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Smith College Policies Regarding Alcohol

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.

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 chartered and non-chartered 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.

ALCOHOL USE AT HOUSE EVENTS Please see the full section on Alcohol Use at House Events located in the Social Events Policies, Procedures and Guidelines section.