The University of Bath has a legal duty of care to students, staff and visitors and aims to provide a safe, healthy and high-quality study, living and work environment. The University and members of its community must also operate within the prevailing legal and regulatory framework.
The University of Bath does not condone the possession, use or supply of illegal drugs at or on any premises under their control. This is reflected in section 7 of the Disciplinary Regulations for Students. The Fitness to Practise policy also reflects this in relation to specified programmes and recognises the negative impact it can have on employment opportunities, particularly in fields which required professional registration. The University is aware of the intention of the Government to roll out new penalties for recreational drug users. We are also mindful that the purchase or supply of illegal drugs can cause harm to individuals and communities both within and beyond the University, for example through modern slavery or child exploitation in supply chains.
In recent years an increasing number of universities have adopted a harm reduction approach to alcohol and drug misuse. This ensures that students who need it can confidently access the support they require from expert advice agencies. Research also illustrates that drug testing has led to a meaningful reduction in the number of people who go on to consume impure drugs.
For reasons of safety, the University takes a harm reduction approach to supporting the wellbeing of our students, while complying with the law through:
Students can access free and confidential expert advice from a local drugs and alcohol charity, DHI. They aim to provide a flexible and non-judgemental space for people to be open about the drug and alcohol problems they are facing. This service is independent of the University and aims to reassure students that they can have open and honest conversations about their drug or alcohol use.
The University supports the Students’ Union in enhancing this support by contracting DHI to provide free drug testing reagent kits, alongside the personalised advice about risk and harm reduction, for the remainder of the 2021/22 academic year.
The safety and wellbeing of our students will always be prioritised by all members of University staff, even if a disciplinary response is also required.
The University wants to ensure students get the advice and support they need and so encourage them to access the confidential services which they feel most comfortable approaching (e.g. relevant Student Services, SU Advice or external agencies). Referrals to external support agencies may be made where the support required is outside the expertise of University services.
Where a student is seeking personal support from relevant Student Services or SU Advice and declares that they have problematic substance use, this information will be treated confidentially unless there are serious concerns about the risk of significant harm to themselves or others. Students who disclose misuse of alcohol or drugs when reaching out for such support will not be referred for consideration under the University’s Disciplinary Regulations.