Alcohol: Student Possession and Consumption

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Policy on Student Possession and Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages in Facilities of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 (Effective January 1, 1996)

I.  Foreword

In April of 1995, the University enacted a more restrictive policy on the service of alcohol at official University functions.  That policy is entitled Guidelines for Serving Alcohol at University-Sponsored Events (hereafter referred to as Guidelines) and is attached as reference at Appendix I.  The following revision of the 1986 Policy on Student Possession and Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages in Facilities of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (hereafter referred to as the Student Alcohol Policy) undertaken at the request of the Chancellor, is another element of the University’s coordinated effort to minimize the influence of alcohol within the University community.

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As an institution of higher education, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill values the concepts of informed decision making, promotion of healthy behaviors, prevention of disease, and treatment and rehabilitation of dysfunction. We look to law and University policy to help define and regulate the appropriate and legal  use of alcohol in the university community.

Unwise alcohol use, and the emphasis on partying that often accompanies it, undermines the intellectual climate of the university.  It distracts students from the purposes of higher education, and often breeds an anti-intellectual tone that dampens academic motivation and interest.  Moreover, unwise alcohol use often runs contrary to some of the most important and desirable values manifest in university education: the opportunity for maximum individual intellectual development, respect for individual differences and the rights of others, and a quality of interpersonal relationship that fosters a sense of community and good citizenship.

The chronic abuse of alcohol (alcoholism) must be recognized as a disease process.  As with any other disease, biological factors outside the control of the individual, as well as volitional acts by the individual, serve to modify the likelihood, course and severity of the disease process.  It is clear that lack of consistent control over one’s pattern of alcohol use is important in the generation of alcoholism.  For this reason, all students should be aware of the signs of loss of personal control in the use of alcohol.

Recent studies of alcohol abuse on college campuses describe an increasingly earlier age of onset of drinking, an increase in binge drinking and an association of individual binge drinking with lower grade point average.   In collegiate institutions with the highest amount of binge drinking, there is a demonstrated increase in vandalism, a decrease in overall grade point average and an increased risk for interpersonal violence.   Studies on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus have shown a significant association of increased alcohol use with the untimely interruption of a student’s academic career.  It is also clear that long-term alcohol related health problems can accrue both from chronic misuse of alcohol at lesser levels as well as from acute over-consumption and abuse.  Finally, there is evidence that the student who is not personally drinking to excess may suffer adverse emotional and physical effects from the necessity of caring for and being disturbed by his or her intoxicated classmates, roommates and friends.

Each year presents us with a number of personal tragedies associated with alcohol abuse.  Faculty, students, staff,  parents and other members of the extended university community are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety and health environment of the campus.

We believe that the most productive approach for combating the negative effects of alcohol abuse is through creative alcohol abuse prevention programming, combined with effective early intervention against problem behaviors related to alcohol abuse and a clear statement of University policy related to the use and abuse of alcohol.  This revision of the Student Alcohol Policy was undertaken with these principles in mind.

Members of the Student Alcohol Policy Review Team of 1995

 II.  State Law and Local Ordinance

The sale, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages is strictly regulated by state statutes and local ordinance, and any campus alcohol policy must be formulated in accordance with the requirements of state and local law.  Pertinent provisions of North Carolina law and Chapel Hill ordinance are set out below, both to inform students of legal restrictions and to establish the framework within which the Student Alcohol Policy must operate.  Any member of the University community who violates such a law or ordinance may be subject both to prosecution and punishment by the civil authorities and to disciplinary proceedings by the University.   All of the following statutes apply on the University campus as well as in the surrounding community.  All students are responsible for knowing and complying with these requirements.  Material in this section is intended as general information, not as specific legal advice.  For precise legal interpretation of these laws and ordinance, please contact either the Office of Student Legal Services or a private attorney.

North Carolina Laws and Chapel Hill Ordinance Pertaining to Sale, Purchase, Possession, Use and Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages

Generally, persons who are twenty-one (21) or older may purchase or consume alcoholic beverages and may possess alcoholic beverages at their homes or temporary residences.  (General Statutes 18B-300 and 18B-301)   There are exceptions to this general statement, some of which are set out below, and students are responsible for knowing what those exceptions are.  A student’s assigned room in a campus residence hall is considered to be his or her temporary residence.

It is against the law for any person under twenty-one (21) to purchase or possess any alcoholic beverage. (General Statute 18B-302)

It is against the law for anyone to sell or give any alcoholic beverage to a person under twenty-one (21) or to aid or abet such a person in selling, purchasing or possessing any alcoholic beverage.  Any person under twenty-one who aids or abets an underage person in violating this law may be fined $500, imprisoned for 6 months, or both.  Any person twenty-one or older who aids or abets an underage person to violate this law may be fined $2000, imprisoned for 2 years, or both.   (General Statute 18B-302)

According to Chapel Hill ordinance, it is against the law for anyone to possess any open alcoholic beverage on streets, sidewalks, alleys or any other property owned or controlled by the Town of Chapel Hill.  Any person who violates this ordinance may be fined $50.  (Chapel Hill Ordinance 95-6-26/O-5)   It is a violation of North Carolina statute to consume fortified wine, spirituous liquor or mixed beverages on a public road, street, highway, or sidewalk. (General Statute 18B-301)

It is against the law to display fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages at any athletic contest. (General Statute 18B-301)

No alcoholic beverages of any kind may be sold by any person, organization, or corporation on a college campus except by a hotel or nonprofit alumni organization with a mixed beverages or special occasion permit. (General Statute 18B-1006)

 SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY

In addition to the substantial criminal penalties for furnishing alcohol to an underage person and/or helping an underage person obtain alcohol (see above), individuals and groups serving alcohol to friends or guests should be aware of a North Carolina Supreme Court ruling in a recent case.  Individuals injured by a drunk driver sued the hosts of the party where he had consumed alcohol on the night of the accident.  In considering an appeal from the lawsuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that, if:

1) a person serves an alcoholic beverage to someone whom the server knew, or should have known, was under the influence of alcohol, and

2) the server knew that person would shortly thereafter drive an automobile,

a jury could conclude, based on these facts, that the server was negligent and could decide that it was reasonably foreseeable that some injury could result from the negligent conduct.  This means that, if someone is injured by a drunk driver and sues the person(s) who served the driver alcohol, a jury might find that the server(s) were partly responsible for the injuries and order the server(s) to pay substantial damages to the injured person or his/her estate.  Significant personal consequences could result to the host or provider of the alcohol.

The above information is not intended as legal advice.  If uncertain about this issue, contact either the Office of Student Legal Services or a private attorney.

III.  Student Alcohol Policy

GENERAL RULES PERTAINING TO STUDENT ALCOHOL USE AND POSSESSION

1.  No student under the age of 21 may purchase, possess, or consume any alcoholic beverage anywhere on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2.  Students 21 years of age or older may not sell or give any alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years of age.

3.  Students and their guests aged 21 or older may possess and consume alcoholic beverages in individual campus residence hall rooms or apartments on campus, but not in the common areas of a residence hall on campus (e.g., lounges, hallways, stairwells, balconies, study areas, etc.).

4.  Common source containers of alcohol (e.g., kegs) are not permitted on the UNC-CH campus, except as approved in the Guidelines.

5.  No possession or consumption of alcohol is allowed at any time:

a. at any campus athletic event; or

b. at any performance on the campus.

6. No consumption of alcohol is permitted at any outdoor location on campus except as approved in the Guidelines.  No possession of alcohol on campus is permitted at any outdoor location except for the purpose of transporting closed containers of alcohol.  This transportation exception does not apply to athletic events or performances.

7.  No person, organization, or corporation may sell any kind of alcoholic beverage on the campus of the University.  “Sale” includes indirect sale.  Therefore, no person or group may collect money (whether requested, required, or donated) from people attending a gathering on campus to be used to defray, in whole or in part, the cost of alcoholic beverages provided at the gathering.  The Carolina Inn and the George Watts Hill Alumni Center may sell alcoholic beverages because they have alcohol permits that allow them to do so.

8.  No alcohol may be served or consumed in any University building or open space except as provided in the University’s Guidelines.  This includes personal consumption as well as consumption at a private party event.  Note that under the Guidelines, any University administrative unit wishing to use a facility (such as a departmental office or meeting room) other than one specifically designated in the Guidelines  for a private party event at which alcohol will be served must obtain permission  from the dean of its academic unit and from the Vice-Chancellor in charge of the facility in which the event is proposed to be held.  For more information, refer to the text of the Guidelines.

RULES PERTAINING TO STUDENT GROUPS

In addition to complying with North Carolina statutes, Chapel Hill ordinance, and the rules for individual students set out above, student groups must also follow the rules set out below.

Officially Recognized Student Groups

1.  No Student Activity Fees or other University collected fee shall be used to purchase alcohol for use either on campus or off campus.

2.  No other funds of an officially recognized student group deposited or administered through the Student Activities Fund Office  (from dues, donations, etc.) may be used to purchase alcohol for use either on campus or off campus.

3.  Nothing in this Student Alcohol Policy prohibits student groups from holding events off campus at which individual group members aged 21 or older bring or buy their own alcoholic beverages.

Student Groups With Policies Governing Alcoholic Beverages

The above rules are minimum standards.  Student Groups or associations of student groups are free to adopt standards which go beyond the minimum requirements of this policy , and indeed, are encouraged to do so. When such higher standards are adopted, the University will  —  where possible — assist groups in enforcement of those standards.

Thus, for example, the enforcement section of this policy anticipates cooperation between the University and the Greek system Risk Management Policy which goes beyond the minimum requirements of this Student Alcohol Policy.  Accordingly, Greek organizations shall follow the Greek Risk Management Policy (attached as Appendix II) whether their houses are located on University owned property or privately owned property.

A student organization that has adopted its own alcohol risk management policies shall follow both its own  alcohol risk management policy and this Student Alcohol Policy when holding an event in a University building or open space.

IV.  Enforcement

ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS FOR UNIVERSITY ALCOHOL POLICY

A.  Enforcement for Individual Students

1/  Reporting Violations.  Written reports of possible Student Alcohol Policy violations by individual students may be filed in two locations:  a.) when the possible violation occurred within a university residence hall, the report should be filed with the Area Director of the residence hall; b.) when the possible violation did not occur within a university residence hall, the report should be filed with the Office of the Dean of Students.  Information is shared between these two offices regarding records of prior Student Alcohol Policy violations by individual students.

2/  Determination of Violation.  After a report is filed, the student will be required to meet with a university official (for violations within university housing, by residents, this will be the Area Director of the residence hall, and for violations outside of university housing jurisdiction, this will be the Dean of Students or a designate).  This meeting will provide an opportunity for the student and the university official to discuss the possible violation.  The student will be given the opportunity to review the written report.  When the student does not admit to a Student Alcohol Policy violation, the university official will decide whether the preponderance of the evidence shows that the student violated the Student Alcohol Policy.

3/  Responses.  When the student either admits responsibility or is found responsible for a Student Alcohol Policy violation, the university official identified below will decide upon an appropriate response.  The university official may consider the circumstances of the incident, the student’s past conduct history and the types of responses which have been previously made for similar violations.  In most instances of Student Alcohol Policy violation, the student determined to be in violation of the Policy will be required to attend an alcohol education session conducted under the supervision of the Student Health Service.  In cases arising through University Housing, the Area Director may additionally impose any of the sanctions listed in the Community Living booklet.  In cases arising outside University Housing, the Dean of Students Office may additionally impose any combination of the following sanctions:  Written reprimand, restitution, counseling or referral to another university office, and educational/community service activities.

4/  Appeals.  For violations of the Student Alcohol Policy within University Housing, the appeals process in the Community Living booklet will be followed.  For violations of the Student Alcohol Policy outside of University Housing, the student may appeal to the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs or a designate on the grounds of Insufficient Evidence, Violation of Rights, or Severity of Sanction.  In all cases, the appeal will be based on the record of the original meeting, unless new material evidence has been discovered since that time.

5/  Disciplinary Files.  Files involving Student Alcohol Policy violations will be maintained for two years from the date of the student’s last Student Alcohol Policy violation.  These files are protected from unauthorized disclosure by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

6/  Other Enforcement Mechanisms.  Behavior that violates the Code of Student Conduct, state or federal laws may be referred to the Student Judicial System, and/or state and federal authorities in addition to being handled as a Student Alcohol Policy violation.  Additionally, behavior that poses a risk to the safety of the student or other member of the University community may be referred to the Committee on Problem Admissions and Extraordinary Disciplinary Emergencies.

B.  Enforcement for Student Organizations

The following provisions anticipate enforcement — where possible — of both this Student Alcohol Policy and the alcohol risk management policies of other groups or associations of groups such as the Risk Management Policy of the Greek Organizations.  When not otherwise specified under this Student Alcohol Policy, the Office of the Dean of Students will handle enforcement of this Policy.

1/  Reporting Violations.  Written reports of possible Student Alcohol Policy violations by officially recognized student organizations may be filed in various locations:  1) when a possible violation of the Rules Pertaining to Student Groups within this Student Alcohol Policy is involved, the report must be filed with the Office of the Dean of Students;  2) when a possible violation of the student organization’s alcohol risk management policy (e.g. Greek Risk Management Policy) is involved, the provisions of that policy shall be followed to determine where the possible violation is to be reported ( for example, possible violations of the Greek Risk Management Policy  must be filed with the Director of Greek Affairs for possible referral to the Greek Judicial Board); and, 3)  when the incident in question is a possible violation of both the student organization’s alcohol risk management policy and the Rules Pertaining to Student Groups under this Student Alcohol Policy, it shall be  reported to both the Office of the Dean of Students and the individual or group specified in the organization’s alcohol risk management policy.

2/  Determination of Violation.  In the case of a possible violation of  the Student Alcohol Policy, including those cases that may also be violations of an organizational alcohol risk management policy (e.g. the Greek Risk Management Policy), the following process will be followed.  After a report is filed, the President of the student organization in question will be required to meet with the Dean of Students or a designate.  This meeting will provide an opportunity for the President and the Dean to discuss the possible violation.  The President will be given the opportunity to review the written report.  When the organization does not admit to a violation, the university official will decide whether the preponderance of the evidence shows that the student organization violated the Student Alcohol Policy.  In the case of a possible violation of an organizational alcohol risk management policy (e.g. the Greek Risk Management Policy), the provisions of that policy shall be applied to determine whether a violation occurred.

3/  Sanctions. In all cases involving a violation of this Student Alcohol Policy, including those in which an organization’s alcohol risk management policy is also violated, the Dean of Students or designate may impose any combination of the following sanctions: written reprimand, restitution, mandated educational programs or community service, and loss of university recognition.  In most instances of Student Alcohol Policy violation, the organization determined to be in violation of the Policy will be required to sponsor and attend an alcohol education session conducted under the supervision of the Student Health Service.  When violations of an organization’s alcohol risk management policy occur, (e.g. the Greek Risk Management Policy), sanctions are to be imposed in accordance with that policy.  For example, when violations of the Greek Risk Management Policy occur, sanctions are outlined in the Greek Judicial Board By-Laws, which include risk management education seminars, fines (on a per member basis for fairness), and possible loss of social privileges.

4/  Appeals.   In all cases involving a violation of this Student Alcohol Policy, including those in which an organization’s alcohol risk management policy is also violated, the student organization may appeal to the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs or a designate on the grounds of Insufficient Evidence, Violation of Rights, or Severity of Sanction. The appeal will be based on the record of the original meeting, unless new material evidence has been discovered since that time.  For violations of an organization’s alcohol risk management policy (e.g. the Greek Risk Management Policy), the appeal process set out in that policy will be followed.

5/  Disciplinary Files.  Files involving Student Alcohol Policy violations by student organizations will be maintained for two years from the date of the last group violation.  Although these files are not protected from disclosure by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, personally identifiable information about individual students in these files is protected  by that federal Act .

6/  Other Enforcement Mechanisms.  Behavior that violates the Code of Student Conduct, state or federal laws may be referred to the Student Judicial System, and/or state and federal authorities in addition to being handled as a Student Alcohol Policy violation.  For example, providing false information — such as a false identification card — to a University official is a violation of the Honor Code.  Additionally, behavior that poses a risk to the safety of the university community may be referred to the Committee on Problem Admissions and Extraordinary Disciplinary Emergencies.  When a violation involves student fees appropriated by Student Congress, Student Congress and the Student Body Treasurer will receive notice of the violation.

V. Review

1/ An assessment of the efficacy of educational efforts and intervention taken in conjunction with this Student Alcohol Policy shall be performed at least every two years (beginning in 1996) by the Chancellor’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Task Group and the results made public.

2/  A review of this Student Alcohol Policy shall be conducted no less frequently than every five years beginning with the year 2000.  Such review will be initiated by the Office of the Chancellor.

 

Notes

 1 The “CAGE” questionnaire is a simple set of questions that all individuals who drink should ask themselves as an ongoing survey of their degree of alcohol abuse.  Generally, a “yes” answer to two or more of the following questions may indicate an ongoing problem with alcohol and suggest consultation with one’s health care provider.

CAGE Questions:  1/ Have you felt the need to Cut down on your drinking?  2/ Have you ever felt Annoyed by criticism of your drinking? 3/ Have you ever had Guilty feelings about drinking? 4/ Do you ever take a morning Eye-opener?  Ewing, J.A. “Recognizing, Confronting and Helping the Alcoholic” AFP 18:107-114 1978

 2 Rethinking Rites of Passage: Substance Abuse on American’s Campuses.  A report by the Commission on Substance Abuse at Colleges and Universities.  Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. June 1994.

3 Harold Wechsler, Ph.D. et al “Health and Behavioral Consequences of Binge Drinking in College.”  Journal of the American Medical Association, 272:21 (Dec. 7, 1994): 1672-85.

4 Defined as five or more drinks at a sitting.

5 UNC-CH Freshmen of the 1990’s: Eyes on the Future. A Report by Lynn Williford, Senior Research Associate, Office of Institutional Research, UNC-CH, September 1994.

6 Wechsler, op.cit.

 

Appendices

I.  Guidelines for Serving Alcohol at University Sponsored Events

II.  Fraternity and Sorority Alcohol Policy

This Policy is maintained by the Office of the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel

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