Health & Safety Policies

Alcohol and Drug Policy

Alcohol Policy

In Massachusetts, the legal drinking age is 21. Underage drinking, or providing alcohol to a minor, is illegal. The Conservatory requires its students to follow all state laws and regulations on alcohol, including those governing sale, purchase, or serving of alcoholic beverages. Those who violate state law or school policy will face disciplinary action, including the possibility of suspension or expulsion. In addition, we expect students of legal age to recognize the responsibilities of choosing to drink; disruptive, noisy, or belligerent behavior violates the school’s expectations. NEC reserves the right to confiscate alcoholic beverages and containers whenever NEC’s alcohol policy is violated. Students who live in the Residence Hall are also held to the Alcohol and Alcohol Paraphernalia Residence Hall policy.

Drug Policy

Under the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse law, the Conservatory is required to provide a drug-free environment; NEC does not condone possession, use, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs. Students who participate in such activities face disciplinary action. The Conservatory also prohibits drug paraphernalia (including bongs, clips, pipes and other items) from its premises. These items are subject to confiscation; students using them are liable to disciplinary action, including the possibility of suspension or expulsion. Therefore, the use, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes is not permitted on Conservatory property.

Students should also recognize that, in addition to Conservatory sanctions, students face potential loss of financial aid for any violation of the 1988 Act. The Department of Education has announced that all Title IV student aid (including Pell Grant) recipients are required to certify that their benefits have not been suspended or terminated due to a drug conviction. Institutions finding out that students are convicted of drug offenses during periods of enrollment covered by Pell Grants must report the miscertification and withhold further Title IV payments.

In addition, under Federal Law, notice may be provided to the parents of students under age 21 who violate the Conservatory’s Drug and Alcohol Policies


Anti-Bullying Policy

The state of Massachusetts defines bullying as “the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property; (ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; (iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.” New England Conservatory will not tolerate bullying in any form. Students who believe they have been or are being bullied should report the incident to the Dean of Students.



The New England Conservatory CARE (Concern, Assessment, Response, Evaluation) Team provides coordinated support for students in distress and addresses concerns about student behavior, academic progress, and personal issues, including mental health concerns. The CARE Team gathers information from personal contact with students, faculty, staff and family members, as well as from reports submitted by members of the community.

The CARE Team is committed to the following:

  • Identifying students of concern who are in need of extra support
  • Assessing the most appropriate way to intervene and support a student
  • Addressing student behaviors that impact our community
  • Intervening so a student may achieve academic and personal success
  • Balancing the needs of an individual student with the needs of the community

The Academic Catalog defines active students as a person who is enrolled in, registered for, and attending scheduled New England Conservatory activities. All active students are subject to the Disciplinary Code. The Disciplinary Code prohibits any behavior that infringes upon the safety, property, rights, or privileges of others, or which impedes the educational process.  Potential violations of Disciplinary Code will be addressed through the disciplinary code process in addition to any response by the CARE Team. In the event a student’s status changes from active to inactive, the team will still engage in the process outlined below; however, the objective and outcome might be different than if a student remains on campus.

The CARE team is chaired by the Dean of Students and includes members from Residence Life, Academic and International Advising, Health Services, Counseling Services, and Public Safety. CARE team members attend CARE team meets and have full access to the team’s electronic records. If members are unable to attend a meeting, they have designee backups who attend. The departments they represent are crucial to the CARE Team’s function. Many core members keep records in their own departments and can share this information with the team through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act’s emergency exception clause or when a school official has legitimate educational interest. The Health and Counseling Center also operates under state confidentiality laws for their records. Whenever possible, the CARE team will attempt to obtain a release from the student for relevant medical, psychological, and/or health records.




Students are expected to abide by these COVID-19 expectations in order to provide a safe campus for students, faculty, and staff. Our community’s health and safety depend on compliance with these standards.
As our understanding of the virus increases, it is likely that guidance from public health authorities and directives from the government will change. Please note the following expectations:

  • If a new guidance/policy is more restrictive than what is listed here, all students are expected to immediately comply with the new measures.
  • If the new guidance/policy is less restrictive than what is listed here, all students are expected to continue abiding by these measures until NEC notifies them they have changed.
  • Conservatories present unique considerations, and NEC may deem it necessary to continue restrictions longer than mandated by authorities. Changes to these expectations will be shared via email and updated on the NEC website.


All members of the NEC community must wear face masks:

  • While inside all NEC buildings, including but not limited to, Jordan Hall, 33 Gainsborough, the Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC), and 241 St. Botolph.
  • Outdoors while within 6 feet of a community member. 
  • While inside lounges, practice rooms, hallways, performance halls, offices, classrooms, and community spaces.

Off-campus guests (including other NEC students) are not allowed on campus without permission from the Dean of Students.

NEC students enrolled totally online will not be permitted to access facilities or visit friends on campus. 

While on campus, students must maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.

Participation in symptom monitoring, testing when requested, and any other requests made by the Health and Counseling Center or their designee(s), including placement in isolation and/or quarantine, is mandatory. Support for students will be provided throughout the quarantine/isolation process, and academic coursework will continue remotely.

Any student showing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) must refrain from interacting with others in-person for any reason, and contact the Health and Counseling Center (617-585-1284).

Full compliance with requests for information from contact tracers is required.

Disclosures to contact tracers about violations of the drug or alcohol policies, or failure to adhere to COVID-related expectations, will not be shared with the Office of Student Services.

Students from states identified by Massachusetts as high-risk are expected to follow all state travel directives including quarantine measures and testing guidance (see

Community members are expected to follow all posted directions and guidance in buildings.

Students attending classes in-person are expected to limit travel outside of Massachusetts during the Fall 2020 semester. 

These rules apply on- and off-campus. Students are expected to behave with care for the community by not hosting or attending large events or failing to follow physical distancing guidelines.
All members of the community must comply with local, state, and federal guidelines and published procedures.

Any violations of these rules may result in loss of on-campus privileges, removal from campus, and/or suspension. Because violations create a significant health and safety risk for our community, an expedited process will be in place, and an immediate, interim suspension may be imposed while conduct is adjudicated.


Dangerous Weapons and Fireworks

NEC is committed to providing a safe and secure environment in which to study, research, live, work, and visit. Prohibitions on the possession and use of firearms and other dangerous weapons are essential to that goal, and required by law. This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, and visitors, and to all activities undertaken on NEC’s campus, or in areas that are leased or occupied for NEC activities.

For purposes of this policy, firearm means any pistol, revolver, rifle, smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet, or pellet can be discharged by whatever means, including BB guns, air guns, paintball guns, or other projectile devices.

Dangerous weapon means those items which are, by their nature, capable of causing serious injury or death, including but not limited to firearms, knives larger than 2.5 inches/6.0 centimeters (with the exception of knives that are intended to be used for the purpose of cooking or reed making), stilettos, daggers, switch knives, double edge knives, ballistic knives, knives with a detachable blade capable of being propelled, metallic knuckles, black jacks, blow guns, sling shots, nunchaku, zoobow, kung fu sticks, throwing stars, leather armbands or other clothing that has metallic spikes, points, or studs, clubs, chains, explosives, explosive agents of any kind, fireworks, firecrackers, cherry bombs, smoke bombs, chemical sprays, mace, oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray), tear gas, or other dangerous weapons or articles. Any item, including innocent items, when used in a dangerous fashion such as an assault and battery, may be considered a dangerous weapon.

NEC prohibits the use, possession or sale of firearms, whether loaded or unloaded, on campus, including residence hall rooms, by anyone other than police or other law enforcement personnel, even if the person has a legal license or permit to carry the firearm.

NEC also strictly prohibits the use or possession of all other dangerous weapons, including replicas.

Weapons will be confiscated by the Public Safety and violators may be subject to removal from campus, termination from employment, referral for student disciplinary action, including suspension or separation, and/or criminal prosecution.

A student who possesses any articles for sporting purposes (for example, bow and arrows) should check with Public Safety or Residential Life to determine whether such articles are among those prohibited by statute or NEC policy.

Violations of this policy may also constitute violation of state law. For example, Massachusetts law prohibits anyone from carrying a firearm in any building or any grounds of a college or university campus. Violations of weapons laws are reported under federal and state law.


Destruction or Theft of Property

Students share in responsibility for the upkeep of buildings and equipment. Any student who damages or defaces school property or the property of others will be liable for damages and subject to disciplinary action. In the Residence Hall, common area damages are the responsibility of all residents of the floor on which the damage occurs, unless the responsible party can be identified. Residence Hall common area damages are billed for students on the floor in question.


Fire Protection

In the event of a fire alarm or any other order that the premises be vacated, all persons, including students, faculty, and administration, must exit the premises immediately. This policy is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all people in the event of an actual emergency. It is the Conservatory’s policy to treat all alarms as if there is an actual emergency. Any student who fails to vacate the premises immediately shall be subject to disciplinary action.

NEC supports the promotion of fire safety awareness and protection. As such:

  • Fire drills will be held periodically (in accordance with state regulations).  Students failing to participate in a fire drill will face disciplinary action.
  • Any student found tampering with fire extinguishers, emergency signs, fire protection equipment, or fire exits is a violation of both state and Conservatory regulations. Students who inflict malicious damage on equipment (including pull-boxes, hoses, smoke alarms, heat sensors, signs, or fire extinguishers) or block fire doors will be liable to fines, disciplinary action and the possibility of a criminal arrest.

Fire equipment should be used only during fire emergencies.


Hazing Policy

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed anti-hazing legislature in December 1987, making it a crime punishable by state law:

Section 17: Hazing; organizing or participating; hazing defined

Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment. The term ‘hazing’ as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.

Section 18: Failure to report hazing

Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or other, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

Section 19: Issuance to students and student groups, teams and organizations; report

Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post-secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team, student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided, however, that an institution’s compliance with this section’s requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution’s recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations.

Each such group, team or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team or organization, acting through its designated officer to deliver annually, to the institution an attested acknowledgement stating that such group, team or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understand and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.

Each institution of secondary and each public or private institution of post-secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.

Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post-secondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the board of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams or organizations and to notify each full time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution’s policies to its students. The board of higher education and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution, which fails to make such report.”

New England Conservatory will not tolerate hazing of any kind; its discipline committee will review any such activity – or any failure to report such activity – according to procedures outlined under the disciplinary code above.


Health and Counseling Center Policies

NEC’s Health and Counseling Center, provides timely, comprehensive, and student-centered care to full and part-time graduate and undergraduate students. We are here to help you optimize your physical and emotional health while you are studying at NEC.  We encourage you to take advantage of the health services that we offer and to visit when you are ill, injured, stressed or experiencing a mental health issue. 

All full-time students are required to enroll in the Health and Counseling Center and pay the Health Center fee.  Medical Services are billed to the student’s health insurance plan, without additional “out of pocket” fees at the time of the visit. Counseling services are offered to students at no charge.

Counseling Center

The Counseling Center is staffed by mental health professionals skilled at addressing a wide range of concerns, including anxiety, depression, relationship dynamics, self-esteem issues and substance abuse. Scheduled and walk-in appointments are available throughout the academic year.  Our staff psychiatrist is available for psychopharmacologic care and consultation.  Call 617-585-1284 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Health Center

The Health Center staff is comprised of a board certified physician/medical director, and board certified advanced practice nurse practitioners, who provide a broad range of confidential primary and urgent care services on-site, including:

  • Well care (routine physical examination, screening tests, immunizations)
  • Evaluation and treatment of acute injuries and illnesses
  • Evaluation and treatment of chronic illness
  • Performance injury screening

Student advocacy, including expedited referral and coordination of care with specialists and health care institutions

The Health & Counseling Staff are collectively familiar with the special needs of students and musicians and have complementary areas of expertise in internal medicine, college health, mind/body medicine and the stress response, musculoskeletal overuse injuries, vocal problems and performing arts medicine. Please call 617-585-1284 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

All services provided at the Health & Counseling Center are strictly confidential.

Emergency and After Hours Care

After hours (evenings and weekends) care for non-life threatening health problems is available at a number of different urgent care centers in the area, which are posted on the health center website.

Emergency care is available at several major academic teaching hospitals within a 1-3 mile radius of NEC including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital.


Health Report

Prior to registration, all incoming U.S. and international resident students must:

Complete and submit a Student Health Report that includes documentation of previous immunization history and/or proof of immunity against certain infectious diseases, as required by Massachusetts state law (to be reviewed and signed by a healthcare provider)

  • Comply with college and state-mandated vaccinations 
  • Provide proof of health insurance

In addition to completing the paper version of the Student Health Report, students will be required to:

  • Register as a user on the NEC Student Health Portal with their NEC issued Student ID number
  • Upload the completed paper version of the form signed by a health care provider to the Student Health Portal 

A $150 fee will be charged for late or incomplete Student Health Report submissions.  Please contact the Health Center at 617-585-1284 for more information.

Students under the age of 18, upon arrival to NEC, must have a parent or legal guardian complete and sign the Consent for Treatment Section found on the first page of the Student Health Report.


Health Insurance

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all students to have insurance that covers hospitalization and specialists’ care. All full time students will automatically be enrolled in NEC’s Student Health Insurance Plan annually. NEC’s plan, administered by Gallagher Insurance Agency, provides benefits for a 12-month period that meets or exceeds all requirements. Any student who demonstrates comparable insurance coverage may waive NEC’s plan. For information about NEC’s student health insurance plan, the on-line waiver process, and questions about insurance requirements, goes to  NEC mails a full description of coverage to all students and will enroll all students who have not waived the school plan by August 9, 2019. For further information, students may contact the Business Office at 617-585-1221. Students who have paid the insurance premium and who take a leave of absence from NEC will be covered through the remainder of the coverage period (see Leave of Absence Policy).


Medical Amnesty

The NEC community values the health and safety of its members and supports an environment that encourages students to seek help when there is the need for assistance. This policy has been established to encourage students in high risk situations involving the consumption of alcohol and/or other drugs to promptly seek medical assistance without fear of disciplinary action from the Conservatory.

Students for whom medical or staff assistance is necessary due to being dangerously intoxicated and/or under the influence of drugs will be granted amnesty from NEC’s disciplinary process in accordance with the terms of this policy. Therefore, the Conservatory will not take disciplinary action for possession or consumption of alcohol and/or other drugs against:

  • A student who initiates a request for medical assistance for oneself;
  • A student who initiates a request for medical assistance for another student; and

a student for whom medical assistance is sought.

In case of a medical emergency, students should call 9-1-1 immediately. Public Safety should also be called, at 617-585-1777.

Consistent with putting our student’s health and safety first, NEC will approach repeated incidents as a serious health risk. While amnesty from the disciplinary process may be applied, a meeting with a Dean in the Office of Student Services may result. For students who are involved in extreme alcohol and/or drug-related emergencies for which amnesty may be granted, the Conservatory may recommend educational intervention, assessment, and/or parent/guardian notification when appropriate. NEC’s response to these incidents is independent of any action taken by local law enforcement.

Medical amnesty applies only to alcohol or other drug-related medical emergencies. Medical amnesty does not apply to other conduct violations such as, but not limited to: assault, sexual assault, harassment, hazing, vandalism, operating under the influence, property damage, or distribution of illicit substances. Additionally, in an effort to identify patterns of problematic behavior involving the use of alcohol and/or other drugs, the Conservatory will document the incident in a record that remains separate from the student’s permanent disciplinary file.


Medical Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana

Massachusetts legislation under Massachusetts Act (Chapter 369) “An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana” allows for the controlled use of medical marijuana in the Commonwealth. Thus, Massachusetts citizens may legally obtain a medical marijuana “registration card” from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. However, Conservatory students, staff and faculty who possess a medical marijuana “registration card” are not permitted to possess and or use any form of marijuana on NEC property or at NEC-sponsored events.

In addition, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through 935 CMR 500.00 has legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes to individuals at least 21 years old. Although Massachusetts law permits the use of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana/cannabis, Federal laws outlined by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) has classified marijuana as a schedule 1 drug which prohibits the use, possession and/or cultivation of marijuana. Therefore the use, possession, cultivation, or sale of marijuana in any form violates federal law. NEC must comply with the Drug-Free Communities and Schools Act (DFSCA) (20 U.S.C.1011i; 34 C.F.R part 86) as well as the Drug Free Workplace Act which requires a drug free campus environment. Institutions of higher education, such as NEC, must comply with the Drug-Free Communities and Schools Act regulations or risk losing federal funding such as financial aid. Any student, staff, or faculty member who violates NEC policy prohibiting the use and/or possession of illicit drugs (including medical marijuana) on campus may be subject to disciplinary action.


No Contact Orders

When a verbal or physical altercation, sexual misconduct, stalking, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, bullying, or hazing has been alleged, or when otherwise deemed appropriate under the circumstances, the Dean of Student or designee has the authority to issue no contact orders to the persons involved. A no contact order is used to restrict encounters between individuals. Refusal to adhere to the order after written or verbal notification of its terms is prohibited and violations of the no contact order may result in disciplinary action.

No contact orders typically prohibit the parties subject to the order from having direct or indirect contact, including but not limited to email, mail, text messages, social media, or telephone. A no contact order may also result in mandated changes to a student’s academic schedule, on-campus employment, room assignment, or participation in campus events or activities. No contact orders will typically be kept in place for a defined period of time, but may be modified and/or extended as the administrator issuing the order deems necessary.


Notice of Trespass Order

The New England Conservatory, as the lawful owner of the buildings and premises of the New Conservatory campus, has the right and obligation to control or limit access to the campus by any individual. When Public Safety deems a student to be an immediate health or safety threat to the community outside of regular business hours and further investigation is needed to assess the situation, Public Safety may issue a notice of trespass order which bans the student from campus and NEC events (on-campus or off) until contacted by the Dean of Students or the Director of Public Safety in order to make an assessment of the situation and a determination about next steps. A notice of trespass order or other order excluding an individual from a part or all of the campus may be withdrawn or modified only by the authorized NEC administrative office from which it was issued.


Smoking Policy

Smoking is prohibited on the Conservatory campus. The Massachusetts clean indoor air act of 1988 requires that smoking be prohibited at private colleges within the commonwealth except in designated areas. Committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all members of its community, New England Conservatory fully complies with the act. NEC prohibits smoking in all indoor spaces, including entrance foyers and within 25 feet of all buildings. This provision also applies to e-cigarettes.


Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or Clery Act is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. §1092(f), with implementing regulations in the US Code of Federal Regulations. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, which can impose civil penalties, up to $35,000 per violation, against institutions for each infraction and can suspend institutions from participating in federal student financial aid programs.

The “Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act" (P.L. 101-542), broader in scope than the Clery Act, requires schools eligible for Title IV funding to calculate completion or graduation rates and to disclose these rates to all students and prospective students. The act also requires each school that participates in any Title IV program to submit a report to the Secretary of Education annually. 

In compliance with the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, information regarding graduation rates may be obtained in the Registrar’s Office, St Botolph Room 241, information regarding safety and security may be obtained from the Public Safety Department, Student Leadership and Performance Center. It is NEC’s policy to disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence the results of any disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of such crime. Further information is available in the Office of Student Services, St Botoloph Room 241.