The university focuses on building campus culture to include personal responsiblities, scholarship and citizenship, while educating students about health and safety hazards of high-risk alcohol and illegal drugs use. The effects of college drinking may reach beyond the classroom. More and more companies are doing background checks on potential employees as a result of alcohol related criminal convictions. Even aquittals may remain on a student's permanent record. Students should be familiarize themselves with the following information:

The Big Four Alcohol/Drug Strategies

In 1997, five college students died from alcohol or alcohol related injuries on five separate Virginia college campuses. In 1998 the Virginia Attorney General passed an extensive list of recommendations to fight binge drinking on Virginia’s college and university campuses. In response, JMU put together a task force made up of students, faculty, and staff to implement strategies in line with the Attorney General’s recommendations. The JMU task force came up with three initial strategies to comply with the recommendations in 1998, the fourth being added in 2012 as a result of efforts by the Student Government Association.

Three Strikes

Effective Academic Year 1998-1999

JMU feels that learning can occur after an initial alcohol or drug incident, but takes the matter seriously.

Students will receive a strike if found responsible for an incident involving alcohol and/or drugs. Students may be suspended for a minimum of one semester upon their receipt of a third strike; strikes are cumulative over a student’s career at JMU. However, students may be suspended prior to a third strike for violations which pose health or safety concerns to the student or the community.  Examples of health and safety concerns include, but are not limited to distribution of drugs, supplying alcohol to those who are underage, hospitalizations, DUIs, and keg registration violations.

For more information, see the Alcohol/Drug Strategies.

Parent/Guardian Notification

Effective Spring 1999. Revised 2010.

JMU is seeking to partner with parents/guardians in helping students be successful at the university.

Parents\Guardians will be notified of each alcohol or drug incidents their student is involved in while under the age of 21. Notification will occur at the conclusion of the accountability process for on-campus cases if found responsible and upon arrest or citation for off-campus cases.

For more information regarding our efforts to partner with parents/guardians, see Resources: Parents.

Off-Campus Adjudication

Effective Academic Year 1999 - 2000

JMU is responsible for their students, whether the student is on campus or in the community.

Alcohol violations, drug violations, felonies, and other student behavior that occurs off campus within the City of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County may be addressed by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices. Alcohol and drug violations will be addressed at the conclusion of the court process if the student is found guilty or enters a deferred disposition.

Student behavior that is against the educational atmosphere or mission of the institution, including felonies or sexual misconduct, may be addressed by OSARP regardless of the location in which it occurred.

For more information, see the JMU Student Handbook: Jurisdiction and Alcohol/Drug Strategies.

Enlightened Citizen Amnesty Process (ECAP)

Effective Academic Year 2012 - 2013

JMU is committed to having students be safe at all times.

OSARP will grant amnesty from receiving a strike to eligible students who voluntarily report they need medical attention or have medical attention requested for them by another due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.  

For bystander students who are determined to have violated alcohol/drug policy and to have voluntarily reported that someone else needed medical attention due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs, OSARP will reach a decision of “Dropped – Amnesty”, which does not create a university disciplinary record but does require the attendance at an educational program.

For full text of the process, visit JMU Student Handbook: Enlightened Citizen Amnesty

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University Alcohol/Drug Policies

James Madison University is committed to working against the illegal use of drugs and high-risk or illegal alcohol use among students. Community members who violate local, state or federal law concerning substance abuse/university standards of conduct will be subject to the imposition of university sanctions and referral for prosecution under the statutes of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Convictions for violations of these laws could result in fines, loss of driver's license and imprisonment. University sanctions could include penalties ranging from fines to suspension from the university.

Understanding Virginia Law

All members of the JMU community are expected to know and follow state and federal laws regarding alcohol and drugs. Students who violate state laws are subject to prosecution and University disciplinary action. 

For more information, refer to the Virginia Legislative Information System on Virginia Code, J38-101 Alcohol, or J38-102 Drugs. 

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Resources for Students:

JMU offers the following resources:

  • *Student Accountability Programs: OSARP offers many programs including three educational programs entitled By the Numbers, Calling the Shots, and Values in Action are available on a volunteer basis. To learn more about these programs:

*Students who have not been sanctioned to the above classes are able to enroll.  Please see the appropriate link for more information.

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 The resources that Harrisonburg offers include (but are not limited to):

  • RMH Life Recovery Program: The LIFE Recovery Program at RMH Behavioral Health is a comprehensive treatment program focusing on freedom from chemicals for those suffering with alcohol or drug problems. Services offered range from individual therapy to group therapy to intensive group therapy, and even aftercare services. For more information:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: An internationally recognized program, AA states that its primary purpose is "to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety".

  • Al-Anon: A support group, Al-Anon defines itself as an independent fellowship with the stated purpose of helping relatives and friends of alcoholics.  Al-Anon, as a program, recognizes that the friends and families of alcoholics are often traumatized themselves, and in need of emotional support and understanding.

  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA): This organization describes itself as a "nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. NA uses a traditional 12-step model that has been expanded and developed for people with varied substance abuse issues.

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