Dining is an integral component of campus life, and sits at the heart of Vanderbilt’s undergraduate residential experience; as such, all students residing in University housing are required to participate in a meal plan based on cohort year. First-year students living on campus participate in the First-Year Meal Plan of 335 meals per semester. Second-year students living on campus receive 305 meals per semester, third-year students living on campus receive 305 meals per semester, and fourth-year students living on campus receive 225 meals per semester. Meal plans are loaded onto the Commodore Card or mobile wallet and consist of a set meal allowance plus flexible meal money each semester. Second, third, and fourth-year undergraduates have the option to upgrade to more comprehensive meal plans. Undergraduates living off campus may purchase any of the meal plans offered to on-campus students and graduate and professional students may purchase Flex Meals online. Detailed information on Vanderbilt Campus Dining, meal plans, and allergen or nutritional needs may be found at https://vanderbilt.edu/dining.
Drug Free Campus
Vanderbilt University is deeply concerned about the health and welfare of its students. University policies and regulations in general–and alcohol and other drugs policies in particular–reflect that concern. The purpose of University policies, and the purpose of articulating them in great detail, is to enable students to make informed–and, it is hoped, intelligent–choices, as well as to enable them to understand the consequences of making unhealthy choices. In compliance with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Campuses regulations, Vanderbilt has adopted a policy that includes the expectation that students will comply with federal, state, and local laws, including those relating to alcoholic beverages, narcotics, and other drugs.
The University prohibits the unlawful possession, use, distribution, or facilitation of the distribution of alcohol and other drugs by students, faculty, and staff on its property, or as part of any University program or activity. The prohibition extends to off-campus activities that are officially sponsored by Vanderbilt, its schools, departments, or organizations. In addition, the prohibition extends to off-campus professional or organizational activities, including attendance at conferences, when participation is sponsored by the University, or when the participating student, faculty member, or staff member is representing the University. Finally, the prohibition extends to “private” events off campus where the University may have jurisdiction or an interest (e.g., if a student or student organization were to provide alcohol to underage students at an off-campus location).
In addition, the misuse of prescription drugs is a serious concern on college campuses. For this reason, it is a violation of University policy for a student to be in possession of, or use, another person’s prescription medication or for a student to distribute medications to one person that have been prescribed for another. Note that in addition to being violations of University policy, these practices are also felonies under federal statutes.
To underscore the seriousness with which it takes the issue of health and welfare of its constituent populations, the University will impose sanctions on students, faculty, and staff–up to and including expulsion or termination of employment, and possible referral for prosecution–for violation of the alcohol and other drugs policy. Conditions of continued employment or enrollment may include the completion of an appropriate treatment program and/or active participation in a recovery program.
In addition to the standards of conduct prohibited by law and University policy, students, faculty, and staff are subject to the additional requirements, standards, and procedures promulgated by their respective schools, departments, and organizations. Additional standards of conduct, standards, and procedures may be found elsewhere in The Student Handbook, in the Faculty Manual, and in the Medical Center Alcohol and Drug Use Policy (Policy No. 30-im08), in the Human Resources policy, and any applicable union contract. Students, faculty, and staff may refer to these documents for details.
Alcohol and Other Drugs Policies
Harm Reduction – BASICS
Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) is an assessment administered by the Center for Student Wellbeing to provide helpful information to students about their patterns of use of alcohol and other drugs and how this may be impacting their overall wellbeing. Following a harm reduction approach, the program uses motivational interviewing to help students identify goals increase their positive coping skills and reduce the risks associated with the misuse of alcohol and other drugs.
If there is substantial risk of further substance-related or mental health concerns, a referral may be made to the University Counseling Center.
The campus resource for students or campus professionals who want to learn more about talking to students about alcohol and other drugs is the Center for Student Wellbeing which can be reached by calling 615-32(2-0480).
See Student Accountability Procedures-Sanctions in the Behavioral Procedures Section of the Student Handbook.
State of Tennessee Sanctions
This document contains a summary of state and federal sanctions for the unlawful use of controlled substances and alcohol. Portions of the summary were provided by the federal government, and while the summary is a good faith effort to provide information, Vanderbilt does not guarantee its completeness or accuracy. Under state law, it is unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one (21) to buy, possess, transport (unless in the course of their employment and over the age of 18), or consume alcoholic beverages, including wine or beer. It is also unlawful for any adult to give or buy alcoholic beverages for or on behalf of anyone under twenty-one years of age, or to cause alcohol to be given or bought for or on behalf of anyone under twenty-one years of age for any purpose These offenses are classified as Class A Misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for up to eleven months and twenty-nine days, or a fine of up to $2,500, or both. (T.C.A. §§ 1-3-113, 39-15-404, 40-35-111, 57-5-301.) The offense of public intoxication is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than thirty days or a fine of not more than $50, or both. (T.C.A. § 39-17-310.) Under Tennessee law, the offense of simple possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance (such as marijuana) is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to eleven months and twenty-nine days or a fine up to $2,500, or both). If there is an exchange from a person over twenty-one years of age to a person under twenty-one, and the older person is at least two years older than the younger person, and the older person knows that the younger person is under twenty-one years of age, then the offense is classified as a felony. Possession of more than 1/2 ounce of marijuana under circumstances where intent to resell may be implicit is punishable as a Class E Felony by one to six years of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for the first offense. (T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417, 39-17-418, 39-17-419, 39-17-428; 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq.)
State penalties for possession of substantial quantities of a controlled substance or for manufacturing or distribution of a controlled substance range from fifteen to sixty years of imprisonment and a $500,000 fine. (Title 39, T.C.A., Chapter 17, Part 4.) For example, possession of more than twenty-six grams of cocaine is punishable as a Class B Felony by eight to thirty years of imprisonment and a $200,000 fine for the first offense.
The state may, under certain circumstances, impound a vehicle used to transport or conceal controlled substances.
United States Penalties and Sanctions for Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance
21 U.S.C. 844(a)
First conviction: Up to one year imprisonment and fine of at least $1,000.
After one prior drug conviction: At least fifteen days in prison, not to exceed two years, and fine of at least $2,500.
After two or more prior drug convictions: At least ninety days in prison, not to exceed three years, and fine of at least $5,000.
21 U.S.C. §§ 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7)
Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than one year imprisonment.
21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(4)
Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft, or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance. [An automobile may be impounded in cases involving any controlled substance in any amount.]
21 U.S.C. § 844a
Any individual who knowingly possesses a controlled substance in a personal use amount shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each such violation.
21 U.S.C. § 862
Denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, up to one year for first offense, up to five years for second and subsequent offenses.
18 U.S.C. 922(g)
Ineligibility to receive or purchase a firearm or ammunition.
Revocation of certain federal licenses and benefits, e.g., pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, are vested within the authorities of individual federal agencies. Violations of federal trafficking laws that involve either (1) distribution or possession of controlled substances at or near a school or University campus, or (2) distribution of controlled substances to persons under twenty-one (21) years of age, incur doubled penalties under federal law. (See chart: Federal Trafficking Penalties.)
As an educational institution, Vanderbilt University is primarily concerned with helping the individual student achieve academic goals and develop as a person. When health concerns do arise, the University may assist and guide a student whose mental, emotional, or physical health is threatened. Because of the health hazards associated with binge/high-risk drinking and other forms of alcohol misuse, students who choose to drink alcohol should imbibe only in moderation. Should students or their friends misuse alcohol or other drugs, there are several places on campus where they can receive assistance:
- The Resident Adviser (RA), Head Resident, or Residential Experience professional is available to listen to students with such problems and make an appropriate referral.
- Student Care Coordination can provide information and assist in connecting students with appropriate resources or treatment providers.
- The Center for Student Wellbeing can provide information, coaching, assessments, resources, and referrals. Additionally, Vanderbilt Recovery Support offers student-led, anonymous, and discreet weekly support meetings and monthly seminars.
- The University Counseling Center has a multidisciplinary team of counselors, psychologists, and psychiatric professionals who can provide an initial assessment around alcohol and other drug concerns and assist the student in connecting with appropriate resources whether it be on campus or in the community.
- The Student Health Center has professionals who can assist in treating medical complications and in identifying appropriate resources.
- Students may wish to talk to someone in the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life.
These campus and community resources are available and ready to assist. Calls will be handled with respect for privacy.
- Your Assistant Director and Area Coordinator in Residential Experience
- Your Academic Dean
- Your own physician/psychiatrist/psychologist
- Student Care Coordination 615-343-9355
- Center for Student Wellbeing 615-322-0480
- Vanderbilt Recovery Support 615-322-0480
- Student Health Center 615-322-2427
- University Counseling Center 615-322-2571
- Center for Spiritual and Religious Life 615-322-2457
- Housing and Residential Experience 615-322-2591
- International Student and Scholar Services 615-322-2753
- Emergency Room (VUH) 615-322-3391
- Vanderbilt Behavioral Health 615-327-7770
- AA (call Friendship House, 202 23rd Avenue North, telephone 615-327-3909, for meeting times)
A general concern for all substances that alter self-control or level of awareness is the risk of exposure to physical risks such as sexually transmitted infections, sexual assault, and dangerous decision making such as choosing to drive while under the influence. (See also definitions and clarifications in “Sexual Misconduct.”) Perpetrators of sexual assault may use alcohol and other drugs to incapacitate their victims, intentionally.
Effects of High-Risk/Binge Drinking
Acute: High-risk or binge drinking can result in frequent colds, reduced resistance to infection, and increased risk of pneumonia; aggressive, irrational or violent behavior, depression, and anxiety. The Center for Disease Control lists unintentional injury as the number one cause of death for individuals ages 15-24; impaired sensation leading to falls and driving under the influence are two contributing factors. Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. It is important to recognize that individuals absorb alcohol at different rates leading to variable ranges of alcohol content in the body. Low to moderate levels of alcohol may also increase the incidence of impulsive actions potentially contributing to negative social and academic consequences. Moderate to high levels of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to problem solve, to process information and to remember information. Very high levels cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system such as benzodiazepines, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.
Chronic: Genetic predisposition, beginning use early in life, mental illness, trauma, and repeated long-term use of alcohol can lead to addiction. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can cause changes in mood and behavior, an inability to think clearly and move with coordination, temperature dysregulation, blackouts, sleep interference, loss of memory, and in extreme cases decreased brain volume. Additional potential long-term effects of high-risk drinking include cancer of the throat, mouth, and breast; liver damage, and stroke.
Effects of Other Drugs
The National Institute on Drug Abuse website features a page on the health effects of a number of drugs. To assist the public in keeping current on drug related issues, the NIDA website also features a page on emerging drugs.
Illegal (Non-prescribed) Drugs:
Marijuana (including Delta-9): Marijuana can produce an altered sense of reality, poor coordination of movement, lowered reaction time, and study difficulties due to the reduced ability to learn and retain information. Individuals can also experience panic attacks, anxiety, hallucinations, and psychosis.
Synthetic Cannabinoids: Chemically related to THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, these drugs may cause the individuals who use them to experience high blood pressure, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, seizure, paranoia, and violent behavior.
Cocaine (stimulant): Cocaine, crack, and related forms are highly addictive stimulant drugs. Short-term effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, seizure, and coma. In combination with alcohol there is an increased risk of overdose and sudden death.
Amphetamines (stimulants): Amphetamines, and their new derivatives “crystal,” “ice,” and Ecstasy (among other “street” names), are used for stimulation. These compounds are very addictive and may produce psychotic and violent behaviors.
- MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly): These synthetic psychoactive drugs can cause long-lasting confusion, depression, and a sharp rise in body temperature leading to liver, kidney, or heart failure and death.
- Bath salts (Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky, or Bliss): These synthetic powder products contain various amphetamine-like chemicals. Many side effects have been reported varying from agitation, high blood pressure, increased pulse, chest pain, to hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, to psychotic and violent behavior.
LSD and PCP (hallucinogens): These chemicals create a distortion of an individual’s ability to recognize reality. Use can cause delusions, paranoia, and at high levels, suicidal thoughts along with psychosis in some individuals. The long-term effects of PCP use include memory loss and depression. The negative effects of both PCP and LSD may continue after the drug is out of the system.
Heroin (opioid): These are among some of the most addictive substances known. They produce a high or euphoria. Withdrawal can produce cramping, severe muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and runny nose, sweating and cold sweats, and severe insomnia. Overdose is common and can result in death. Use of a shared needle can increase the risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases.
Medications and prescribed drugs are safe when used as prescribed for clinical conditions. However, many prescribed drugs have the potential for misuse when used recreationally. Those listed below are some of the most frequently misused, and can lead to dependence. When misused, these drugs can be dangerous.
- Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, etc. are stimulants and controlled by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). These drugs are often prescribed for students who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The risk from misuse of these drugs ranges from lack of sleep, high body temperature and irregular heartbeat to anger and hallucinations (psychosis) with severely disorganized thinking. For individuals abusing these stimulants, abrupt withdrawal may lead to significant mood changes including depression with a risk of self-harm.
- Codeine, Hydrocodone (Lortab and Vicodin), and Oxycodone (Percocet and OxyContin) are medications that are prescribed for severe pain. Use can cause drowsiness, nausea, confusion, addiction, and in overdose, may cause slowed breathing and death.
- Xanax, Valium, and other benzodiazepine drugs are not recommended for ongoing management of anxiety. Use of all benzodiazepine compounds can lead to psychological and physiological dependence. Symptoms associated with withdrawal from these drugs can include seizures. In combination with alcohol, both heart rate and breathing may slow to a degree that can lead to death.
- Fentanyl (synthetic opioid) is typically prescribed after surgery or to manage chronic pain for those who are tolerant to opioids. It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Its effects include sedation, slowed respiration, seizures, and unconsciousness. Fentanyl may be laced in counterfeit pills and cocaine which can lead to overdose deaths, due to its potency.
How can you help prevent prescription drug misuse?
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about your medication, especially if you are unsure about its effects.
- Keep your doctor informed about all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications.
- Read the information your pharmacist provides before starting to take medications.
- Take your medication(s) as prescribed, and do not combine with alcohol or other drugs.
- Keep all prescription medications secured at all times and properly dispose of any unused medications.
- Do not share your medications with others, or consume medications prescribed for others.
If you have concerns or questions regarding the use and/or misuse of these prescription medications or others, ask for professional advice.
Warning Signs of Possible Substance Misuse
- Withdrawal from others
- Loss of pleasure in everyday activities
- Change in personal appearance (increasingly unkempt or lack of personal hygiene)
- Change in friends
- Easily discouraged; defeatist attitude
- Low frustration tolerance (outbursts)
- Unpredictable behavior and/or destructive behavior
- Terse replies to questions or conversation
- Sad or forlorn expression
- Poor classroom attendance
- Decline in academic performance
- Apathy or loss of interest
- Change in sleep pattern ranging from excessive sleep to inability to sleep
- Frequent excuses for absences from planned activities
- Change in weight or eating behavior
When such signs appear in friends,
- Express your concern and caring using “I” statements
- Be ready to listen and be nonjudgmental in your approach
- Communicate your desire to help
- Make concrete suggestions as to where the student can find help or and offer to accompany student to meeting or group
- Try to get the student to seek professional help
- Submit a Student of Concern Report to seek assistance from campus resources
- Be persistent
- Understand that the definition of friendship includes making difficult decisions that may anger your friends
- Take the situation lightly or as a joke
- Be offended if the student tries to avoid you
- Take “I don’t have a problem” as an answer
- Try to handle the student alone without assistance
- Lecture about right and wrong
- Promote feelings of guilt about grades or anything else
- Gossip: speak of it only to those who can help
- Excuse behavior because “everybody does it”
- Continue using alcohol or other drugs with student
As one of Tennessee's larger law enforcement agencies, the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) provides comprehensive and service-oriented law enforcement and security services to all components of Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Health at 100 Oaks, and a variety of University-owned facilities throughout Davidson County. Both non-commissioned Community Service Officers and commissioned police officers staff the department.
VUPD maintains national, international, and state level accreditations through three governing bodies: CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies), IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators), and TLEA (Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation).
Commissioned police officers are empowered to make arrests as "Special Police," through the authority of the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Vanderbilt officers with special police commissions have the same authority as that of a municipal law enforcement officer while on property owned, operated or otherwise controlled by Vanderbilt. Non-commissioned Community Service Officers (CSO) are vital to the security operations of the department and are empowered as unarmed security guards through the Tennessee Private Protective Services Agency.
Additionally, VUPD operates a 24/7 communications center maintaining all emergency and non-emergency calls, including 9-1-1; monitoring of the Video Patrol program, intrusion and panic alarms, and blue light emergency phones. The communications center has direct radio communications with the Nashville police, fire department, and ambulance services.
When a Vanderbilt student is involved in an off-campus incident, Vanderbilt police officers may respond and assist with the investigation in cooperation with local, state, or federal law enforcement. Metro Nashville police routinely work and communicate with Vanderbilt officers on any serious incident occurring on campus or in the neighborhoods and business areas surrounding campus.
Metro Nashville police have primary jurisdiction in all areas off campus, but Vanderbilt police officers are often dispatched to respond to student-related incidents that occur in close proximity to campus. Vanderbilt officers have direct radio communications with the Nashville police, fire department, and ambulance services to facilitate rapid response in any emergency situation.
VUPD offers a wide variety of services to the community described in detail on its website. Services include the following:
- Emergency notifications through the AlertVU system
- Timely security notices
- Educational programming
- Emergency phones (located across the campus)
- Lost & found
- Operation ID [Register Your Possessions under the Students pull-down menu]
- Self-defense (RAD) for women
- VandyRide shuttle bus system
- Victim Services support for crime victims
VandySafe is a campus safety app that allows faculty, staff, and students to communicate with VUPD for non-emergency or emergency assistance while on campus or at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. VandySafe is available for download from the Apple and Google Play stores.
Users of VandySafe can:
- Contact VUPD via phone call or real-time chat
- Submit an iReport with a photo or video directly to VUPD Communications Officers
- Initiate a mobile BlueLight that shares their location instantly with VUPD
- Use Virtual Walkhome to have VUPD monitor their walk across campus
- Share their location with a friend
- Access support resources
- Receive AlertVU push notifications
- View campus emergency guides and more
Vanderbilt operates an on campus, nighttime shuttle service called VandyRide that operates while classes are in session. To access VandyRide routes in real time, download the VandySafe app and go the “Maps & VandyRide” section or visit the website.
Individuals can also utilize safety features In the VandySafe app including contacting VUPD via phone call or real-time chat, triggering a mobile Bluelight that shares your location instantly with police, or initiating a "Virtual Walkhome" where police can monitor your walk to your vehicle or home, view Information on VandyRide, and more.
Transportation and Parking
Bicycles and Other Personal Transportation Devices
Students are encouraged to register their bicycle with the Vanderbilt University Police Department. Batteries for electric bicycles or non-medical personal electric transportation vehicles, such as electric scooters, are prohibited inside University facilities for riding, storage, or charging.
Bicycles or other transportation devices should only be locked at bike racks, never fences, posts, or other structures. U-locks or heavy chain locks are recommended over cable locks. View a map of bike amenities on campus, including bike parking, bike repair stations, and shower facilities.
Helmet usage is highly encouraged. Helmets are available for free on a first-come first-served basis. Additionally, bicycle safety trainings are occasionally held throughout the year. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Tennessee bicycle laws apply both on and off campus for safe travel. Vanderbilt policy concerning the use of bicycles on campus is as follows:
- Cyclists riding on sidewalks must yield to pedestrians, and must provide audible notice before passing pedestrians.
- The bicycle speed limit on campus roads is 10 miles per hour.
- Riders on Vanderbilt pathways must ride single file, and no more than two abreast on roadways
- Cyclists on roadways must ride with traffic as close to right edge of the roadway edge as practicable, except under one or more of the following circumstances:
- when the lane is not wide enough to accommodate both a driver and a rider,
- when overtaking and passing a vehicle going in the same direction,
- when preparing for a left turn,
- when avoiding obstacles or hazards, or
- when there is a designated bicycle lane.
Additional information can be found on the MoveVU website.
Taking the WeGo bus is free, convenient, sustainable, and available to all faculty, staff and students. Learn more at vu.edu/bus.
WeGo Public Transit is Nashville’s provider of local and regional bus and commuter rail service. Vanderbilt’s program provides all full-time and part-time Vanderbilt University undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, faculty, staff and postdocs with free access to WeGo regional and local fixed route buses, WeGo Access door-to-door paratransit service within Davidson County (an option for persons with eligible short-term, long-term, and permanent disabilities), and the WeGo Star commuter rail train. This service is available for any place and time, not only when commuting to and from campus.
WeGo Link is a first/last mile connector option in zoned areas, currently available in a variety of Nashville service areas. Use your Commodore Card for the free bus ride; ridehail is self-pay.
WeGo offers an Emergency Ride Home program for registered commuters.
Ride Hail Services
Ridehail services like Uber and Lyft can be used on campus. There are nine designated ridehail pick-up and drop-off locations around campus. These locations are marked with signage and are available to select in the Uber and Lyft mobile apps. The nine locations are well-lit areas that can be easily monitored by cameras and public safety patrols.