Alcohol Policy

Alcohol Use and Marijuana Prohibition Policy for University Events

Suffolk University is a community dedicated to the academic, professional, social, cultural and intellectual development of its members and is committed to educational and social programs that promote such development. Personal and communal responsibility with regard to the University’s alcohol and other drug policies is essential in ensuring that Suffolk’s environment is conducive to student learning and development. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be accepted as an excuse for conduct that violates the Community Standards or other University policies. Those believed to have violated this policy will be referred to the Student Conduct System (CAS & SBS students), the Law School Student Disciplinary Procedure (Law Students) or Human Resources (Employees.)

Suffolk University requires the observance of all laws and regulations that pertain to alcoholic beverages and other controlled substances as outlined in federal, state and municipal laws. It is the responsibility of all members of the University community to be familiar with and to comply with these laws.

No marijuana products may be served or used at University events (see the University’s Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act - Student Notification.)

University Regulations for Events with Alcohol

The regulations for use of alcoholic beverages at programs and events sponsored at the University and/or by University departments and organizations are designed to allow for the responsible use of alcoholic beverages while providing safeguards for the University and its faculty, staff and students.

Scope of this policy:

This policy applies to events held on the Boston campus of Suffolk University and certain university events held off-campus events as defined below.


A university event shall mean any gathering sponsored by university offices, departments or organizations using university funds (including those derived by student activity fees) and/or purporting to represent the normal functions of the university, including but not limited to academic fora, student recruitment, advancement, and student life.

On-campus shall mean any building or open space owned or leased by Suffolk University.

Off-campus shall mean venues or spaces not otherwise owned or leased by Suffolk University.

1. Registration of Events

All on-campus University events with alcohol must be registered as follows:

  • With the exception of events sponsored by student organizations in the Law School, all events with alcohol shall be registered through the University Conference and Events Office as part of the process for obtaining alcohol through the University's caterer as required in section 6, below.
  • Events Sponsored by student organizations in the law school must be approved by, and registered with, the Law School Dean of Students Office via the Alcohol Registration Form. 
  • Additional registration may be required as determined by applicable University offices.

Registration of events is required on the following schedule:

Events where alcohol is served but not sold: 3 days in advance
Events where alcohol is sold: 14 days in advance.

The University Conference and Events office, or the Law School Dean of Students Office, as appropriate, shall inform SUPD of all registered events with alcohol.

2. Staffing Requirements for Events

All on-campus University Events with alcohol must be staffed by the University caterer. In addition, all events sponsored by student groups where alcoholic beverages are served or sold must have a designated host who is considered the individual responsible for the event. The name of the designated host must be provided as a part of the registration.

The designated host must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age. In the case of student clubs and organizations, the designated host will usually be the staff or faculty advisor to that student group. In the case of the Law School, the host will be the person so designated by the governing body of the organization. The designated host agrees to assume the following responsibilities:

  • Act as the responsible overseer of the event in general.
  • Remain at the event for its duration.
  • Cooperate with any investigation of a violation of this policy and other applicable University policies by the Suffolk University Police or University administrator. This includes providing written accounts of any incident observed by or reported to the designated host.

3. Events Requiring University Police Detail

Based on a review of the event and expected attendance during the registration process, University Police may assign officers to events (on-campus or off-campus) at which alcohol is available. The SUPD Chief of Police (or designee) and/or the University Risk Manager shall determine whether a police detail will be required for any event where alcohol is served. The cost of the Police Detail is the responsibility of the office or group hosting the event.

4. Athletic Events

Use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited at all athletic events, both intercollegiate and intramural.

5. Recruitment Events

Alcoholic beverages may not be served at undergraduate recruitment events. This exclusion does not apply to undergraduate admission events at which the majority of attendees are over the age of 21.

6. Events Sponsored by Student Organizations

Because student groups are funded, in total or in part, by student activity fees, special attention must be given to any use of those funds for the purchase of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, alcohol may not be served at an event sponsored by a student organization in the Sawyer Business School, College of Arts and Sciences (including the Student Government Association, Graduate Student Association, and MPA Association), or by the Student Bar Association (SBA) of the Law School, as well as those student organizations the SBA funds, unless an exception is made for one or more of the following reasons:

a. The event is specifically designed for a student population over 21 years of age; or

b. The Office of Student Leadership and Involvement or Law School Dean of Students, working in conjunction with the Office of Risk Management, provides written approval of the event and its sponsor agrees to comply with the regulations in this document covering events with alcohol.

7. Obtaining the Alcohol to be Served

Alcohol served at on-campus events must be purchased through the University’s caterer. Donations of alcohol for events must be approved in advance by the Office of Risk Management and the University caterer. The University caterer must serve any donated alcohol.

8. Type of Alcohol

Events on-campus approved for alcoholic beverages (whether served or sold) must limit the alcoholic beverages to beer and wine. The Office of Risk Management may allow an exception to the beer and wine limitation for events where the majority of attendees are non-students and over the age of 21.

9. Prohibition on Marijuana Products

No marijuana products may be served or used at on-campus or off-campus University events (see the University’s Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act - Student Notification.)

10. Prohibition on Rapid Consumption Devices and Drinking Games

The use of devices intended for rapid consumption of alcohol, including but not limited to funnels, vaporizers, and beer bongs is prohibited. Drinking games are also prohibited.

11. Time Limits on Serving Alcohol at On-campus Events

On-campus functions where alcoholic beverages are served at no charge are to have a serving time limit of two (2) hours. Exceptions to this apply in the following cases:

  • Dinner functions may have a serving time of up to (4) hours;
  • Law School functions designed to serve both day and evening students may have a serving time of four (4) hours to allow faculty and students of both divisions to attend.

On-Campus functions where alcohol is sold are to have a serving time limit of four (4) hours.

12. Sale of Alcohol at On-Campus Events

Any on-campus event at which alcohol will be sold must be arranged through the University’s caterer and the University caterer must staff the event. Additional fees for the required temporary alcohol sale license will apply. The minimum price for a serving of beer shall be $5 and minimum price for a serving of wine shall be $6. An individual will only be allowed to purchase two alcoholic beverages at one time.

13. Event Location, Disposal and Removal of Alcohol

On-campus events with alcohol may only take place in commonly used function space where food and beverages may be served. Event space must be reserved through the Office of Conferences and Events. All alcohol in opened containers must remain in the approved event location and must be disposed of at the conclusion of the event. Under no circumstances may left over alcohol be removed at the conclusion of the event by guests.

14. Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

  • Non-alcoholic beverages, in addition to water, must be available at the same place and for the same duration of time as the alcoholic beverages. For on-campus events, free non-alcoholic beverages must be available.
  • Food items such as snack food, hors d’oeuvres or full meals must be available for the entire time that alcoholic beverages are being served. If the alcoholic beverages are available at no charge, the food items must be free as well.

15. Advertisement and Promotion of Events with Alcohol

  • Alcoholic beverages may not be used to promote or induce potential members to attend any membership programs of any club, athletic team, organization, fraternity, sorority or other university group.
  •  Alcohol consumption contests are not permitted.
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be given as a contest or competition prize.
  • Unless granted an exception by the Conference and Events Office or Law Dean of Students Office (for law student events), advertisements for events shall not mention the availability of alcoholic beverages. Promotional materials will not make references to the quantity of beverages (such as number of kegs of beer) nor mention “open bar” or the availability of “drink tickets.”

16. Establishing Proof of Age for Events with Alcohol

A. On-campus Events: Individuals who are twenty-one years of age and older who wish to consume alcoholic beverages at approved on-campus events must present proof of age by providing a valid driver’s license, a valid passport or other government-issued identification.

Following the establishment of drinking age, a wristband may be affixed to the individual’s wrist as identification for the purpose of consuming alcohol.

For events where most guests are reasonably expected to be over the age of 21, an acceptable form of identification will be used to determine that drinking age has been established.

B. Off-campus Events: Where an event is held at a venue supplying alcohol to attendees, the University will confirm that the venue checks for proof of age. For events held at a venue where the University supplies the alcohol, the University will follow the procedures for on campus events as detailed in paragraph 16. A.

17. Off-campus University Events

A. Off-campus University events with alcohol that are supported by University funds, including those sponsored by student organizations, must comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including the University’s contract process

B. The Office of Student Leadership and Involvement or Law School Dean of Students Office, working in conjunction with the Office of Risk Management, may establish additional rules and procedures for Off-campus University events sponsored by student organizations

C. In accordance with paragraph 3 of this policy, off-campus University events may be subject to staffing by Suffolk University Police

D. In accordance with paragraph 19 of this policy, Off-campus University events not sponsored by student organizations and not intended for student attendees may be excepted from portions of this policy by the Office of Risk Management

18. Non-University Groups Hosting Events with Alcohol On-Campus

In order to serve alcohol at an event being held at the University, non-University groups must comply with all use-of-space policies and requirements of Suffolk University. Non-University groups should consult with the University Conference and Events Office for more information. The SUPD Chief of Police (or designee) and/or the University Risk Manager reserve the authority to require an SUPD police detail at events held by non-University groups.

19. Exceptions to this policy; clarifications

The University Risk Manager, in consultation with appropriate University Administrators, may grant exceptions to the policy in extraordinary circumstances. In situations where it is unclear how this policy related to a certain event, the University Risk Manager, in consultation with appropriate University Administrators, shall determine how the matter is to be resolved. In both situations, the decision by the University Risk Manager is final and not subject to appeal.

Policy Revised January 2007; August 2019; August 2021

Policy Created October 1991.