Legal Considerations

Every country has norms for what is acceptable and unacceptable, and similarly for what is legal and illegal in that particular country. These policies, ordinances and laws apply equally to both U.S. citizens and non-citizens, and the University is committed to providing a safe, respectful and supportive environment for all those attending, living, visiting and working here.

Currently enrolled students with legal concerns can contact the U-M Student Legal Services office with questions.

Violence, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Assault

Behaviors that harm or threaten others in your own family or within the community will not be accepted or tolerated. Below are some, but not all, of the behaviors that would violate Michigan laws and/or University policies. All have serious penalties.

  • Pushing, shoving, hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, emotionally or sexually abusing your spouse, partner, child or family member. This is known as domestic or dating violence.This includes using a weapon or object (i.e. knife, gun, or chair) or threat of violence to control and harm a person against her or his will.
  • Repeatedly following someone to class, home, work, or around campus without her or his permission. This is known as stalking.
  • Causing a person to feel frightened or intimidated by repeatedly contacting the individual without permission through the telephone, mail and/or e-mail. This is also known as stalking.
  • Repeated unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, such as touching, pinching, tickling, grabbing or brushing up against a person; asking someone for sexual favors; talking about a person in a sexual manner; displaying sexually explicit pictures, drawings or writings, which create an intimidating work or educational environment. These are all considered sexual harassment.
  • Forcing a person to engage in any form of sexual contact or to perform sexual acts against his or her will. This is known as sexual assault or rape.

Noise Ordinance

If any music or noise can be heard beyond your property line or the physical space of your property between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., you are violating the City of Ann Arbor noise regulations. The maximum penalty for each offense is $500. All loud parties are subject to these penalties.

Clean Community Ordinance

All public and private properties in Ann Arbor are to be kept clean and free of litter. The ordinance applies to your property, the public sidewalk, and the extension to the curb. If found in violation, you will be given a warning, followed by a charge from the City for clean up. You will also be fined for littering.

Garbage containers must be kept covered and out of public view. For weekly pick-up, garbage containers should be brought to the curb no more than 24 hours before your weekly pick-up time and should be removed no more than 12 hours after pick-up. If found in violation, you will be issued a warning, followed by a ticket. Big, bulky trash, such as furniture and appliances, will NOT be picked up by the City of Ann Arbor; and, if you leave big trash for garbage collection, the property owner will be fined. You must call for bulky trash pick-up by the City of Ann Arbor's Solid Waste Department and pay for the service. The number is 734.994.2807.

Underage Drinking Law

For anyone under the age of 21, it is illegal to consume alcoholic beverages in the U.S. Michigan law also states that a person who knowingly supplies alcohol to someone under 21, or who fails to make diligent inquiry as to whether someone is under 21, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Penalties for violation are $1,000 and 60 days in jail for the first offense; $2,500 and 90 days in jail for the second offense.

Michigan Marijuana Law and U-M's International Community

A State of Michigan law, passed as Proposal 1, legalized limited marijuana use and possession by those 21 years and older for recreational purposes as of December 6, 2018, and sales of recreational marijuana began in Michigan on December 1, 2019. Although this state law decriminalized marijuana under certain circumstances, federal law still prohibits the use or possession of marijuana. While following federal law is important for all students, scholars, employees, and dependents, if you are not a U.S. citizen, it is especially important to be aware that violations of federal law, such as marijuana use or possession, can affect your immigration status, your ability to obtain or renew a visa, your ability to enter or re-enter the United States, or your ability to apply for U.S. permanent residency or citizenship.


View this session, presented by Student Legal Services, to learn important information on what is and is not permitted in the United States: