Student Handbook

The Luther College Student Handbook is a collection of student conduct standards, policies, and procedures that define community expectations for students at Luther. It also serves as an important resource for students, highlighting a wide variety of topics related to life on the Luther campus.

It is the responsibility of each student to become familiar with the Student Handbook. Students must also become familiar with other official publications including, but not limited to, the College Catalog, Emergency Procedure Guide, Housing and Dining Contract, and other important documents pertaining to student rights and responsibilities.

The Campus Life Committee, a campus-wide body comprised of students, faculty, and staff. Faculty delegate this group to plan and define college policies about student life and welfare on campus. The Campus Life Committee works in conjunction with members of the Student Life Office to ensure an effective implementation of college policies and procedures.

The policies and statements included in the Student Handbook are not a contract and the college reserves the right to deviate from the policies and statements as deemed necessary from time to time. 

Questions regarding the Luther College Student Handbook and related policies and procedures should be directed to: Student Life Office, Dahl Centennial Union 2nd floor, 563-387-1020, [email protected].

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Point System Grid

I. Policy Statement on Alcohol and Other Drugs

Luther College takes seriously the abuse of alcohol and chemical substances. This includes the illegal use of alcohol, specifically alcohol consumption by individuals under the age of 21. As an educational institution, we place a great deal of responsibility on students who are of legal age to make the decision whether or not to consume alcohol and if they choose to consume alcohol, to do so responsibly. College students also have a great deal of freedom; however, with freedom comes responsibility.

The responsible student will:

  • Make an informed decision on choosing to consume alcohol.
  • Know, understand, and conform to federal, state, and local laws, and adhere to Luther College regulations on alcohol use.
  • Assume accountability for one’s behavior (and those of guests) and accept the consequences for all actions.
  • Not make alcohol the main focus in his/her activities. Consuming alcohol just to consume or get intoxicated is not responsible use.
  • Not pressure other students to consume alcohol, whether directly or indirectly.
  • Not pressure other students to engage in sexual activity when either or both of them have been consuming alcohol.
  • Not behave in a way that is disruptive or otherwise harmful to self or others including times when this behavior is related to alcohol consumption.
  • Show care and concern for students who use alcohol in a manner damaging to themselves or the community, and refer students to the Residence Life Office, Student Life Office, Counseling Service, or any faculty or staff member for additional assistance.

The ultimate definition of responsible personal use is left to the discretion of Residence Life staff. Only students who have attained the legal drinking age of 21 years may possess or consume alcoholic beverages in private living quarters (student rooms, apartments, etc.). Peer pressure to use alcohol will not be tolerated. When in possession of or consuming alcohol, no students under the legal drinking age may be present; in this situation, all students present are at risk of violating the alcohol policy.

Students should note that the possession of alcoholic beverage containers, either full or empty, may be taken as a presumption of use and possession, and as such, may be considered policy violations. Students may also be held accountable, even if they do not have actual possession of alcohol, when they are present at alcohol-related events; commit actions due to alcohol intoxication; or are in “constructive” possession of alcohol (parallel to the Iowa Code on possession) or illegal substances.

Most alcohol policy violations are handled via Informal Administrative Hearings as outlined in the Luther Code of Conduct.

When, in the judgment of a staff person, a student is transported for medical attention or monitoring in response to alcohol or other chemical use, the involved student will be responsible for any costs incurred.

II. Luther Code of Conduct: Statement on Drugs and Drug-Related Paraphernalia

Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in Article IV of the Code of Conduct: Use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of marijuana, heroin, narcotics, or other controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law, including the use or possession of drug-related paraphernalia [Article III(B)(18)].

Students should be advised that local police authorities are involved with investigation and prosecution when illegal use or possession is suspected. The typical disciplinary action on campus is detailed in the Point System Grid. If a student is found to be selling drugs, or the evidence on campus suggests distribution of drugs to others, the college employs a “no tolerance” stance.

III. Luther Code of Conduct: Statement on Smoking and Smoking Devices

Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in Article IV of the Code of Conduct: Smoking of cigarettes, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and other forms of tobacco under the provisions of the Iowa Smokefree Air Act. This act prohibits smoking inside all buildings, outside all buildings, and on all college property including, but not limited to, sidewalks, parking lots and roads (and inside vehicles located on such grounds), athletic fields, and on any other college property. The possession of pipes, hookahs, and other smoking devices is also prohibited, as is the sale or distribution of tobacco products [Article III(B)(20)].

Luther College has long recognized that smoking is a serious health hazard. All members of the Luther community are asked to remind persons who are smoking that we are required to comply with the provisions of the Iowa Smokefree Air Act; the Act stipulates that the campus is entirely smoke-free. Persons who have been reminded and continue to smoke will be reported to Campus Safety and Security; a $50 citation may be given to individuals after adequate warning. Finally, students, faculty, and staff members may receive information on smoking-cessation programs from the Wellness Program Office.

IV. Luther Code of Conduct: Statement on Alcohol

Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in Article IV of the Code of Conduct: Use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of alcoholic beverages (except as expressly permitted by Luther College regulations), or public intoxication. Alcoholic beverages may not, in any circumstance, be used by, possessed by, or distributed to any person under twenty-one years of age. This policy applies to behavior on Luther College premises or at Luther College sponsored or supervised functions [Article III(B)(19)].

The Code of Conduct broadly identifies prohibited behavior with respect to alcohol possession and/or use. Specific interpretations and policy situations with respect to the policy follow:

  • The possession, consumption, or sale of alcoholic beverages at any campus event is prohibited. Further, no college or residence hall funds may be expended for the purchase of alcoholic beverages.
  • The consumption of alcoholic beverages in the lounges, corridors, and other public areas of the residence halls, as well as in any other college buildings or on any college grounds, is prohibited.
  • Students living in residence halls who have reached the legal drinking age in the state of Iowa are allowed to make their own decisions in relation to the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages in their rooms. However, no kegs or amounts of alcohol in excess of personal use are allowed. Alcohol must be transported to living quarters in closed containers. When in possession of or consuming alcohol, no students under the legal drinking age may be present.
  • Students are responsible for their own and their guests’ behavior at all times. The use of alcoholic beverages shall not impinge upon the freedom and rights of roommates, residents in neighboring rooms, and other students. All members of the Luther community should assume responsibility for referring persons who need assistance for alcohol-related problems to Student Life professionals. Disruptive, destructive, or illegal behavior related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages is subject to college disciplinary action and/or civil enforcement.
  • The alcohol policy includes alcohol-related violations. Students may be held accountable, even if they do not have actual possession of alcohol, when they are present at alcohol-related events; commit actions related to alcohol intoxication (i.e. excessive noise, harassing or disruptive behavior, vandalism); or are in “constructive” possession of alcohol (parallel to the Iowa Code on possession).
  • Possession of alcoholic beverage containers, either full or empty, may be taken as a presumption of use and possession, and as such, may be considered policy violations.
  • If a student is found to be responsible for an alcohol or alcohol-related violation, specific points will be assessed. The points assigned will be based upon the nature and severity of the violation, and range from minor to severe. With each offense, students are required to have a meeting with a Residence Life staff member, typically a hall director or area coordinator, to review alcohol policies and procedures; the R.A. may attend at the hall director’s discretion. If the student does not then complete the disciplinary sanction, the student is subject to an assessment of a point. Other sanctions may be assigned as appropriate.  Any violation may be referred to the Luther College Hearing Board for review.

Alcohol and alcohol-related violations include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

  • An R.A. confronts students in a room that is excessively noisy and finds students who are drinking. If any of them are underage, it is a clear alcohol violation. If the students are over 21, cooperate about providing IDs, and lower the noise level, it would normally be treated as a noise violation.
  • There is a party going on in a room that overflows into the hall or cluster. The alcohol present exceeds "personal use" or there are open containers in the hallways.
  • Public intoxication (staggering, slurring of words, vomiting, loss of bodily fluids, etc.).
  • Permitting others (students or guests) to use assigned living quarters to consume alcohol in violation of the alcohol policy.
  • There is vandalism or damage done to property or other people by a student who evidences alcohol use.
  • A student harasses or is abusive to other students or college authorities and there is evidence of alcohol use.
  • Promotion of events where alcohol is the primary focus.
  • A staff member is present in any area of the residence hall and notices alcohol containers or paraphernalia, regardless if alcohol consumption has taken place.
  • Use of false identification in order to consume alcohol and avoid detection by staff or security, or failure to provide identification when requested by a college official.

V. Alcohol-Related Violations: Point System Grid

Violation Points Notes
Medical Amnesty / Good Samaritan exemption 0
A Use or possession of an alcoholic beverage under the age of 21 1
B Being in the presence of alcohol under the age of 21 1
C Possession of an open container of alcohol in a non-approved public location 1
D Possession of a fictitious or fraudulent ID 1
E Guest policy violation 1
F Excessive noise 1
G Failure to complete new-student online educational program on alcohol, drugs, healthy relationships and bystander intervention.  Fall deadline is September 30. Spring deadline is February 28. 1
H* Hosting individuals in room where open containers of alcohol are in the presence of individuals under 21 1
I* Missed sanction deadline 1
J* Repeated alcohol or other drug violation within 3 months of incident (not including original incident month; points for new incident are assessed and an additional point is added to the total. 1
K Possession of alcohol-related paraphernalia (for example funnels, etc.) 2
L Intoxicated individual (signs of internal consumption requiring a response from college or law enforcement official) 2
M Being in the presence of drinking games with alcohol 2
N* Disruptive behavior (vomiting, loss of bodily functions, etc.) 2 possible law enforcement involvement
O* Disorderly conduct (failure to comply with college or law enforcement official, arrest for public intoxication, etc.) 2 possible law enforcement involvement
P Use of a fictitious or fraudulent ID to purchase alcohol 3
Q Use or possession of hard alcohol (liquor) under the age of 21 3
R* False activation of a fire alarm or tampering with safety equipment 3 fine included
S Providing alcoholic beverages to a student under the age of 21 4
T Use or possession of marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia 4 law enforcement involvement
U Acute, emergency medical care when medical amnesty is not available 4
V* Engaging in a physical altercation 4 possible law enforcement involvement
W* Destruction of property belonging to another student, the college, the City of Decorah or other public space, or privately owned property 5
X Possession of a keg, common source, or large quantities of an alcoholic beverage-regardless of age-on college-owned property 6
Y Providing hard alcohol, by a legal-aged student, to a student under the age of 21 6
Z Unlicensed sale of alcohol to another individual or individuals 6
AA Use or possession of illegal drugs other than marijuana 8 law enforcement involvement
BB Illegal use of prescription medications, including without limitation the use of another's prescribed medications or illegal misuse of personally prescribed or over-the counter medications 8 law enforcement involvement
CC Distributing illegal drugs (including, but not limited to, marijuana) or other controlled substances (legal, prescription drugs) 9 law enforcement involvement
DD Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs (arrested for) 9 law enforcement involvement
EE Selling illegal drugs (including, but not limited to, marijuana) or other controlled substances (legal, prescription drugs) 10 law enforcement involvement

Corollary points are assessed above the base alcohol or other drug points. Such points are identified with an asterisk in the points grid. Incidents not involving alcohol will be assessed the published points.

For example, a student who has accepted responsibility (or been found responsible) for possession of an open container of alcohol as well as disorderly conduct would be assessed a total of 3 points for the incident.

Other Sanctions Disciplinary sanctions of suspension or expulsion may be relevant in some cases. Administrative Hearing Officers or the Luther College Hearing Board may also assign other sanctions, including the aforementioned sanctions, depending on the specific circumstances of the situation. That is, sanctions for cases more severe in magnitude can exceed the outcomes published in this grid. All possible sanctions are outlined in the Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook.

Students can be eligible to have a point reduced from their personal points history when they have no further violations of the Luther College Policy on Alcohol and Drugs during the three months following the month of an incident when the college is in session.

Students who return after a disciplinary suspension after accumulating 10 or more points will return with 5 points on their personal points history.

For example, a student has accepted responsibility (or been found responsible) for a violation during September is assessed 2 points. If the student has no further violations for the remainder of the month of September or during the months of October, November, and December, the student would have one point removed from their points history.

Accumulated points benchmarks
2 Educational sanction: Educational alcohol and/or drug program $50 Fee
4 Educational sanction: Educational alcohol and/or drug program + conversation $100 Fee
4 *Notification to Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s), Academic Advisor, Coach, Ensemble Director, Cocurricular Activity Director
6 Educational sanction: Educational program $125 Fee
6 Disclosure of points history to Center for Global Learning
6 Disclosure of points history and violations when disciplinary record is requested 
7 Evaluation for substance abuse 
7 Decrease in housing priority for next room draw 
8 Educational sanction: to be determined on case by case basis $150 Fee
8 Housing relocation/dismissal
9 Ineligible to have vehicle on campus (when associated with a driving-related violation)
10 Consideration of a disciplinary suspension or expulsion (to be determined by Luther College Hearing Board).
*Notifications continue for any points accumulated above 4 points for each occurrence.
*Notifications take place as and to the extent permitted under FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

VII. Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy for Student Groups Traveling Off Campus

Luther College is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy living and learning environment free from alcohol and chemical abuse. Students should understand the importance of maintaining a healthy environment within the student organizations to which they belong. When student groups represent Luther College at official college-sponsored activities off campus, or when students make visits as part of classes off campus (including study abroad programs), they have the responsibility of being positive individual representatives of the college. Whenever groups travel off campus, members should be reminded that they are seen as representatives of Luther College. Membership in student groups recognized by Luther College is a privilege, and each student’s actions reflect on our community.

The Luther Code of Conduct specifically outlines jurisdiction for conduct which occurs off campus. The Code of Conduct states: “The Luther Code of Conduct shall apply to conduct that occurs on Luther College premises, at Luther College sponsored programs and activities, and to off-campus conduct that adversely affects the Luther College Community and/or the pursuit of its objectives. Each student shall be responsible for his/her conduct from the time of initial visit as a prospective student through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment, even if his/her conduct is not discovered until after a degree is awarded. The Code of Conduct shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from school or is suspended while a disciplinary matter is pending. The Vice President and Dean for Student Life or designee shall decide whether the Code of Conduct shall be applied to conduct occurring off campus, on a case by case basis, at his/her sole discretion.”

With this in mind, the college encourages students to develop healthy habits and attitudes related to the use of alcohol and other drugs. Abstinence is always an appropriate option; moderation is acceptable if it does not violate either college policies or the law. The abusive, illegal, or irresponsible use of any drugs will not be tolerated. 

It is the responsibility of students to be knowledgeable of the physical and mental effects of alcohol and other drugs and the risks associated with use. It is also the responsibility of students to be aware of other relevant college policies and federal, state, local, and international laws related to alcohol and other drugs use.  

In the following policy, “group leader” is defined as the faculty or staff member responsible for the group, such as the instructor, advisor, coach, or music director. The group leader is expected to follow the same guidelines as the group.

Off-Campus Alcohol and Other Drugs Policies and Procedures

  • The group leader of each student group will meet with the organization to clarify the approach the group will take on the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. This “Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy for Student Groups Traveling Off Campus” will be distributed to all members at that time.
  • The following are minimum guidelines, to be followed by every student group that travels off campus. A group or a group leader could develop stricter guidelines for the group to follow. For instance, a group leader may decide that the activity is not compatible with alcohol or other drug use in any way, and may add that to the policy at his/her discretion. In like manner, the students may recommend this action to their group leader. In study abroad programs, these guidelines are subject to host nation laws and cultural customs as identified by the group leader.
  • Underage drinking and drug use are illegal and will not be tolerated. Any member who provides alcohol to an underage person or is found to be in possession of illegal drugs will be subject to disciplinary action.

Students who are of legal drinking age are expected to act responsibly and adhere to the following guidelines:

  • On the day of an activity, no alcohol or other drug use is permitted during or prior to a performance, event, or activity.
  • No alcohol or other drug use is permitted on college vans, buses, or any other means of private transportation associated with the trip, event, or tour.
  • Members of legal drinking age are expected to use good judgment if consuming alcohol at private homes, at group meals, or other settings during non-program hours.
  • If a group spends the night in a hotel, it is incumbent upon each member to behave responsibly as representatives of the college. No abusive, illegal, or irresponsible use of alcohol and other drugs will be tolerated. Hotel management will be encouraged to deal with disruptive or illegal activities just as they would with other hotel guests, which may include police involvement.
  • Members should help one another in dealing with alcohol and other drug abuse, and should discourage one another from drinking to excess. Members who have an alcohol or drug abuse problem should be encouraged to seek counseling and treatment.

Procedures for Off-Campus Alcohol or Other Drugs Violations

For alcohol and/or other drug violations occurring off campus, two separate student conduct processes may be used—either individually or in combination—to address alleged policy violations.

  • The student conduct procedures as outlined in the Luther Code of Conduct may be initiated once the student returns to campus and/or, the group leader may, upon discussion and an Informal Administrative Hearing (as specified in the Code of Conduct), immediately impose one or more of the following sanctions at his/her discretion, independent of other college judicial proceedings.
  • The student may be suspended from participation in one or more activities during the travel period.
  • The student may be immediately dismissed from the tour or event, and may have to travel home at his/her own expense. Underage or illegal use of alcohol or other drugs are grounds for such dismissal.
  • The student may be suspended from the group for a specific time period, after returning from the event.
  • Other educational sanctions as determined by the group leader, in conjunction with above sanctions.
  • The Vice President and Dean for Student Life or his/her designee, and/or the student’s parents, may be contacted about the incident, either at the time of the event or upon return to campus.

VIII. Medical Amnesty

Medical amnesty protects a student from policy violations when they are seeking help in an emergency. Medical Amnesty granted by the College for alcohol or drug sanctions will be granted to students who, in good faith, report, or experience themselves, an alcohol or drug emergency that requires acute emergency care (i.e. a transport to the emergency room). However, a student will not be granted protection under this policy if campus officials (e.g., residence life staff, campus safety) intervene beforehand.

Medical amnesty is not viewed as an avenue through which a student may escape responsibility, but rather as an opportunity to reflect on their decision-making process related to their use of alcohol and/or drugs. The goal of amnesty is to increase student awareness of the risks of alcohol or other drug overconsumption and to reduce the instances that require acute emergency care.

The medical amnesty policy is designed to encourage students to seek help in an alcohol or drug emergency without hesitating because of worry about receiving policy violation sanctions from the College. This policy also applies to someone who has been a crime victim, who also may be intoxicated and therefore reluctant to report the crime. If in doubt about a person's safety related to alcohol or drug use, seek help by calling Campus Safety and Security (563-387-2111) or 911.  

  1. Students may be required to participate in an appropriate alcohol educational program depending upon their involvement in the situation. Failure to comply will invalidate protection under this policy.
  2. Records kept as a result of this policy shall not be noted on the student's conduct record as a policy violation. Students involved may still need to meet with residence life staff or other College officials for a review of the incident, but this meeting will not result in disciplinary sanctions from the College.  
  3. This policy does not preclude disciplinary action regarding other violations of College policy, such as causing or threatening physical harm, sexual violence, damage to property, harassment, hazing, etc. Students should also be aware that this policy does not prevent action by local and state authorities.  
  4. Nothing in this policy shall prevent an individual who is obligated by state or federal law to do so from reporting, charging or taking other action related to the possible criminal prosecution of any student.

The Medical Amnesty form is available online.

Good Samaritan Statement

Students are encouraged to immediately seek medical or security assistance for students whose health and wellbeing may be at risk due to the overconsumption of alcohol and/or drugs. Taking responsibility for helping a student in need will always be viewed positively in any post-incident follow-up, including those incidents where the “Good Samaritan” and/or the person needing emergency assistance may have violated the College’s alcohol and other drugs policy.  Please seek help by calling Campus Safety and Security (563-387-2111) or 911.

Last Reviewed: Feb 23rd, 2016