5.01-3 Guidelines Concerning University Events Where Alcoholic Beverages are Served or Provided
Reference: Memorandum from President Michael F. Adams, dated August 5, 2008:
The following guidelines have been adopted to govern University events where alcoholic beverages are served or provided. The guidelines apply to the following instances:
- any event, on or off campus, which is sponsored by a University unit;
- any event, on or off campus, where alcoholic beverages are served or provided by officials, employees, or agents of the University acting in their official capacities.
I expect full compliance with both the letter and spirit of these guidelines. I ask that you post and distribute copies of this memorandum to employees within your respective units.
Guidelines to be Followed by University Units Sponsoring Events Where Alcoholic Beverages are Served or Provided
- Check Identification. Alcoholic beverages must not be provided or served to persons below the legal drinking age. Therefore, the sponsoring University unit or University official, agent, or employee must check for proper identification before serving any alcoholic beverage and must reject any questionable forms of identification.
- Refuse to Serve Intoxicated Guests. If a participant or guest appears to have exceeded his or her limit, the sponsoring University unit or University official, agent, or employee must not serve any additional alcohol to that person. Furthermore, a reasonable effort should be made to arrange a safe trip home.
- Provide a Designated Driver or Shuttle Service. The sponsoring University unit or University official, agent, or employee should establish procedures to provide impaired guests or participants a ride home. Such procedures can include assigning one or more members of each group of guests or participants the responsibility of being a designated driver who will refrain form drinking. Individuals who serve as designated drivers need to be sure that their personal vehicular liability insurance covers this situation. Another alternative is to provide shuttle service.
- Provide Non-Alcoholic Beverages. The sponsoring University unit or University official, agents, or employee should provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages so as to avoid the problem of “forcing” guests to drink alcoholic beverages because there is nothing else to drink. There needs to be parity between the quantity and variety of non-alcoholic beverages.
- Serve Food. Another pitfall that should be avoided is serving guests a “liquid” lunch or dinner. When alcohol is served or provided at a lunch, dinner, or reception, there needs to be plenty of food available.
- Do Not Permit Self-Service of Alcoholic Beverages. The sponsoring University unit or University official, agent, or employee should use staff members or hired bartenders to serve alcoholic beverages in order to limit the size and number of drinks being served and to spot those who are drinking too much. Where the function involves a sit-down meal at which alcohol is served, waiters and waitresses should be instructed to ask before automatically refilling wine or liquor glasses to avoid a situation where a guest continues drinking simply because the waiter continues to pour.
- Post Drinking Restrictions in Prominent Places. Notices informing guests as to the legal drinking age should be conspicuously posted at University events where alcohol is served. This requirement is particularly important for those events where the guests or participants may include students or members of the general public who are younger than the legal drinking age.
- Restrict Alcoholic Beverages to a Controlled Area. The sponsored University unit or University official, agent, or employee must take adequate steps to insure that alcoholic beverages are not allowed outside the predetermined boundaries for the event. All alcoholic beverages should be consumed or disposed of by all guests or participants before they leave the premises.
- Limit or Eliminate References to Alcoholic Beverages in Advertisements. Advertisements or invitations to University events where alcoholic beverages are being served should emphasize the nature of the event, and not the alcoholic beverages. Keep references to the type and quantity of alcoholic beverages to be served out of promotional materials.
- Limit Hours of Service of Alcoholic Beverages. Service of alcoholic beverages must be discontinued at a reasonable time, at least an hour, before an event is scheduled to end. The closing time should be posted near the bar to avoid misunderstandings at the end of an event.
Implementation of these guidelines may require sponsors of University events where alcoholic beverages are served or provided to modify their current practices, to hire additional staff, or to retrain existing staff. The costs involved in implementing these guidelines, however, are minimal when compared to the potential liability facing the University and its officials if adequate safeguards are not taken.
This matter requires your prompt attention. Questions concerning these guidelines should be addressed to the Office of Legal Affairs.
- Office of the President, August 5, 2008