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1. Why do we have policies & sanctions?

Sounds like a funny question, but we get this one often. Although it may seem that your hearing officer is the source of your frustration, please keep in mind that your actions (even if unintentional) resulted in this outcome. Although our system is educational, sanctions are often seen as punitive. We are not trying to punish anyone. Just like there are consequences for your actions off campus, the same thing applies on campus.

2. Does the hearing officer have to assign points for alcohol and drug violations?

Yes. When a student is found responsible for a violation within the Alcohol and Drugs Points System, his or her hearing officer has to assign points. The points system was designed to be transparent and consistent for all students in the outcomes of cases.

3. Can I do community service instead of receiving points?

We do not sanction students to do service work. There are times were a student may be sanctioned to complete work hours. These are sanctions reserved for violations that may impact a certain group (i.e., a student may be sanction to work with the grounds crew or facilities after being found responsible for graffiti).

4. What is the College’s policy on parental notification?

We consider parents an important partner in your learning experience. Although we try to give students some freedom by not contacting parents on the first violation (worth less than 4pts.), we do feel that parents should be aware of any subsequent violations. We give students the opportunity to notify parents first. Often times, it is easier for parents/guardians to hear directly from their student. We recognize that this can be difficult. If you need assistance, please ask your Area Coordinator for tips on how to approach this call.

5. What counts as “participating in drinking games?”

Being present where drinking games are documented can be considered participating. If a violation of the code of conduct is occurring, it is your responsibility to remove yourself from the situation. We will try to work with all parties to determine who was actually playing, but at minimum, the host will typically be found responsible.

6. “I was not drinking – should I take a breathalyzer?”

Yes. It is not the RA, or DPS officer’s responsibility to offer you a breathalyzer. Many times RAs and DPS will offer as a courtesy, but it is the responsibility of each individual to request a breathalyzer. If you do not do this, your hearing officer has no other way of knowing that you were not drinking. Hearing officers use preponderance of information to determine responsibility. Therefore, they are trying to determine were you more likely than not drinking. In order to avoid being found responsible for something that you feel you didn’t do, be sure to request the breathalyzer.

FAQs about point forgiveness:

The goals of point forgiveness are:

* To help students make more informed choices regarding substance use

* To help students become more aware of how choices affect outcomes.

* To give students an opportunity to reduce points through meaningful activities

* To provide support to students who want to make positive behavioral changes

* To reward students who avoid conduct difficulty

How often can I get a 1-point reduction?

You will automatically receive a 1-point reduction for each semester during which you completely avoid any conduct violations.

You may also reduce one point per academic year by voluntarily participating in a point reduction activity with Health and Counseling.

If I have no conduct violations at the end of a semester, do I need to let someone know that I qualify for a 1-point reduction?

No, this happens automatically at the end of December and May. For questions, call 717-337-6907.

What can I do to get a 1-point reduction?

You may seek point forgiveness only after you have completed all assigned sanctions. You may reduce a point by completing one of the activities listed below. You may complete each activity only once (unless descriptions specify that you may repeat) and you may not use an activity that has been assigned to you as a sanction to earn point forgiveness. Be sure to keep track of the activities you complete so you don’t accidentally complete an activity more than once. If you are assigned a program as a sanction that you’ve already completed for point forgiveness, let your Area Coordinator know that. You would then be assigned another activity for your sanction.

When may I do a point reduction activity?

It’s strongly recommended that you complete point reduction activities as early in the academic year as possible. This is especially true for alcohol and drug individual assessments as there are a limited number of assessment slots available per semester, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

All point forgiveness programs end April 1st. Students who seek point reduction after April 1 will be asked to wait until after September 15th. In any case, point forgiveness activities may not be started later than 4 weeks prior to the end of classes spring semester. Students who incur violations toward the end of the school year won’t have the opportunity to earn point forgiveness that year.

How do I sign up?

It is the student’s responsibility to schedule and fulfill the requirements for voluntary point forgiveness. Students are advised to pursue point forgiveness as early in the academic year as possible. It is also the student’s responsibility to ensure that they are credited for the point reduction after completing the activity.

Before signing up, carefully read requirements under “What can I do to get a point reduction?” (above) to be sure you’re choosing the right level. If you have questions, email Harriet Marritz, Counseling Services or call 717-337-6960 to schedule a confidential appointment to discuss your needs.

To complete the AlcoholEdu sanctions program, email Tamra Frederick,,  for current login/password

To sign up for BASICS for point reduction, email Harriet Marritz ( for the schedule and to let her know which session you are choosing.

To sign up for the Harm Reduction Group, email Harriet Marritz ( for the schedule and to let her know which session you are choosing.

To sign up for the Abstinence Support or Counterpoint Groups, confidential on-campus assessment or confidential on-campus counseling, call the Gettysburg College Counseling Services office, 717-337-6960.

To set up a confidential appointment with Pennsylvania Counseling Services off campus, call 717-337-0026. Be sure to have your health insurance information available when you call.

Point Forgiveness Activities

AlcoholEdu Sanctions Program. This online program builds on the AlcoholEdu program you may have completed as part of your First Year Experience. You may only complete once.

*BASICS (Group adaptation of Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students, G. Alan Marlatt et. al., U. of Washington): Students attend a 1-session educational group followed by an individual confidential meeting with a counselor. You must attend both to get credit. Students assess the effects of their drinking, set goals, and get support for effecting positive change in their lives. The BASICS group session is offered three times each semester.

You may complete BASICS only once.

*Harm Reduction Group: This counselor-facilitated education group meets over four consecutive weeks. It helps students increase their ability to make positive choices around drinking. Students must attend all four consecutive weeks to earn the point reduction. You may complete only once

Week 1: What is moderation and is it for me?

Week 2: Setting goals, slowing down, keeping track

Week 3: High-risk situations: What are they for me and what can I do about them?

Week 4: Self-care and stress reduction

* Student “Counterpoint Group”: offered by Gettysburg College Counseling Services as requested. This is for students who have already completed the Harm Reduction Group and who don’t feel the abstinence support group is for them. You must attend four weeks in a row to earn point reduction. Students may participate more than once, if counselor agrees this is appropriate.

*Student Abstinence Support Group: offered by Gettysburg College Counseling Services as requested. This is for students who want to get/stay clean and sober. Students must attend at least 4 consecutive sessions for point forgiveness. Students may attend more than once, if counselor feels agrees this is appropriate.

*On-campus assessment:

Students collaborate with a Gettysburg College Counseling Services counselor in a confidential individual assessment of their alcohol/other drug use, mental and physical health issues. The counselor and student then work to set goals. Available resources (counseling, groups, etc) are made available to the student who wants further support. The length of the assessment process depends in each student’s circumstance, but generally takes three sessions over three weeks.

*Off-campus Assessment:

Students may schedule assessment appointment through Pennsylvania Counseling Services, 717-337-0026, 344 York Street, Gettysburg. There is a fee for this service. PA Counseling participates with many health insurance plans, including our student health insurance provider.

*On- and off-campus individual and group counseling. Students may participate more than once, as needed/requested for point reduction. Students receive point reduction for completing care recommended by either their on- or off-campus counseling assessment.

* May also be used to satisfy point forgiveness for marijuana violations.