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Alcohol Use at House Events

The following policies are those that deal specifically with Smith College Social Events. This section is to be used in conjunction with the federal, state and Smith College alcohol regulations. Event sponsors bear the obligation to see that the alcohol is consumed responsibly and is dispensed in accordance with the law.

  1. No person is allowed to be in possession of an open container or consume alcohol in public areas, with the exception of parties registered with the coordinator of house events. Public areas include but are not limited to living rooms, lounges, basements, hallways and stairwells.
  2. At all social events where alcohol is served, food and nonalcoholic beverages must be provided by the sponsor of the event in adequate proportion to the alcoholic beverages on hand. If the supply of food and nonalcoholic beverages runs out, alcohol service must stop.
  3. No one should be coerced, even subtly, to drink or to drink in excess. Those who provide alcoholic beverages to guests bear the obligation to see that the alcohol is consumed responsibly and is dispensed in accordance with the law.
  4. The college prohibits the possession of open containers of alcohol outside of residence facilities, including patios, porches and walkways. Smith students and guests should not carry drinks or alcohol from one event to another.
  5. No one may bring alcoholic beverages for personal or group consumption to a Smith party. If a person is carrying any alcohol into a party, it must be taken away for disposal. Guests cannot enter a party with a backpack or bag that might be transporting alcohol.

ALCOHOL SERVICE In addition to the policy on substance abuse and substance use, the following guidelines govern serving alcohol. (See the Smith College Policy on Substance Abuse and Substance Use.)

  1. Only persons who are 21 years of age or older are allowed to serve alcoholic beverages. The Alcohol Service Awareness Workshop is required for all persons tending bar at any registered house event. Before tending bar for a personal party, it is strongly recommended that students participate in the Alcohol Service Awareness Seminar. Several workshops are held during the year, at the beginning of each semester and before Winter/Spring Weekends and are required of social chairs, bartenders and I.D. checkers. Call the coordinator of house events to request information regarding times and dates for the workshop.
  2. I.D. checkers must verify the age of individuals before placing bracelets on the wrist of those 21 years of age or older.
  3. Persons serving alcohol must ensure that only persons 21 years of age or older are served alcohol, and are wearing an unaltered bracelet. They cannot serve alcohol to individuals who are underage or appear to have had enough to drink. Only individuals who are 21 years of age or older may drink legally in Massachusetts.
  4. Alcoholic beverages should be kept behind the bar. Only bartenders should have access to this area.
  5. All parties must end alcohol service by 12:30 a.m. If the party is scheduled to end earlier than 1 a.m., alcohol service must end half an hour before the end of the party.
  6. After a closed house or open house party has ended, alcohol that is left over must be locked up by a head resident and is not to be used for further consumption or distribution that evening.
  7. The college holds a Massachusetts State license to sell and dispense alcoholic beverages at the Campus Center. This is the only venue where admission may be charged for student sponsored events that include the serving of alcohol. The serving of alcohol must be supervised by Dining Services. Contact them at extension 2326 to make arrangements.

ALCOHOL SERVICE AWARENESS SEMINAR Only persons who are 21 years or older are allowed to consume or serve alcoholic beverages. The Alcohol Service Awareness Seminar is required for all persons tending bar for open house and closed house parties. The seminar includes a review of all the state laws governing serving alcohol, proper identification procedures, the effects of alcohol on the body and intervention techniques.

Before tending bar for a personal party, it is required that all students participate in the Alcohol Service Awareness Seminar. The workshop will be held at the beginning of each semester, and is required of House Social Events Coordinators, bartenders and I.D. checkers.

KEGS Open and closed house parties are the only venues where kegs are allowed. No kegs of any type may be below or above the first floor of Smith houses or in student rooms. Individual students cannot possess or store a keg in an apartment or personal room. Kegs are prohibited for individual student use for personal parties. The term keg is all-inclusive with kegs, half kegs, beer balls and the like, being examples. Massachusetts Law requires that all kegs must be registered to one individual who is over 21, with proper I.D. This individual must be a member of the host house. They must be aware that they are responsible for the proper distribution of alcohol and may be held personally responsible for any inappropriate distribution or consumption.

When the bar closes at an open or closed house party, all alcohol, including kegs, must be secured by a head resident or house coordinator until the following morning when it can be returned to the purchaser.

COLLECTION OF ALCOHOL FUNDS Neither Social System money nor house budget money may be used to purchase alcohol. Money must be collected by the social chair or designated collector from students over the age of 21; under no circumstances is money to be collected from underage students. Money collected for a specific event must only be used for that specific event. Organizations and houses cannot use any of their SGA funds, social dues or house dues to purchase alcohol.

SERVING MINORS When alcohol is served at parties, students take individual and collective responsibility for the service. It is important that students hosting parties understand and are particularly mindful of college policies, federal and state laws that explain the responsibilities and liabilities that they are undertaking.

A host cannot provide to or allow a person under 21 years of age to consume alcohol in their place of campus residence or at an event that they are hosting. When furnishing or serving alcohol, it is the host's responsibility and liability under Social Host Liability Laws to ensure that guests are able to safely travel home without harm to themselves or others.

COLLEGE GUIDELINES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ALCOHOL POLICY The Smith College policy on alcohol-related behavior stresses the concept of individual responsibility. These guidelines summarize each student's responsibility under the law and in relation to the community in which they live.

  1. All members of the college community, especially students hired or in elected leadership positions, are responsible for abiding by college policy and federal and state laws. No member of the college community is allowed to provide, purchase or serve alcohol to anyone who is under 21.
  2. While the college does not expect students in leadership roles to act as agents of the state, it does expect them to fulfill their responsibilities as leaders and hold individuals accountable for their actions and/or to refer them to appropriate resources (Residence Life staff, Health Services, Campus Safety, etc.).
  3. The following types of concerns would warrant intervention by Residence Life Staff or other college staff members:
    1. Individuals demonstrating problem drinking patterns (this includes problems leading to or resulting in the irresponsible use of alcohol);
    2. Individuals making choices and decisions that could endanger themselves or others;
    3. Individuals demonstrating an inability to control their drinking behavior;
    4. Individuals whose alcohol-related behavior infringes on the rights of others;
    5. Houses or organizations exhibiting b through d above.
  4. The individual, organization or house may be referred to the area director/assitant director, College Conduct Board, and/or the Office of Student Affairs. The person intervening will discuss the implication of an individual person or an organization's behavior with them.

All those who have any role in the organization or conduct of such events are responsible for obtaining and adhering to the guidelines governing alcohol use on the Smith College campus. Smith College provides services and resources to support individual needs, to assist at crisis points and to provide accurate information related to alcohol. Current practices to help problem drinkers, such as the support of health and counseling practitioners, alcohol awareness workshops, and the responsible action shown by members of the Smith community, point to a concern for alcohol consumption in our community.

RESPONSIBILITY OF STUDENT GROUPS All houses and registered organizations sponsoring social events are expected to abide by state law and by published procedures and standards. Failure to do so may result in loss of social privileges, individual disciplinary action or loss of college recognition for the organization as determined by the College Conduct Board. Members of an organization may be personally liable for the acts of the organization or its other members.

RESPONSIBILITY OF INDIVIDUALS Members of the faculty and staff should be aware of the legal drinking age of 21 years of age or older and the legal burden it places upon them. Faculty and staff are prohibited from providing, purchasing, or serving alcohol to students under the age of 21 in any setting. Individuals who violate Massachusetts state law may face criminal prosecution.

Alcohol-related behavior that causes or can reasonably be expected to cause physical harm or harassment to persons or damage to property, or is unreasonably disruptive, will be subject to disciplinary action by the College Conduct Board or the administration. Such behavior may result in penalties up to and including suspension or dismissal. Inebriation shall not be seen as an acceptable or justifiable excuse for disruptive behavior and may in itself be considered an additional offense.

Individuals who become the subject of local police action and campus safety reports involving alcohol, and groups or individuals who violate college rules because of alcohol, may be subject to disciplinary action by the College Conduct Board or the administration. Students also may be required to meet with residence life professional staff for discussion and possible referral to campus resources such as medical services, counseling services, a wellness educator or to the College Conduct Board.

LIABILITY The student is responsible for their actions and the actions of their guests that result in the loss, theft, or damage to college and/or personal property. The college remains liable for damages to its property incurred through the negligence of its agents or employees.

The sponsor of a closed function at which alcoholic beverages are served may be legally responsible for monetary damages and legal costs that result from use of alcohol by guests. The college does not assume any legal responsibility for individuals or groups who are alleged to have acted in violation of state and local statutes. Legal defense will not be provided by the college.