You are here: American University Student Affairs Incoming Students Fall 2019

Office of Campus Life

August 16, 2019

Dear Incoming Students,

Welcome to AU and the start of this exciting new time in your life! For many of you, this will be the longest time you have lived away from family and had the opportunity to make so many key decisions around everything from classes and academic planning to daily wellness and personal safety.

As you prepare to move into your residence hall homes, please take time to think about the choices you’ll be presented with, and to become familiar with university policies around alcohol and marijuana use and AU’s position as a smoke-free campus.

Smoking and Vaping

AU is a tobacco and smoke-free campus, so please remember that this applies to all forms of smoking, including electronic cigarettes, vapes, and all types of cigarettes (including tobacco, cloves, bidis, kreteks and hookah-smoked cigarettes.)

Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

AU takes a strong position against underage drinking and illegal drug use. Students charged and found responsible for violations related to alcohol, illegal drugs or illegal use of prescription drugs may face disciplinary sanctions such as disciplinary probation, removal from housing, or suspension. Parents will be notified. Students' actions off campus reflect on the entire AU community, and neighborhood disturbances violate AU's Good Neighbor Policy. They may also violate the AU Student Conduct Code and the law.


Although Washington, DC has legalized recreational use on private property for people over 21, it remains illegal on public and federal property, including educational institutions like AU that receive federal funding. That’s the law across the country, regardless of differences in state laws. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and permitting it on a university campus or in residence halls, even for individuals with medical marijuana cards, would violate those laws.

As students, faculty and staff have acknowledged when logging into the portal, marijuana use (in any form) and possessing, buying, growing, transporting, selling or distributing marijuana on AU property or in connection with AU activities is prohibited. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with the facts about the District of Columbia’s marijuana law, which sets many limits on use and does not allow marijuana use by people under 21.

Off-Campus Activities

During the first few weeks of school, it is common for new students to receive invitations to off-campus parties. These parties can pose significant risks to students. We want students to consider these factors:

  • How will you get home safely from the party?
  • Who else do you know is attending the party? Do you trust these people to step up for you as engaged bystanders if needed? How will you look out for your friends and ensure that all get home safely?
  • If you choose to drink, do you understand the potential consequences for your safety, health and disciplinary record? Remember the strategies you may have learned about during Empower AU at Eagle Summit and/or during the online EverFi AlcoholEdu for College course
  • How will you get help if you need it? We would suggest downloading the UASKDC app and saving AU's Safe Ride to Campus information to your phone.

AU expects its students, wherever you are, to conduct yourselves in a responsible and civil manner. If you have questions about your responsibilities and rights under the Student Conduct Code, you may contact the Office of the Dean of Students (202-885-3300 or or the Student Conduct Office (202-885-3328 or

Best wishes for a safe and successful semester!

Fanta Aw
Vice President of Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence
American University