ASTAF 104


Number: ASTAF 104
Section: Student Services Policies
Subject: Use of Alcoholic Beverages on Campus
Date: April 11, 2016
Authorized by: Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Services
Issued by: Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Services


POLICY

This policy governs students' consumption of alcohol (defined as beer, wine, and distilled spirits) on the University of South Carolina Aiken campus and at University-sponsored off-campus events. Based on a concern for the welfare of all student members of the University community and in keeping with state and local laws, this policy is designed to promote the responsible use or non-use of alcoholic beverages. Consistent with our institutional mission statement, USC Aiken values responsible citizenship. Students are expected to assume responsibility for their own behavior while consuming alcoholic beverages and to understand that being under the influence of alcohol in no way lessens accountability to the University and the community. Behavior and conduct by students whose judgment is impaired due to substance abuse and which interferes with the decorum and atmosphere of the University will not be tolerated. As members of the University community, students are expected to comply with and abide by all of the laws and policies stated below.

 I.      South Carolina Law 

It is against South Carolina law and USC Aiken policy to:

A.    purchase, possess or consume any alcoholic beverage if you are under the age of 21

B.    provide any alcohol to a person under 21 by transfer, gift or sale

C.    misrepresent your age for the purpose of procuring alcohol including possessing a false or altered driver's license or ID

D.    drive while under the influence of alcohol

E.     have a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher while driving a vehicle if you are under the age of 21 (zero tolerance)

F.     have an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle

G.    be intoxicated in public

II.    Local Ordinance (City of Aiken) 

It is against local ordinance and therefore University policy to consume alcohol in public within the city limits. Pacer Downs, Pacer Crossings, and Pacer Commons are located within the city limits. Therefore, consuming alcohol on apartment balconies or on the housing grounds is prohibited.

III.   General Guidelines 

A.    This policy is subject to change to comply with new local, state, or federal laws or changes in University operating procedures pertaining to the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

B.    The legal consumption, possession, distribution, or sale of alcohol on campus is permitted only at events and locations approved by the Chancellor or designee (for departmental and University-wide events that are not primarily for students) or the Alcohol Event Review Committee (for student or student organization events). Legal consumption of alcohol is also permitted in University housing facilities, as stipulated in the University Housing Guidebook and the USCA Student Handbook.

C.    A licensed third party vendor must provide/sell the alcoholic beverages at any on -campus events hosted by a University entity where students are present. The University’s contracted food service provider will serve as the third party vendor unless the Director of Food Service approves an alternate provider

D.    Individuals will be held responsible for their behavior while under the influence of alcohol. Failure to comply with South Carolina state law or University policy may subject the person or group to state and/or University penalties

E.     Any containers of alcohol that are being transported must be sealed and covered while on University premises.

F.     Common source containers of alcohol (e.g. kegs) are not permitted on campus at any time.

G.    Chugging, drinking games, initiations, funneling, or other potentially dangerous drinking games are prohibited.

H.    No student activity fee or other University collected fee will be used to purchase alcohol.

I.     This policy is subject to change to comply with new local, state, or federal laws or changes in operating procedures pertaining to the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

IV.   Additional Guidelines for Students

A.     Students must adhere to the General Guidelines in this policy as well as all federal, state and local laws and ordinances. They are also subject to the Student Code of Conduct and can be held accountable under multiple systems, whether or not a civil or criminal conviction is made.

B.     Regardless of the age of the student, the abuse of alcohol that results in impaired behavior is considered a violation of the alcohol policy.

C.    Being under the influence of alcohol does not constitute a defense for bad behavior; students will be held responsible for their actions regardless of their consumption of alcohol.

D.     Sanctions for the violation of University policies are based on the severity and frequency of the violation. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to: completion of educational and risk reduction programs, fines, community service, probation, individual screenings, research papers, educational counseling group, and parental notification.*   

E.    If a student fails to comply with the request of a University Police Officer to complete a sobriety test, it will be considered an automatic admission of having consumed alcohol.

F.     Students who are apprehended and charged by law enforcement agencies with alcohol-related criminal conduct off campus are required to inform the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Life of the charges.

* Parental Notification: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows educational institutions to notify parents/ guardians of students under the age of 21 when the student violates the University’s alcohol or drug policies. Because we believe that parents can assist us in educating and empowering students to make responsible decisions regarding alcohol, we typically exercise our right to notify parents in the following situations:

  • Drug violations
  • Repeat or serious alcohol violations

The University also reserves the right to notify parents for first alcohol violations if deemed appropriate.

V.   Additional Guidelines for Student Organizations

A.     Student organizations hosting an event must adhere to the General Guidelines in this policy as well as all federal, state and local laws and ordinances. They are also subject to the Student Code of Conduct and the Student Organization Social Events Policy and can be held accountable under multiple systems, whether or not a civil or criminal conviction is made.

B. The decisions made or behavior exhibited by individual members of an organization may result in disciplinary action against the organization as well as the individuals involved.

C. No funds of an officially recognized student organization deposited or administered through the University may be used to purchase alcohol.

D. Student organizations may not provide alcohol for free or in exchange for a cover charge or ticket to an event.

E. Student organizations that wish to have alcohol sold at an on-campus event must secure approval from the Alcohol Event Review Committee by submitting an Application to Serve Alcohol at a Campus Event. If the Alcohol Event Review Committee approves an organization’s request to have alcohol at an event, all of the procedures stipulated in the “Procedures for Sponsoring an On-Campus Student Event with Alcohol” document will be followed or the organization will be subject to disciplinary action.

F. Only beer and wine will be permitted at on-campus student events.

G. Sanctions for the violation of University policies are based on the severity and frequency of the violation. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, completion of educational and risk reduction programs, fines, community service, probation, suspension of student organization status, and suspension from use of University facilities for a designated period of time.

H. Student organizations who wish to host events with alcohol must attend a social host responsibilities workshop prior to hosting their first event with alcohol of the year.

VI.   Additional Guidelines for University Departments

A. University departments and employees within those departments must adhere to the General Guidelines in this policy, all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances as well as the Drug-Free Workplace Policy (http://hr.sc.edu/policies/drugfree.pdf).

B. University departments that wish to host an on -campus event with alcohol that is not primarily an event for students must secure permission from the Chancellor or designee.

C. University departments that wish to host an on-campus event with alcohol that is primarily for students must secure approval from the Alcohol Event Review Committee by submitting the appropriate paperwork to the Office of Student Life. If permission is granted for the event, all of the procedures stipulated in this policy must be followed.

D. At on campus events that are primarily for students, only beer and wine will be permitted.

E. Guests or renters of USCA facilities are subject to the guidelines delineated in this policy. 

Note: Students, faculty, staff, or student organizations who serve or sell alcohol to students at off-campus events assume liability for enforcing the law and assuring appropriate behavior. In such instances, USC Aiken assumes no responsibility or liability.

Note: Student organizations that wish to host off-campus events with alcohol must complete a Social Event Agreement and Third Party Vendor Agreement and meet with the Associate Director of Student Life prior to the event

VII.   Sanctions

A. Legal

As citizens, students have the responsibility for knowing and complying with the provisions of state and federal law related to drugs. A student who violates any of these laws is subject to prosecution and punishment through the legal system. Information on federal and state drug laws and penalties is provided in the USC Aiken Student Handbook. (Students who are apprehended and charged by law enforcement agencies with drug-related criminal conduct, off campus are required to inform the Director of Housing and Judicial Affairs).

B. University Disciplinary

In addition to any federal and state charges, a student is subject to disciplinary action through the University judicial process. This process may precede criminal or civil proceedings. It is not "double jeopardy" for both the civil authorities and the University to proceed against and sanction a person for the same specified conduct.

  1. The University considers any violation of the drug policy to be a serious offense. The University will respond to all reported violations of this policy in accordance with disciplinary procedures included in the Student Handbook. Although violations will be handled on a case by case basis, any violation that is deemed to be a threat to the safety and health of the campus community will result in summary suspension prior to a formal hearing. Sanctions that may be imposed by the University include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Suspension
    2. Summary Suspension 
    3. Suspension Held in Abeyance with Conditions
    4. Expulsion
    5. Counseling
    6. Educational Programs
    7. Conditions and Restrictions 

C. University Housing

A student who is suspected of violating the drug policy while living in on-campus housing will be subject to immediate removal from housing as a response to violating the terms of the housing contract.

VIII. Eligibility for Federal and State Financial Assistance

Students found in violation of the drug policy jeopardize their ability to receive federal and state financial assistance for which they might otherwise be eligible.

 IX.   Parental Notification Policy

In 1998, changes in the law that governs the privacy of student records, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), permitted colleges and universities to inform the parents/guardians of students under the age of 21 when they determined the student violated University alcohol and drug policies. At the University of South Carolina Aiken, we believe such notification can help us in educating our students. While we constantly strive to educate and empower students to make more responsible decisions about drug and alcohol usage, we know that the support of parents in this process is critical. The University of South Carolina Aiken typically exercises its right to notify parents of students under 21 in the following situations:

  • Cases involving drug violations
  • Repeat or serious alcohol violations

The university also reserves the right to notify parents for first alcohol violations if deemed appropriate.

X. Future Revisions

The University of South Carolina Aiken reserves the right to update this policy. Students are responsible for being aware of changes as they are disseminated to the campus community.