Please refer to Cornell’s policies regarding alcohol and other drugs.
Both New York State law and Cornell's Student Code of Conduct require individuals to be 21 years old before they drink alcohol. It is also illegal to provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. (See alcohol policies related to other States in the U.S.)
It is illegal and prohibited by the university for an individual to manufacture, possess, use, dispense, sell, or distribute controlled substances or other illegal drugs (as defined by state and federal law).
Cannabis / marijuana use remains illegal at the federal level and is prohibited on Cornell’s campus. All colleges and universities that receive federal funding must follow the federal law, regardless of whether states allow recreational sales of marijuana.
Driving under the influence
New York State has serious penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. It is illegal to drive at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a .02 for those under 21. If you are 21 or older, you can be charged with driving while abilities are impaired if your BAC is a .05 to .07 and driving while intoxicated if your BAC is .08 or higher.
It is illegal to create or possess altered government or university documents to bypass the legal drinking age.
Open container law
The City of Ithaca prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages in open containers on public streets, sidewalks, or parks.
It is illegal to give alcohol to minors (anyone under the age of 21). Penalties for violation may result in a jail term of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000. You cannot sell any alcoholic beverage without obtaining the appropriate license, and fines for doing so can cost several thousand dollars. Hard alcohol (more than 30% alcohol by volume) is not permitted in any Greek residential chapter house at any time. You can be sued if someone drinks at your party and hurts someone afterward. [See tips for partying without the police]
Good Samaritan Protocol
Cornell’s Good Samaritan Protocol – which applies on campus – eliminates or mitigates judicial consequences for individuals involved in calling for help in an alcohol emergency or drug-related emergency. New York State’s Good Samaritan law (pdf) is similar in the protection it provides to individuals off campus.
- Student Code of Conduct: Cornell’s standards of behavior that apply to everyone associated with the university
- Residential Community Rules & Standards: Student and Campus Life resources, including rules that apply to living in university residential communities
- Tips for partying without the police: Office of Off-Campus Living resources for state laws and city/town ordinances concerning house parties, alcohol, and noise violations
- Student-Athlete Handbook: Department of Athletics and Physical Education rules for varsity athletes