Cornell operates primarily on a self-policing basis. Many resident assistants have the attitude that they can’t write you up for what they don’t see you doing. There are rules in place for dealing with infractions when they occur, but for the most part, students are smart enough to keep out of trouble. Campus Safety is much more known for writing parking tickets than busting up parties. Underage drinking is probably the second most common rule violation on campus, behind parking tickets, but it is handled by the RAs and then the residence life staff. Drugs or physical violence are usually the only reasons local police are brought in, and those instances are few and far between.
Cornell’s alcohol policy is designed to promote personal responsibility, and it especially works for upperclassmen on substance-friendly floors where it’s legal to consume alcohol. Open containers in common areas are illegal, as is participating in drinking games. Alcohol is occasionally served on campus, but it has to be preapproved by the administration and coordinated with the dining services. Cornell’s Judicial Board hears cases as necessary regarding violations of college policy and can hand down disciplinary action from a set of established sanctions in any combination it sees fit.