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Student Handbook – Alcohol Policy


  1. The Rice community encourages safe, responsible behavior toward alcohol. All students are personally responsible for their behavior, and all students should, under Rice’s Culture of Care, consider themselves responsible for the safety of themselves and all fellow students.

  2. Persons under age 21 are prohibited from consuming alcohol at Rice, both by Texas law and Rice rules.

  3. For those permitted to consume alcohol, Rice encourages with both regulations and sanctions a shift away from distilled spirits toward beer and wine, which pose a less serious danger of abuse.

  4. Students, organizations or colleges violating campus alcohol rules will be sanctioned under the Code of Student Conduct, with sanctions ranging from fines to expulsion. The extent to which students take measures to increase or decrease student safety will be considered in determining the severity of a sanction. Repeat offenses, especially those that endanger others, will result in increased sanctions.

  5. Certain alcohol related behaviors are sufficiently dangerous to oneself or others that Rice will impose more serious sanctions for these behaviors. These include but are not limited to: driving while intoxicated, serving alcohol to prospective students under age 21, providing hard alcohol (defined below) to under-aged students, dangerous drinking games, any drinking games involving hard alcohol, any coercive or hazing-like activity involving pressure to consume alcohol, or taking sexual advantage of anyone whose judgment is clearly impaired and thus not able to provide consent.

  6. The concepts of ”private space” or ”private gatherings” in this policy do not condone underage or excessive drinking in private spaces. Rather, the policy arises from the reality that, while police officers enforce state laws, they may not have a need or legal reason to enter students’ private living spaces unless a problem is apparent or a large gathering requires investigation.

  7. This Alcoholic Beverage Policy (Policy) is based on a philosophy of shared governance between Rice and students regarding use of alcohol on campus and Rice’s experience that this philosophy produces the best outcomes for student safety and wellbeing. To maintain this shared governance, students must act reasonably, responsibly and respectfully towards alcohol and observe campus rules relating to alcohol.


  1. Texas law prohibits persons under age 21 from drinking alcohol and makes it illegal to buy alcohol for, or serve alcohol to, those under 21. Rice will not sell, serve or provide alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21. Rice adheres to the federal Drug-Free Workplace and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Acts.

  2. Unless permission is first obtained from Student Judicial Programs (SJP), alcoholic beverages may not be sold, served, provided, given away, or consumed at any event at Rice, sponsored by Rice or Rice organizations where students will be present, or any event that is considered a public function or party under this Policy.

  3. Organizations sponsoring events (on or off campus) at which alcoholic beverages will be given, sold, served, provided to or consumed by Rice students, must comply with this Policy, including taking precautions so that alcohol is not available to or consumed by intoxicated persons or those under age 21. With the exception of events described in (B)(4), SJP requires sponsoring organizations to show written plans for complying with this Policy, and afterwards may require follow-up information about the event.

  4. At its discretion, SJP may require any event to be registered; however, events hosted by faculty or staff may not need to be registered with SJP if they meet all of the following criteria: (1) the event is not affiliated with the colleges or a student organization, (2) the event is one at which student attendance is incidental (i.e. gallery exhibitions, speaker series, etc.), and (3) the event does not involve substantial levels of student participation or attendance.

  5. Amnesty -- Student health and safety is a primary concern in cases of possible alcohol intoxication or alcohol-related injury. If a student on campus becomes endangered by alcohol use, students should contact Rice EMS (REMS), the duty of which is to provide medical assistance, not to report violations of policy. In these situations, Rice is most concerned that students who need care receive medical attention.

    Any student may seek REMS or RUPD assistance or bring an intoxicated or drug-impaired person to University Health Services. Neither the impaired student nor the student providing assistance will face disciplinary action for the possession, use, or provision of alcohol (see exception below) or the possession or use of other drugs, if the students receiving amnesty complete a mandatory follow-up with their College Master, the Dean of Undergraduates, or the Dean of Graduate And Postdoctoral Studies (or their designees, which may include Rice Counseling Center or Wellness Center). Amnesty does not apply to other prohibited conduct, such as assault, violence, property damage, provision of hard alcohol to persons under 21, or distributing dangerous substances (whether legal or illegal). Failure by a student, organization, or college to call REMS or RUPD when faced with an alcohol or other drug related emergency is a serious violation and may be sanctioned with rustication, suspension, or expulsion.

    To receive amnesty, a student must initiate a request for assistance before being confronted by Rice for possible alcohol or drug violations. Students may receive amnesty on more than one occasion. Because cooperation is crucial during emergency responses, any interference with REMS, RUPD or others trying to provide care to an injured person is unacceptable and will be severely sanctioned. An intoxicated or drug-impaired student who is belligerent towards emergency responders will not receive amnesty.

  6. Alcohol may not be served to or consumed by undergraduates during Orientation Week (from 2 a.m. Sunday of that week through 12 p.m. on the day upper-class students return). The University may also designate other days during which no alcohol is permitted.

  7. As a general matter no Rice funds or funds collected by Rice may be used by colleges, student organizations or individual students for procuring alcohol. Colleges and the GSA may, however, use part of their annual per capita monies received to support their activities to fund a college or GSA event at which alcohol is served (including purchasing alcohol for the event) provided the event is registered with SJP and complies with this Policy.

  8. Special Rules for Hard Alcohol -- Grain alcohol of any type is prohibited from campus at all times. Other “hard alcohol” is not permitted on campus except in the situations described below. The term “hard alcohol” applies to all alcohol and alcohol-containing beverages except beer, wine, champagne, and pre-made alcoholic drinks not made from distilled spirits; the alcohol content of beverages not considered hard alcohol must be below 22%; distilled spirits of any kind are considered hard alcohol.

    1. Hard alcohol, of any type and quantity, is banned from all residential rooms and suites in which any resident of the room or suite is under age 21. The serving, sale, or active or passive provision of hard alcohol to any student under the age of 21 is a serious violation that can lead to rustication or suspension; there is zero tolerance for such violations.

    2. In the residential colleges, in rooms or suites where all residents of the room and suite are aged 21 or older, private possession of hard alcohol by students aged 21 or older is permitted, provided the total quantity of all hard alcohol in a suite or in a room (if not part of a suite) does not exceed two liters, and the alcohol content of the hard alcohol does not exceed 50% by volume.

    3. Serving or active or passive provision of hard alcohol, punch made from hard alcohol, or mixed drinks made from hard alcohol are all prohibited in all gatherings in residential rooms or suites in the residential colleges. Hard alcohol, whether alone or in mixed drinks, may be consumed in a private room or suite only by those students who are aged 21 or older, provided that no students under 21 are present and provided that the number of students present does not meet the minimum criteria for a private gathering that must be registered with the CJ (see section (D)(2)(a)).

    4. Serving or active or passive provision of hard alcohol, punch made from hard alcohol, or mixed drinks made from hard alcohol are prohibited in all public events, except at registered public events at which all students are aged 21 or older. One or more students may register and host a public event at which hard alcohol may be served, if it is held in a public, enclosed, approved location and if attendance is restricted only to students aged 21 or older. These closed public events must meet all SJP registration requirements and also limit admission to students aged 21 or older. (Appropriate locations for public events will be approved by the college government in cooperation with SJP and may include, for example, private dining rooms, libraries, etc., where access can be effectively restricted.)

    5. Any undergraduate consumption or serving of hard alcohol is banned from campus on the day of Beer Bike, on the nights of large public parties (including Sid ‘80s, Casino Party, Bacchanalia, NOD, etc.), on move-in weekend each fall, and during VISION weekend and OWL Days each spring.
  9. This Policy will be reviewed regularly. Whenever necessary, the Dean of Undergraduates will convene an Alcohol Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) to provide input about the Policy and potential revisions.

  10. College Chief Justices (CJs) will meet with SJP regularly during the academic year to discuss the Policy and will also have regular meetings with Dean of Undergraduate staff, REMS, and RUPD leadership. Rice will provide training for CJs regarding the Policy.

  11. SJP is the primary office for administering and enforcing this Policy. The Dean of Undergraduates determines questions of interpretation.

  12. Each student is provided a copy of this Policy each academic year (which may be done electronically) and is required to acknowledge that she or he understands the Policy and agrees to comply with it; any questions should be raised to SJP.


  1. General Statement -- Rice supports shared responsibility and shared governance with students over regulation of alcohol on campus. Students therefore have an important role in enforcing this Policy, and the role of college leadership, including the college presidents, socials, and chief justices, is vital for this Policy to succeed.

    All organizations, groups, or individuals sponsoring alcohol-related events are responsible for complying with law and this Policy, as well as for the individual good behavior of their members and guests. Failure to meet these requirements will lead to sanctions against the students or organizations involved.

  2. Location and Manner in Which Alcoholic Beverages May Be Served
    1. Host -- At least one person must assume the responsibility for every event held in public areas of Rice buildings (or on Rice grounds) at which students will be present and alcohol will be provided, or any other event considered to be a “public function or party.” This person(s) must have successfully completed SJP alcohol server training and act as host for the entire event. The host must ensure compliance with the Policy, University regulations, and state and local law. Prior to the event, the host must secure SJP permission; SJP considers the nature of the event in deciding what information, supporting documentation, and other approvals are necessary before the event may be permitted to occur. Typically, the host must provide event information and a security plan. Masters must approve events occurring at, or sponsored by, a college. Depending on the event location, SJP may require permission of a facility administrator.

    2. Alcohol Licenses or Permits -- To comply with Texas law, a proper license or permit must be provided when alcohol is sold or will be served “free” at any function where there is an admission charge. SJP can provide further information about state permits.

    3. Alcohol Servers – Only certified alcohol servers may serve alcohol at public functions. College social coordinators must arrange for a pool of certified alcohol servers for all registered parties in their college; event hosts must choose servers from this pool. Servers must be at least 18 years old and have successfully completed SJP training for that specific academic year, though training taken after March 1st qualifies the server for the subsequent academic year. Students with TABC certification must still complete SJP training.

    4. Only one drink will be served to an individual at a time. Clear containers are required for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages not consumed from original containers. Access to un-served alcoholic beverages must be restricted to the servers and event hosts. Neither grain alcohol nor punch containing alcohol is allowed.

    5. Identifying Students of Legal Age -- Identification of students aged 21 and older must be made at each point and time of service. To receive alcohol service, Rice students and guests who are 21 or older must show a valid Texas driver’s license, an identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, or an out-of-state driver’s license marked with an adhesive sticker by RUPD. Those using false identification to obtain alcohol or showing proper identification to obtain alcohol for those under age 21 will be sanctioned.

      The host of any registered event where alcohol is being served will be responsible for visibly and effectively designating those attendees who can legally consume alcohol, usually using coded wristbands. The banding of these students will take place at entrances to the party or at points where alcohol is being served. The banding of students does not eliminate the need to present proper identification at the point and time of service. One of the three acceptable forms of identification will be required for students to be banded. Individuals of legal drinking age who do not possess proper identification at the event will not receive a band or be served alcohol. Use of a falsely-obtained wristband will be sanctioned.

    6. Security -- All applications for event approval must include a security plan. For large or significant college events, the plan should include consultation with the Master, the Chief Justice (CJ), and the college RUPD Officer. For all events, the host will appoint security officials to enforce the Policy, including: (1) preventing unauthorized persons from going behind the bar or causing a disturbance at the bar or elsewhere at the event, (2) ensuring that unauthorized alcohol is not brought into or removed from the function, and (3) ensuring that visibly intoxicated persons are not admitted or allowed to remain. If a student security official encounters difficulty enforcing the Policy, he or she should contact the host(s), CJs, Masters, resident associates, or if necessary, RUPD.

      SJP, in consultation with RUPD as necessary, will determine the necessary level of police security for an event. Prior to large or significant events, the host should clarify with RUPD a security plan and respective responsibilities for securing the party and enforcing this Policy, and the host will report these arrangements to SJP. RUPD is also willing to include student functions of any size in their routine patrol and to respond to calls for assistance from hosts responsible for parties.

    7. Alternatives to Alcohol -- Whenever alcoholic beverages are present, suitable and attractive non-alcoholic beverages, as well as food, must be available and featured prominently, and should be included in the application for SJP approval. SJP may require receipts to show the purchase of these items.

    8. Advertising -- Advertising for social events sponsored by colleges, student organizations and individuals may not focus on alcohol.

    9. Use of Funds to Purchase Alcohol for Off Campus Consumption -- College and student organization funds, including per capita funds colleges receive each year to support college activities, may not be used to purchase alcohol for consumption off campus, except for alcohol that is purchased and consumed on premises licensed to serve alcohol. Events occurring off campus in compliance with this Policy may be required to show appropriate state or local licenses and bonding certificates for SJP approval. Other contracts related to the event may also be required before SJP approval.

    10. Accounting for Funds and Alcohol -- Colleges and student organizations must keep a record of the source of funds available for alcohol procurement and the expenditure of those funds for alcohol. This record should be provided at least annually to the Master (in the case of a college) and SJP, and must be provided more often if requested by the Master or SJP. Misrepresenting how funds are used is a violation of this Policy and exposes the individual, college or organization to sanctions. The source of funds available for alcohol procurement, in addition to the per capita funds colleges receive each year to support college activities, will be limited to gifts, revenue generated through college or student organization activities or donations and, for student organizations only, membership fees or dues or donations collected directly from the membership by the student organization. SJP may require organizations or individuals sponsoring approved events to provide receipts for alcohol purchases for the event and receipts for other event supplies, such as food and non-alcoholic beverages. If alcohol is donated, invoices must still be provided by the donor detailing how much alcohol is donated. SJP may require documentation after an event.

    11. Further Explanation of What is a Public Party -- Any party taking place in a public area of the college, or any party in a private area for which college funds are being spent, is a public party. Any party that is public in spirit or effect is a public party. For example, parties taking place in private areas and overflowing into public spaces (such as into hallways, landings, lounges, bathrooms, or other common areas) or causing undue disturbance to other college members are public parties. Private gatherings that are publicly announced or advertised to college members or students in general are public parties. “Invitation only” events held in public areas are considered public parties. Parties held in college facilities but not sponsored by the college are also public parties, and are the responsibility of the host or sponsoring organization.

    12. Guidelines for College Nights, Pub Nights, Beer Bike, major parties, and similar events -- College Nights, Pub Nights, Beer Bike events, major parties and other similar events must at all times comply with alcohol laws and this Policy. Prior to an event, Masters, resident associates and the college government should agree on rules concerning alcohol consumption by students 21 and over and for preventing underage consumption and for ensuring the safety of attendees and the Rice community. For SJP approval, these rules must be consistent with alcohol laws and this Policy and must contain details for student enforcement of this Policy. Particular attention should be paid to security, safety, and well being of attendees and Rice community members, including during arrival and departure from the event as well as during the event. Major events should have advance planning that includes participation from students and relevant administrators, such as Masters, SJP, RUPD, the Rice Counseling Center, or the Wellness Center as appropriate.

    13. Disposal of Unused Alcohol -- Provisions must be made for the disposal of unused alcohol from a registered party; these details may be required by SJP before approval and/or during the follow-up process. Un-opened or partially used bottles of wine or beer or untapped kegs of beer or cider are the property of the sponsoring organization and not for personal student consumption after the event. If the sponsor is a college, storage of the unopened or unused alcohol must be arranged with the Masters for use by the college at a later time. If the sponsor is not a college, other disposal options must be decided before the event and discussed with and approved by SJP.


  1. Public Functions or Parties
    The college or organization sponsoring public parties or events at which alcohol is consumed must prevent Policy violations. The following regulations specify the steps that sponsoring organizations and colleges must take to comply with the Policy at public functions involving alcohol consumption:

    1. Register the event, obtain all required approvals, provide all required documentation, and post the approved event form where the alcohol is served, properly secure all unused alcohol before and after the event, and provide SJP the required follow-up information.

    2. SJP-certified alcohol servers must check IDs at each point and time of service where an attendee is served alcohol.

    3. Use a system of wristbands so that attendees of legal drinking age can be readily distinguished from those under age 21. SJP may specify the type of bands used and may require party hosts to report, after the event, on the distribution of bands and to return all unused bands.

    4. The sponsoring organization and host must make reasonable and consistent efforts throughout the event to ensure that underage attendees are not consuming alcohol, no one is engaging in dangerous "drinking games" or any other activity that pressures participants to consume alcohol, and that no alcohol is leaving the secure area of the event. To this end, security officials from the sponsoring organization must be on the alert for alcohol consumption by underage attendees or other Policy violations and to secure either compliance from, or the immediate departure of, anyone violating the Policy. The sponsoring organization is responsible for appropriate and adequate training of the security officials at its events, including training on IDing and wrist-banding students and dealing with Policy violations.

    5. Responsible security officials from the sponsoring organization must be present throughout the event at all entrance and exit points to ensure no unauthorized alcohol is brought into or out of the event.

    6. Visibly intoxicated persons must not be allowed either to enter an event or to remain at an event. Event security officials are responsible for Policy enforcement. RUPD should be called to assist in removing any attendees not complying with this Policy or state law.

    7. It is the responsibility of the host, security officials and College Courts to intervene, with the aid of the Masters, resident associates or RUPD if necessary, if the Policy is being violated at parties. Depending on the severity of the violation, these officials will (l) advise immediate compliance; (2) remove those individuals who fail to comply or are disruptive or abusive; or (3) shut down the event. Further disciplinary action will be taken against those who violated this Policy or the Code of Student Conduct.

    8. Students are encouraged to intervene when their fellow students violate the Policy, or if they perceive a possible threat to the health, safety or welfare of any individual.

    9. Any college, group, or organization violating this Policy (including those using large or numerous “private gatherings” to circumvent the public party provisions), is subject to significant fines by SJP. Repeat offenses, especially those that endanger others, will result in increased sanctions.
  2. Private Gatherings in the Residential Colleges
    In their private living spaces, students aged 21 or older may wish to host small gatherings that include serving alcoholic beverages to guests who are aged 21 or older. These private gatherings cannot be exempt from state laws concerning possession or consumption of alcohol, and students who privately consume or serve alcoholic beverages must always comply with Rice policies and regulations or face disciplinary sanctions. While police officers enforce state laws, they may not have a need or legal reason to enter students’ private living spaces unless a problem is apparent.

    The following rules apply only to private gatherings within the residential colleges and do not apply to any event that is or becomes a public party (see C.2.k. above for further explanation of the nature of a public party).

    1. Those hosting any private gathering with more than 5 guests at which alcohol will be served must register with the CJ (or designee) at least 24 hours in advance, providing the CJ with information about the type and amount of alcohol to be served, number of guests, time, duration, location, names of co-hosts, details about food and non-alcoholic beverages to be provided, and proof of approval by host’s roommates/suitemates. Hosts must remain present throughout a private gathering and control and monitor the service of alcohol, ensuring that no intoxicated persons are served, no alcohol leaves the gathering, guest limits are followed, directions of CJs and other college officials are followed, and care is obtained whenever needed. Students on any disciplinary probation are not permitted to host private gatherings involving alcohol.

    2. Hosts of private gatherings are held responsible for the behavior of their guests and any individuals who possess or consume alcohol in the host’s room.

    3. Upon notification, the CJ will discuss policy compliance, safety and security issues with the designated hosts, as needed.

    4. The CJ and other members of the College Court will work with the hosts regarding the safety and welfare of all persons attending a private gathering, and may shut down a private gathering at any time if these concerns are not being met, if this Policy is being violated, or if the gathering has become “public.”

    5. All private gatherings must remain truly private or be registered as public parties. Additionally, colleges that circumvent the public party requirements by allowing a significant number of private parties or large private gatherings will be sanctioned under this Policy.

    6. Private gatherings at which alcohol is served must be confined to a student room or suite and must limit the number of attendees (guests and hosts) to no more than six (6) times the number of residents assigned to the host room or suite by Rice Housing and Dining. For example, maximum attendance in a 2-person room would be 12 (2 hosts and 10 guests). The ratio of hosts to guests must be no less that 1 to 6; the number of hosts required shall be determined by the CJ.

    7. Private spaces in which private gatherings may occur are strictly confined to student bedrooms and common rooms within student residential suites. Private gatherings become public and subject to closure and/or sanction if attendees move in and out of the gathering with alcohol, if the door to the private space is propped open, or if the gathering intrudes into public space (including hallways, stairwells, lobbies, elevator lobbies, lounges, balconies, public bathrooms, courtyards, etc.).

    8. Any “crawl-stops” (whether or not they involve alcohol) are considered private gatherings, must be confined to private space, must be registered with the CJ (or designee) at least 24 hours in advance, and otherwise comply with all private gathering rules.