Alcohol & Substance Abuse: Risks & Regulations

According to the Iowa Code, persons who are 21 years of age may use and possess alcohol, but may not give alcoholic beverages or resell them to persons who are under age (21). Underage students at Mount Mercy University who possess or use alcohol are subject to disciplinary action by the University. Underage possession and use may result in civil or criminal penalties.

The University may report violations of these regulations to civil authorities. Parents or legal guardians may be notified concerning violations of underage possession, use, or provision to others of alcohol or any illegal substances, as provided for under the Campus Disclosure Act of 1998.

Excessive alcohol consumption and/or the resulting irresponsible behavior are inconsistent with the goals and mission of the University. Any/all individuals present during an alcohol policy violation may be found guilty of a behavioral violation and subject to disciplinary action by the University.

  1. Students who are not of legal age are not allowed to consume or possess alcohol. 
  2. Alcohol may not be consumed or possessed in Regina or McAuley Halls regardless of age.
  3. The consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all public areas. This includes hallways, public lounges or patios, recreational areas, campus grounds, and parking lots. 
  4. Kegs, including party balls or other containers of alcohol larger than 1 quart, are not permitted by the University. 
  5. If policies regarding the consumption or possession of alcohol are violated, unopened containers of alcohol will be confiscated. Under no circumstances will confiscated alcohol be returned to persons not of legal age.  
  6. In the Andreas House suites and Lower Campus Apartments the following policies apply:
    1. To prevent large group drinking, there may be no more than ten (10) of-age people in an Andreas House suite and no more than nine (9) of-age people in a Lower Campus apartment while alcohol is being consumed. 
    2. Students who are of legal age may possess/consume alcohol as follows (as long as no other policies are being broken):
      1. Alcohol may be consumed and/or possessed anywhere in the suite or apartment if everyone living in the suite or apartment is verifiably of legal age. Everyone present when alcohol is present must also be verifiably of legal age. 
      2. If there are both of-age and underage people living in the same suite/apartment, roommate pairs who are both of legal drinking age, may consume, possess, and store alcohol in their private bedroom only. The number of open alcohol containers present (whether empty or not) may not exceed one container per individual of legal drinking age in the bedroom where alcohol is being consumed. Empty containers must be properly disposed of prior to opening another container. 
      3. Guests who are of legal drinking age may be present as long as the number of individuals allowed in the suite or apartment is not exceeded (see paragraph 6a above).
    3. At Andreas or Lower campus, alcohol may NOT be consumed or possessed under the following circumstances: 
      1. No underage guests are allowed in the suite or apartment when alcohol is present. 
      2. If there are underage residents living in the suite or apartment, alcohol may not be consumed, possessed, or stored in the public living areas (this includes the kitchen, kitchen refrigerator, living room, bathrooms, and hallways).
      3. If only one individual in the roommate pair is of legal drinking age, no alcohol may be consumed, possessed or stored in the bedroom.
      4. Suite/apartment-mates not of legal drinking age may not enter the bedroom where alcohol is being consumed.  
      5. No open alcohol containers are permitted outside resident building (patios, entry ways, campus grounds, or parking lots). Open containers include cans, bottles, cups, glasses, squeeze bottles, or other containers on which the original seal has been broken.

Alcohol Usage at Off-Campus Events Sponsored by Student Clubs or Organizations

Mount Mercy University discourages University clubs and organizations from hosting or sponsoring off campus events where alcohol is sold or served. If an organization chooses to host or sponsor an event where alcohol is sold or served, the following rules are to be observed:

  • Alcohol can only be sold and served in a private room or designated area separate from the primary party, dance, or event. Those under the age of 21 are not permitted to enter this area.
  • Alcohol may not be brought out of the designated alcohol sales/consumption area. The following rules must be observed: 
    • No University money may be used to purchase alcohol. 
    • No club, student, or employee of the University may receive any portion of the money made from the sale of alcohol at the event.  
    • Alcohol may not be provided or distributed by student organizations or members of student organizations. 
    • Nonalcoholic beverages must be available. 
    • Alcohol may not be carried into the facility; nor may students come and go from the party frequently.  
    • Only single servings may be purchased; no pitchers are permitted. 
    • Students may not purchase more than one alcoholic beverage at a time.  
    • No University employee or student may certify age; only licensed agent may authorize age appropriate sale or provision. Club officers and advisors are responsible for these stipulations related to the use of alcohol

Legal Sanctions

 Under state law, the legal age for possession or drinking of alcohol is 21. State law prohibits public intoxication; driving a motor vehicle with an unsealed receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage in the vehicle; giving or selling an alcoholic beverage to anyone intoxicated; and possession of an alcoholic beverage under legal age.

Each of these violations is a simple misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to $100 fine. In addition, a person found guilty of giving or selling an alcoholic beverage to a person under the legal age will be fined a minimum of $500. State and federal legal sanctions are subject to change by the General Assembly and Congress, respectively. Sanctions for violations of Mount Mercy Policy are listed under “Enforcement Procedures,” section of The Good Book (student handbook).

Health Risks

 As an educational institution, Mount Mercy endeavors to protect and assist students by providing reliable information about the hazards of illegal drugs and alcohol. Health risks include, but are not limited to, adverse modification of one or more body systems, such as the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, endocrine, and central nervous systems; toxic, allergic, or other serious reaction; unfavorable mood alteration; and addiction. Physiological and psychological dependency, which manifests itself in a preoccupation with acquiring and using one or more drugs/alcohol, may cause severe emotional and physical injury.

Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.

Common side-effects of alcohol consumption include digestive complaints and sleep problems and may adversely affect a student’s academic performance. Because alcohol increases aggression, excessive consumption may lead to fighting, vandalism, criminal mischief, and verbal abuse. Alcohol abuse often plays a role in unwanted pregnancies and rape.

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.

Alcohol and Other Drug Education Services

Mount Mercy University offers a range of services for persons who want to learn more about alcohol and other drugs, are concerned about their own or someone else’s substance abuse, or are recovering from substance abuse problems.

Campus student services where you may receive information and/or assistance include:

Counseling Services Ext. 1257 
Residence Life Ext. 6469 
Health Services Ext. 1283 
Wellness Programs Ext. 1296 
Public Safety Ext. 1234

The Mount Mercy University Catalog also lists a number of academic courses which provide information on alcohol and other drugs from a variety of perspectives. Course topics include, but are not limited to: pharmacology, health psychology, criminal justice, chemistry, music philosophy, history, and social work. Specific courses include Criminal Law, General Chemistry II, Nutrition, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Introduction to Music, Philosophy of Human Nature, Nineteenth Century Europe, Western World Since 1648, American History, Nursing Complex Health Care, Foundations of Education, Human Relations, Inquiry and Expression, Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to World Religions, Basic Skills for Human Service Workers, Social Work Practicums, and Social Systems and Social Functioning.

There are also a number of community agencies where individuals may receive educational information, assessment, and support. Services include substance abuse assessment and referral, outreach, education, and support groups. Several such agencies are listed below.

Abbe Center for Community Mental Health 520 11th Street NW – 398-3562
Area Substance Abuse Council, 3601 16th Avenue SW – 390-4611
Foundation 2 Crisis Line – 362-2174
Hillcrest Family Services, 205 - 12th Street SE – 362-3149
Mercy Behavioral Services/Sedlacek, 701 Tenth Street SE — 398-6226
St. Luke’s Chemical Dependency Unit, Kirkwood Resource Center
1030 Fifth Avenue SE, Lower Level – 363-4429