Drug Policies and Programs

The University actively encourages students to learn about the physiological, psychological, social, and legal implications of alcohol and drug use and abuse. To facilitate the students’ educational process, the University offers: informal, small group encounters; assistance from trained counselors; workshops; seminars; and the services of various resource personnel who are available to share current research on alcohol and drug dependency. The Alcohol and Drug Education Committee can provide the names of various resource people who are available to talk with groups or individuals seeking information (contact the Office of the VP Student Services/DOS, 646-1722).

To ensure that students receive the best help and information, involved personnel are encouraged to participate in seminars, workshops, and conferences to learn the latest approaches to drug education and the newest information available regarding alcohol/drug use and abuse.

Recognizing that the social environment changes rapidly, the University invites students to offer suggestions pertaining to their needs in the area of drug and alcohol education to the Alcohol and Drug Education Committee.

The University recognizes that many behaviors are restricted by state and federal laws. The basic premise of University discipline is to provide regulations for students in keeping with the laws of the State of New Mexico and the United States of America as well as to maintain an environment maximally conducive to education. While the University does not normally take disciplinary action for off-campus violations, it retains the right to act in special cases.

With reference to drug violations, an individual apprehended for drug abuse off-campus is subject to civil proceedings and is not usually addressed through the University discipline system unless the off-campus actions impact the campus community. As a property owner, the University has the right to prohibit behaviors on that property that may not be restricted in other environments. This is especially relevant for housing regulations. Students, who reside on University property, by doing so, consent to University housing regulations. As long as they reside in University housing, they are subject to University discipline.

A. Amnesty – Any student drug user who, prior to apprehension, voluntarily directs a request for rehabilitation to any University official, including the University Police, will be referred to the proper rehabilitation agency or medical authorities. The case will be kept strictly confidential, and no disciplinary or criminal action will be taken as long as the student upholds the agreement for rehabilitation and refrains from any other possession or use of illegal substances on-campus.

  1. Penalties for Drug Violation
    • First offense for usage, possession, or accessory to a drug violation.
    • If found guilty, or guilt is admitted (not relating to amnesty as defined above) for a violation of a law of the State of New Mexico or University regulation relating to one ounce or less of marijuana, the penalty may be as much as disciplinary probation or suspension.
    • If found guilty, or guilt is admitted (not relating to amnesty as defined above) for violation of a law of the State of New Mexico or University regulation relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana (over one ounce), depressants, or other illegal drugs, the penalty may be as much as disciplinary suspension, dismissal, or expulsion.
    • If guilt is proven or admitted for selling, processing, delivering, compounding or dispensing in any manner marijuana or any other dangerous narcotic, depressant, stimulant or hallucinogenic drugs, the student will be subject to penalties up to and including expulsion on the first offense.
    • A student who admits guilt, or is found guilty of a second drug offense, may be subject to penalties up to and including expulsion.
  • Any student who has been suspended or dismissed for drug violations, and has evidence of successful rehabilitation, may petition for readmission to the University upon recommendation from relevant psychological or psychiatric professionals

2.  Exclusion from Campus – Students suspended, dismissed or expelled from the University for drug violations, or those convicted of drug violations off-campus who persist in returning onto campus, will be subject to such legal procedures as deemed necessary to bar such entry, when probable cause of further violations of University regulations can be shown.

The possession and carrying of firearms, loaded or unloaded, is prohibited on all lands under the control of the Board of Regents, New Mexico State University, except in the following cases: certified New Mexico Peace Officers engaged in the official performance of their assigned duties; approved University experiments and/or projects; transporting of firearms to and from a place of storage; ROTC, under the direction of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; other approved academic use, or as otherwise allowed by 30-7-1 NMSA 1978, et seq.

All requests, exceptions, and interpretations of this policy will be managed by the Chief of Police. The decision of the Chief of Police may be appealed to the Vice President for Human and Physical Resources. The decision of the Vice President for Human and Physical Resources in these matters shall be final.

The staff and faculty of New Mexico State University are concerned about the health and well-being of students. Occasionally, students are confronted by illnesses that interfere with their academic progress. In such situations withdrawal from the University setting may be in the best interest of all concerned. Guidelines for the Administration of Psychiatric Withdrawals under the Mental Health Policy are available from the Vice President for Student Services, Room 111.

The following individuals may be prohibited from entering upon land or buildings owned or used by the Regents of New Mexico State University, its colleges, departments, branches, experiment stations, ranches, and all property owned or occupied by agencies supervised by the Regents:

  1. Persons charged with criminal acts against the Regents or NMSU students or employees during the pendency of such criminal charges.
  2. Persons found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction of criminal acts against the Regents or NMSU students or employees.
  3. Any individual whose presence on-campus constitutes a clear and present danger to the persons, property, or peace of the Regents, or NMSU students, employees or agents (contractors).
  4. Any individual whose presence on-campus, given all attendant circumstances, could reasonably cause injury against the persons or property of the Regents or NMSU students or employees.
  5. Any individual ordered withdrawn under the Medical/Psychiatric Withdrawal Policy of the University.

In order to be prohibited from use of University lands and buildings, individuals must be notified in writing of the prohibition by the VP Student Services/DOS or a designee. Notice may be made personally or by certified mail. Individuals so notified shall be immediately barred subject to the right to request a hearing within three (3) days of the service of notification or within six (6) days of the date of mailing the certified letter. Extension of time will be given to the next business day for any day that occurs on a weekend or a holiday as established by New Mexico State University.

Appeals shall be made by giving a written notice to the office of the Campus President of intent to appeal. Hearing on the appeal shall be within seven days from the receipt of the notice of appeal. Neither the individual prohibited nor the University shall be represented at the hearing by legal counsel. The hearing need not conform to the strict rules of legal evidence. In the event that the Campus President or his/her designee reverses the prohibition, the individual shall be immediately entitled to enter upon University land or property. In the event that the Campus President or his/her designee affirms the decision, the individual’s prohibition shall continue. The decision of the Campus President or his/her designee is final.

Under most circumstances, prohibitions under this policy will be for one year or less. When the prohibition is indefinite, the affected individual may petition for the removal of the prohibition after one calendar year by submitting a written request to the Vice President for Student Services. With respect to individuals convicted of criminal acts against the University, its students, or employees, the one year shall commence to run at the time the individual is released from incarceration resulting from the conviction.

Any violation of such prohibition may result in legal action by the Regents against the individual, including such criminal charges as may be appropriate under the circumstances, including criminal trespass.

New Mexico State University promotes a safe environment where students may reside on campus, participate in University sponsored activities, and other organizations without compromising their health, safety, or wellness. It is therefore the University’s policy that any form of hazing is prohibited.

  1. “Hazing” is an act committed by an individual or group of individual(s) on or off campus where the following apply:
    1. The act was committed in connection with student status or in connection with an initiation into, an affiliation with, or the maintenance of membership in, any organization. For the purpose of this policy, “Organization” means an intercollegiate or intramural athletic team; chartered student organization; or other association, order, society, corps, cooperative, club, or similar group that is officially affiliated with the University and whose membership consists primarily of students enrolled at the University; and
    2. The act creates unreasonable risk of emotional or physical harm, or causes actual physical harm, mental duress or degradation, or interferes with a student’s academic endeavors or progress.
  2. It is a violation of this policy even if the hazing victim consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity.
  3. Examples of hazing may include, and are not limited to:
    1. Forced consumption of food, liquor, drug or other substances;
    2. Physical abuse, such as whipping, beating, branding, pushing, shoving, or tackling, use of physical restraints, etc.;
    3. Forced physical activity;
    4. Sleep deprivation;
    5. Theft of property under any circumstance;
    6. Conducting activities that interfere with a member’s (prospective or actual) academic responsibilities;
    7. Yelling, screaming, or calling members (prospective or actual) demeaning names, or restricting normal routine social interaction;
    8. Engaging in behavior that is generally humiliating and or degrading to others;
    9. Forcing, requiring or endorsing new members to violate University policies, organization/association bylaws, team rules and/or any local, state, or federal law.
  4. This policy is not intended to prohibit the following conduct:
    1. Customary public athletic events, contests or competitions as sponsored by the University;
    2. Activity or conduct that furthers the goals of an official educational curriculum, a legitimate extracurricular program (i.e. intercollegiate athletic teams) or a legitimate military training program, or legitimate University function.
  5. Prevention of hazing is the responsibility of every member of the University Community. Each organization, association, and athletic team, as well as each individual has the obligation to report incidents that are believed to be associated with hazing to the Office of Student Judicial Services.
  6. All alleged violations of this policy prohibiting hazing will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. All substantiated violations are subject to various administrative, civil and/or criminal sanctions through one or more of the following: the Office of Student Judicial Services, the Administrative Review Process through the Department of Campus Activities, the Athletic Social Misconduct Review Board, Housing and Residential Life, or other appropriate university procedure; as well as through the appropriate local, state, federal law enforcement agencies, if the misconduct also constitutes a crime.

New Mexico State University serves the people of New Mexico through education, research, extension education, and public service and welcomes all within our community. However, in order to establish an appropriate environment and preserve University property for educational purposes, the University reserves the right to restrict access to some of its lands and facilities.

Academic spaces are generally used for educational purposes only, and buildings which serve as residences for students are restricted to students, their guests, and appropriate University employees. While some other University facilities and grounds are available to the general public, they must be used according to University rules and regulations. No individual(s), except for those contracted to reside on-campus, shall temporarily or permanently remain overnight on the property of the Regents, or dwell on the property of the Regents, including but not limited to, in motor vehicles, or in temporary or permanent structures, without the specific prior approval of the VP Student Services/DOS or a designee.

Members of the campus community, as well as visitors, are expected to behave in ways that do not interfere with the rights of others to pursue an education or disrupt community living on-campus. Behaviors of any individuals that interfere with, disrupt, impair or obstruct the processes, procedures, or functions of the University, are prohibited.

Failure to comply with this policy could subject the individual to warning, probation, removal from the campus, arrest, barring from the campus, or any other sanctions applicable under the Student Code of Conduct, University Personnel Policies, or state or federal laws. Actions taken under this policy will be initiated by the appropriate Dean or Vice President or a designee. Contested administrative actions may be appealed in writing to the Office of the President within three (3) working days after receipt of the decision made by the appropriate Dean or Vice President. The decision of the President or his/her designee will be final.

New Mexico State University will not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind as defined herein:

Forced Sexual Contact

Any harmful, insulting or non-consensual verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature with another person (including touching, fondling, exposure, disrobing, etc.) that is accomplished toward another without his/her consent including any such act accomplished by means of actual or implied force, threat, coercion, or helplessness. Forcing or intimidating a person to touch another’s intimate parts shall also constitute sexual contact. 

Forced Sexual Penetration

Intercourse (vaginal penetration); sodomy (anal penetration); oral copulation (oral-genital contact); or penetration with any object (including a finger), by the use of force, threats, coercion, or by taking advantage of a victim’s helplessness.

A student charged with sexual misconduct, including acquaintance or date rape, can be prosecuted under New Mexico criminal statutes and disciplined under the Student Code of Conduct. Even if the law enforcement authorities choose not to prosecute, the University can pursue disciplinary action.

A violation occurs when there is participation in any kind of sexual misconduct by a student individually or in concert with others. Since the University hopes to educate students in order to prevent violations, students should understand that:

A. Forced sexual penetration or other unwanted forced sexual contact is defined as sexual misconduct whether the assailant is a stranger or an acquaintance of the victim.

1.  Alcohol and/or drug use, intoxication, or any impairment of the accused, does not absolve responsibility for sexual misconduct.

2.  In situations where the victim is incapable of giving consent, or is unable to resist sexual advances due to alcohol/drug use or other impairments, the accused will be held responsible for sexual misconduct.

3.  Force or coercion is defined as:

  1. the use of physical force or physical violence; or
  2. the use of threats, including but not limited to physical threats, abduction, extortion or retaliation directed against the victim or another when the victim believes that there is an ability to execute such threats; or
  3. the use of verbal comments or non-verbal behaviors/gestures to intimidate the victim or another when the victim believes that there is a present ability to execute such threats.

4.  Threat is defined as an expression of intention to hurt, destroy, or punish the victim or another.

Where there is cause to believe that the University regulations prohibiting sexual misconduct have been violated, the University will initiate disciplinary action. Accusations of sexual misconduct will be investigated by the Manager of Student Judicial Affairs according to the Code of Conduct. If clear and convincing evidence is available to indicate that a student is guilty of sexual misconduct, or if guilt is admitted, the penalty for such misconduct may be as much as disciplinary suspension, dismissal or expulsion.

Procedure for Initiating Grievance Complaints

This procedure has been established to provide a method to resolve undergraduate student grievances at the lowest administrative level in a fair and expeditious manner. For the purpose of this procedure, grievances are limited to alleged violations of university policy or procedures by the university or its employees, disputes with faculty and/or alleged unfair treatment. Usually this method is used to appeal a grade the student feels was not justified. Under no condition should these policies be used when the student has allegedly violated the University Code of Conduct or a contractual agreement, and at no hearing should either party have a lawyer.

Any student who believes that he/she has been unjustly treated within the academic process may proceed as far as necessary in the steps detailed below. Should the alleged grievance not involve a faculty member or course, the student is to appeal directly to the department head or Vice President for Academic Affairs.

  1. Appeal to the faculty member: The student is to submit a written appeal to the faculty member within 30 days after the start of the semester following the semester in which the alleged grievance occurred. Semester in this case refers to fall and spring only. If the alleged grievance occurs during a summer session, the student is to submit an appeal no later than 30 days into the fall semester following the summer session in which the alleged grievance occurred. The faculty member and the student are to discuss the problem. The faculty member will submit a written report outlining his or her decision to the student and department head within ten working days of receipt of the student’s written appeal.
  1. Appeal to the department head: If a decision satisfactory to the student cannot be reached, the student may submit a written appeal to the department head in which the course in question was taught. This is to be done within ten days of the receipt of the faculty member’s written decision. The faculty member, the department head, and the student are to meet to discuss the problem. The department head will send a written response outlining his or her decision to the student and faculty member within ten days of this meeting.
  1. Appeals to the Vice President for Academic Affairs: If a satisfactory decision cannot be reached among the department head, the faculty member, and the student, the student or the faculty member may submit a written statement of appeal to the VPAA. This is to be done within ten (10) working days after the receipt of the written decision by the department head. The VPAA may request a written recommendation from an Academic Appeals Board. Should this be the case, the Academic Appeals Board will conduct a hearing with the student and faculty member (not necessarily at the same time) to review the merits of the appeal. They may also ask for supporting evidence for or against the appeal. The Academic Appeals Board will submit the written recommendation to the VPAA within five (5) working days following the conclusion of their review process. The VPAA may meet with the student, faculty member, and department head to discuss the appeal (not necessarily at the same time). The VPAA will submit a written response outlining his or her decision to the student, faculty member, department head, and Campus President within ten (10) days of the last meeting.
  1. Appeals to the Campus President: The Campus President may, at his or her discretion, review the appeal upon the written request of the student or faculty member and render a final decision. An appeal to the Campus President is the last step in the appeals process and the Campus President’s decision cannot be appealed further. Should the Campus President not choose to review the appeal, the decision of the VPAA is final.
  1. Exceptions to the time involved: The VPAA may waive the normal time frame for appeals for compelling reasons. Regardless of circumstances, academic appeals must be initiated with the course instructor within two years of the conclusion of the semester or summer session in which the course was taken.
  1. Enrollment: A student need not be enrolled at the university to initiate an appeal.

Academic Appeals Board: The Academic Appeals Board is a sub-committee of the campus Academic Affairs & Assessment Committee. The Chair of the Academic Affairs & Assessment Committee will serve as Chair of the Academic Appeals Board; however, a non-voting moderator for each hearing shall be appointed by the Campus President on a case-by-case basis. Members of the Board shall be appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs for a one-year term; membership shall be comprised of three members of the full-time faculty–one of which shall serve as Chair, and two enrolled students.

Maintenance of records: Instructors and/or departments shall keep records used to compute individual grades for two years after the completion of a course. If a grade has been appealed, these records shall be kept for at least two years after completion of the appeal. Departments, colleges, or library may require that records be kept for longer periods.

Procedures for Students Enrolled in Upper-Division or Graduate Courses Through Distance Education: Any student who is enrolled in upper-division or graduate courses and who believes that she/he has been treated unjustly within the academic process may proceed with the processes of grievance and appeal as outlined in the Handbook for Students made available through NMSU Las Cruces. Graduate students will be instructed to discuss and file grievances concurrently with the Dean of the Graduate School.

Any student who believes that he/she has been treated unjustly in a non-academic area, not involving a contractual agreement, can file a grievance as long as the Code of Conduct has not been violated. The purpose of this policy is to allow the parties to resolve grievances at the lowest administrative level in a fair and expeditious manner without the involvement of lawyers. A grievance must be filed no later than thirty (30) days following the time the alleged problem occurred. Failure of University personnel to respond within ten (10) days, at any level in the procedure, will allow the student to proceed to the next step. The channel of appeal for non-academic grievances shall be:

  1. The aggrieved student must first confer with the staff member involved in an attempt to resolve the problem.
  2. Unresolved grievances shall be filed in writing by the student with the appropriate director. The director will conduct an inquiry and attempt to resolve the matter impartially and as quickly as possible. This step must be concluded within ten (10) days of the date the grievance was received.
  3. If the grievance is not resolved at Step 2, the student may forward a copy of the grievance and all relevant correspondence to the next higher level administrator – the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Student Services or the Campus Finance Officer – who will conduct an investigation and attempt to resolve the issue. This process shall be concluded within ten (10) days of the date the grievance was received.
  4. If the issue is not resolved in Step 3, the student may appeal to the Campus President. If warranted, the president will appoint a hearing panel consisting of a student, a faculty member, and a staff person from departments or colleges not involved in the grievance. If a hearing panel is appointed, the parties involved in the grievance will be allowed to submit written documentation concerning the problem, may be present at all hearing sessions, and will be given the opportunity to provide additional oral information on their behalf.

Upon completion of the hearing(s), the panel will forward a written recommendation to the campus president. This document should include findings of fact and the basis for the recommendation. The decision of the campus president is final.

To ensure the safety and well-being of our students, New Mexico State University may, on occasion, require that students receive a particular type of care or treatment (i.e., emergency medical attention, live-in attendants, or vaccinations), as a condition of continued enrollment or eligibility to reside in University-operated housing. When this care or treatment is required by the cognizant University administrator, the student will be obligated to assume any financial responsibility associated with the treatment.

Furthermore, the University may, on occasion, contact a student’s parents, legal guardian, or spouse in cases of extreme emergency, or where a possibility of imminent harm exists. This will occur only when, in the judgment of the appropriate official, the best interests of the student and the University will be served.

When practical, the University will notify the student, in writing, of the University’s intention to undertake the steps authorized by this policy. This decision may be appealed by the student to the VP Student Services/DOS (NMSU main campus in Las Cruces) within 24 hours of notification. The appeal should be in writing and clearly state the reasons why the student objects to the proposed action. The Vice President will review the facts in the case and convey a decision to all parties within 48 hours. The Vice President’s decision shall be final.