Policy on Alcohol & Illegal Drugs

Cooper Union has a strong commitment to a healthy and safe environment for all members of the college community. As a professional school, The Cooper Union has historically attracted students who are serious about academic and artistic achievement and who have understood how substance addictions undermine academic performance.

It is the policy of Cooper Union that the unlawful use, possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances and alcohol on university property or at university sponsored programs and activities are prohibited. Even though possession or consumption may otherwise be lawful, alcohol, except in limited circumstances, is not permitted on Cooper property or at Cooper sponsored programs and activities.

This policy applies to each member of the Cooper Union community inclduding students, faculty, and staff, as well as to contractors, vendors, licensees, invitees and visitors, and is in compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.

The Cooper Union strictly adheres to all local, state, and federal laws relating to the use or illegal manufacture of drugs and alcohol on its premises or at any college-sponsored event. Students who violate Cooper Union’s policies will be subject to disciplinary actions under the Code of Conduct.

The most immediate consequence of substance abuse at The Cooper Union is often a dismal academic performance, leading to academic dismissal. Long-term consequences of substance abuse can include major health problems, lowered employment prospects, and even an early demise.

Loss of a student to substance abuse not only blights the prospects of that individual to have a fulfilling career, but also deprives the community at The Cooper Union of that individual’s unique talents and contributions. To avoid such a loss, the institution is committed to providing assistance to students with substance abuse problems through appropriate education and referral.

New York State Law Regarding Alcohol

New York State has very strict laws about alcohol. Section 65 of the Alcohol Beverage Control Law states:
No person shall sell, deliver or give away or cause or permit or procure to be sold, delivered or given away any alcoholic beverages to:

  1. Any person, actually or apparently, under the age of twenty-one years;
  2. Any visibly intoxicated person;
  3. Any habitual drunkard known to be such to the person authorized to dispense any alcoholic beverages.

New York State imposes liability on any person who serves alcohol illegally to a minor. This means if someone serves a minor alcohol, the person serving the alcohol can be sued for damages by anyone harmed by that minor, including the parents or family of the minor if the minor himself or herself suffers harm.

Policy Addendum - August 19, 2021

This update to our Policy on Alcohol and Illegal Drugs is in response to the change in New York State law which now permits the use of marijuana. Regardless of the New York State law, federal law prohibits all use, possession, and/or cultivation/sale of marijuana at U.S. educational institutions and requires any institution of higher education which receives federal funding to have policies in place which prohibit possession and use of marijuana on campus. Therefore, the use, possession, and/or cultivation/sale of marijuana is not allowed at The Cooper Union. This includes all areas of campus including, but not limited to our student residence hall, academic buildings, administrative office space, or any public spaces within the confines of The Cooper Union. Federal law prohibits any exceptions including those based on their possession of a medical marijuana certification, registry ID card, or any other proof of medical marijuana eligibility.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.