individuals that is used to institute power and/or control over one or more other people through fear and intimidation. This behavior can be verbal, nonverbal, emotional and/or physical. Examples of relationship violence include, but are not limited to, repeated name calling, profanity, humiliation, harassment of a former partner or spouse, threats of abuse, slapping, hair pulling, punching and kicking.
In Massachusetts, domestic violence is defined as abuse, assault, or threats against one or more of the following:
- A spouse or former spouse
- A dating partner or a former dating partner
- Someone you live with or have lived with
- A relative by blood or marriage
- The parent of your child
- A person with whom you have or have had a substantial relationship
Abuse is defined by actual or attempted physical abuse, psychological harm, placing another in fear of serious physical harm, causing another to engage in sexual relations by force, and/or threat of force or duress. Confidential counseling, support and referral services are available through Hamel Health and Counseling Center. Students can also seek information and help through the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or www.thehotline.org
- Stalking is defined as any behavior or pattern of behavior occurring on more than one occasion that instills fear in one or more other people and/or threatens their safety, mental or physical health. Such behaviors or activities may include, but are not limited to, non-consensual communication (face to face, telephone, e-mail, texting, and social media), threatening or obscene gestures, surveillance, pursuit, following, visiting outside an individual’s classroom or residence, sending gifts or making threats.
Effective consent is defined as informed, freely and actively given mutually understandable words or actions which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.
Consent can NEVER be given by the following:
- Minors (in Massachusetts, those not yet sixteen (16) years of age);
- Mentally disabled persons;
- Individuals who are incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntary or involuntary);
- Individuals who are unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless;
- Individuals who are forced, coerced, intimidated or threatened.
The College’s Response
The Merrimack College community understands that all parties involved in a sexual misconduct incident experience significant distress, whether they are directly involved or any other individual associated with the report. All parties involved are expected to be treated with respect and dignity and the community will provide a safe place where the individuals may receive appropriate personal support. Any victim that may have been in violation of any policy at the time of the alleged sexual misconduct may not be subject to the College disciplinary process for these violations. Additionally, any bystander that provides assistance to a victim of sexual assault at the time of the incident may not be subject to the College disciplinary process (assuming the bystander did not otherwise contribute to the sexual misconduct).
Any person involved in an incident of sexual misconduct can receive information about their options, resources, medical attention and/or personal support from any of the following professionally trained personnel on campus:
- The Merrimack College Police Department Sexual Assault Investigators (978-837-5911)
- Counselors at the Hamel Health and Counseling Center
- Residence Life Staff (Resident Directors, Area Coordinators)
- The Campus Ministers
- The Dean of Students
- The Assistant Dean of Students
- Assistant Director of Community Standards
Emergency Protective Orders and No Contact Orders
If you are in immediate danger of abuse, you may be eligible to obtain an emergency protective order. For more information or assistance obtaining an emergency protective order, contact the Merrimack College Police Department.
Merrimack College students are also able to receive No Contact Orders with other individuals associated with Merrimack College. For more information or assistance obtaining a No Contact Order, contact the Assistant Dean of Students for Wellness.
Reporting to Merrimack College Police Department
If a sexual assault occurs on campus, it can be reported to the Merrimack College Police Department. When the campus Police Department is contacted, an officer will assist the victim in obtaining medical care and counseling and will conduct a preliminary investigation and gather physical evidence. Any investigation will be conducted by an officer trained and certified by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council in sexual assault investigation, who will discuss the results of the investigation with the victim and explain to the victim his or her rights and options. The victim’s identity is only disclosed to those people necessary to conduct an investigation, unless required by law (for example, the College is obligated to report the sexual abuse of a minor). Above all, the victim is treated with respect and consideration.
Confidentiality & College Reporting Requirements
Each member of the Merrimack College community may have different reporting requirements and different abilities to maintain victim confidentiality depending on their roles at the College. When considering campus resources, victims should be aware of confidentiality and reporting requirements in order to make informed choices. Some resources on campus may maintain complete confidentiality, while others are available to assist reporting crimes/violations and taking appropriate action through criminal and/or Student Conduct proceedings.
If a victim wishes to keep the details of the incident confidential, they should speak with on-campus counselors or health providers at the Hamel Health and Counseling Center at 978-837-5441. They may also speak to an off-campus crisis center such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center 1-800-841-8371 or the YWCA of Greater Lawrence 1-877-509-9922
Non-Confidential Reporting Options
Victims are encouraged to speak to College officials who can help them make formal reports and generate investigations of incidents, including the Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Students, Office of Community Standards, Residence Life and Merrimack College Police Department. Formal reports made to the College will be investigated and pursued through the Student Conduct process. Formal reports are not strictly confidential; however, only College officials who need details of the incident in order to pursue the Student Conduct process will be notified.
Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations
Other than the counselors at the Hamel Health and Counseling Center, all employees made aware of an alleged incident are required by federal law to file a personally unidentifiable statistical report to The Merrimack College Police Department. The only information that will be released is that an incident was reported, the type of incident and the general location of the incident (i.e. on or off campus; no address will be given). The names of the alleged victim and perpetrator remain confidential unless the survivor specifically authorizes the release of this information. Campus police officers are required to submit an unidentifiable report that a sexual assault or rape incident has occurred to the Dean of Students. Statistics given to The Merrimack College Police Department can be found in the Annual Campus Security Report.
Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations
Victims of sexual misconduct should be aware that College officials must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The College will not provide the victim’s name or identifying information, but will provide enough information for community members to make safe decisions in light of the danger.
On-Campus Complaint Resolution
If the victim chooses to file a complaint on campus, it will be facilitated through the Merrimack College Student Conduct process. The rights of both parties are protected under the existing Merrimack College Community Standards.
The College assures the parties of the following rights under federal law:
- To expect that reports of sexual misconduct will be taken seriously by Merrimack College.
- To prompt notification and explanation of the allegations.
- To a timely resolution from the Student Conduct process that is closed to the public.
- To a fair, open-minded and objective consideration of the matter being discussed.
- To be informed of available counselors.
- To be made aware of the available resources of the Merrimack College Police Department and/or an advisor of their choice.
- To receive notification of and assistance with the option of changing academic, living, working and/or transportation situations after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct if such changes are reasonably available (no charges or investigation, campus or criminal, need occur before this option is available).
- To obtain an on campus “No Contact Order” through the College’s Office of Campus Life.
- To present their information surrounding the incident.
- To an advisor, which the student(s) must arrange for him/herself.
- Please note that advisors may only participate in very limited circumstances. Advisors may attend but may not actively participate in any meetings or proceedings related to the Student Conduct process. Students must provide at least two business days of notice to the College official that is conducting the proceedings.
- To present a reasonable number of witnesses to investigators
- To question people presenting testimony against him or her.
- To be informed of the outcome and sanction of any disciplinary hearing involving sexual misconduct.
- To not have prior sexual history admitted in a Student Conduct Board hearing.
- To submit an appeal to the Dean of Students (or designee).
For more information regarding the on-campus resolution process, please see the Sexual Misconduct Proceedings.
All investigations of sexual misconduct will be completed in a timely manner. Unforeseen circumstances may delay an investigation, which in turn may delay an outcome. Such circumstances might include, but are not limited to, reluctant witnesses, test results, College break periods such as summer and winter breaks, etc.
The victim has the right to pursue additional legal options through the court system either separately or in conjunction with a College student conduct complaint. Assistance in filing criminal charges or obtaining a Restraining/Harassment Order against an alleged assailant can be obtained through the following resources:
- Merrimack College Police Department
- The police department in the town where the incident occurred
- The Rape Crisis Hot Line (1-800-542-5212)
The Rights of the College to Investigate
Merrimack College recognizes that in most cases, a student reporting an incident of sexual misconduct may determine the course of action to be pursued. The College reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as a complainant and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by, or consent of, the victim.
Independence of Criminal Proceedings
The College’s right to impose disciplinary sanctions is independent of any other court actions the victim may pursue.
All students may be held accountable for their behavior on or off campus. The institution reserves the right to process internally, any incident, on- or off-campus, which involves a Merrimack College student.
Timing of Complaint
Any member of the College community may file a complaint against a student at any time for allegedly violating the sexual misconduct policy. There is no statute of limitations for complaints, but potential complainants are reminded that the College’s ability to effectively investigate complaints can be impaired over time. The term “student” includes all persons (other than faculty, staff or administrators) who are registered for and taking or auditing courses at the College, either full-time or part-time. The term “member of the College community” includes any person who is a student, faculty member, administrator/staff member or any other person employed by the College. A person’s status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Dean of Students.
In most circumstances, the College will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed above as if those attempts had been completed.
It is a violation to make an intentionally false report, including sexual misconduct, and false reports may also violate state criminal statutes and/or defamation laws.
Retaliation against a person for filing a complaint, or against witnesses for providing a statement during an investigation, is prohibited and is a violation of Community Standards and may also violate criminal statutes. Any student found responsible for retaliation will be subject to severe sanctions.