AD18 Possession, Use and Distribution of Alcoholic Beverages
Subject Matter Expert:
Policy Steward:Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff>
- AUTHORIZATION TO POSSESS, USE OR DISTRIBUTE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ON UNIVERSITY PROPERTY OR AT A UNIVERSITY-SPONSORED EVENT
- CASH BARS AND SIMILAR ARRANGEMENTS ON UNIVERSITY PROPERTY AND AT UNIVERSITY-SPONSORED EVENTS
- RULES FOR SERVING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
- FURTHER INFORMATION
- CROSS REFERENCES
The possession, use, distribution, and sale of Alcoholic Beverages is prohibited upon the property of The Pennsylvania State University unless specifically authorized in accordance with this Policy. Where such possession, use, distribution and/or sale is authorized, strict compliance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is required.
Alcoholic Beverages: Beer, wine, liquor, or any other drinks that are considered "alcoholic beverages" by the PLCB.
Licensed Premises: University-owned, occupied, or leased property licensed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ("PLCB") to buy, keep, and sell Alcoholic Beverages to guests, patrons, or members for consumption in designated areas. The Licensed Premises are, the Penn State Golf Courses and any other location approved by the Board of Trustees of the University and licensed by the PLCB.
Licensed Public Venues: University-owned, occupied, or leased property licensed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ("PLCB") as a "public venue". The Licensed Public Venues are the Bryce Jordan Center ("BJC"), Beaver Stadium, Pegula Ice Arena and any other University location approved by the University's Board of Trustees and licensed by the PLCB as a "public venue."
Minor: anyone who is not of legal age (21 years) to consume alcohol.
PLCB: The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Public Event: Any event at a Licensed Public Venue at which Alcoholic Beverages are sold to the general public.
University Property: all property owned, occupied, or leased by The Pennsylvania State University or its subsidiaries.
University-Sponsored Event: an event, function or activity for which University funds are paying all or a portion of the cost of the event sponsored by the University or a University department, organization, or group. For purposes of this Policy, a University-Sponsored Event does not include a Public Event.
This Policy applies to University Property and any University-Sponsored events hosted at University Park (including tailgates at Penn State home football games paid from University Funds), or other locations including the Commonwealth Campuses, Dickinson Law, and the College of Medicine. However, this Policy shall NOT apply to (1) the PSU Licensed Premises, (2) Public Events, (3) Public Tailgating at Penn State home football games, (4) Penn State Health and its subsidiaries, (5) events held at the Nittany Lion Inn or The Penn Stater, or (6) residents and guests of Schreyer House, each of which are subject to separate policies and procedures with respect to the possession, use, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages.
The University assumes no responsibility for any liability of any nature arising from the use, possession, distribution and/or sale of alcoholic beverages on University Property or at any University-Sponsored Event pursuant to any permission for such use, possession, distribution and/or sale granted by the University under this Policy. Any person not in the course of their University employment receiving permission or approval under this Policy to use, possess, distribute or sell alcoholic beverages on University Property or at any University-Sponsored Event shall indemnify and hold harmless the University from any liability, damage or claim, including counsel fees, arising from such use, possession, distribution and/or sale, pursuant to a written agreement in form and substance satisfactory to the Contracts Unit of the Office of Procurement Services.
The possession, use and distribution of Alcoholic Beverages on University Property or at a University-Sponsored Event is prohibited unless prior authorization is obtained from the appropriate Authorizing Official or their delegate. The University's Authorizing Officials are:
- The Dean or Unit Budget Executive for the possession, use and distribution of Alcoholic Beverages at the University Park campus.
- The Dean of the College of Medicine for the possession, use and distribution of Alcoholic Beverages at the College of Medicine.
- The Chancellor of the Commonwealth Campus with respect to events held at such campus.
Permission to use, possess or distribute Alcoholic Beverages on University Property or at a University-Sponsored Event will not be granted to:
- Non-University groups or organizations using University facilities under University Policy AD02 Non-University Groups Using University Facilities, unless a written exception is granted by the policy steward.
- Undergraduate student groups or other organizations of which, by the nature of the organization, most of the members in the group or organization are under the age of twenty-one years.
If permission is granted, possession, use and distribution of Alcoholic Beverages must also be in compliance with policy FN10 Other Business Expenses and Activities.
The sale of Alcoholic Beverages on University Property or at University-Sponsored Events is prohibited unless prior approval is obtained as set forth herein. All approved sale of Alcoholic Beverages on University Property or at University-Sponsored Events shall comply with this Policy, applicable law and any other rules, regulations, policies, or procedures established by the Chief Risk Officer or their delegate.
AUTHORIZATION TO POSSESS, USE OR DISTRIBUTE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ON UNIVERSITY PROPERTY OR AT A UNIVERSITY-SPONSORED EVENT
A sponsoring academic or administrative department using Catering@PennState only needs the approval of their departments authorizing official and does not need to complete any other requests for the event. However, when the department hires an organization that is not affiliated with the University, they should use the following self-assessment to ensure proper risk mitigation is in place. If any part of the risk mitigation is missing, an email will be sent to the Office of Risk Management from the form, and someone from that office will reach out to help the department obtain the appropriate information. The form can be found at Alcohol on Campus Self-Assessment Form.
A sponsoring academic or administrative department, group, or unit (a "Sponsoring Unit") may seek permission to have Alcoholic Beverages at a University-Sponsored event after discussing the event with their Dean, Chancellor, or Unit Budget executive. If alcohol is not being served by Catering@PennState, the Alcoholic Beverage Self-Assessment should be completed prior to the event. The form can be found at Alcohol on Campus Self-Assessment Form.
All events on University Property associated with the University Park campus (including Rock Springs, Stone Valley and other facilities) must utilize Catering@PennState to serve and sell Alcoholic Beverages as part of a "cash bar" or catered event. No (third party) other liquor licensee is permitted to sell Alcoholic Beverages on University property without the proper license and vetting by the Office of Risk Management or the Office of General Counsel to ensure compliance with Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board laws.
University-Sponsored Events at any other University location (i.e., locations not affiliated with the University Park campus) may use a non-University liquor licensee to provide a "cash bar" or similar arrangement. The licensee must provide a certificate of liquor liability insurance and warrant that they are using RAMP certified bartenders.
The following parameters apply to any event occurring on University Property or at any University-Sponsored Event occurring at another location:
- The person requesting the event is responsible for the conduct of the attendees and must remind students of the Student Code of Conduct prior to the event (if applicable).
- Persons under the age of 21 years may not purchase, consume, possess, or be served Alcoholic Beverages. It is the responsibility of the person(s) distributing Alcoholic Beverages to determine the age of the recipient.
- If more than 50% of the attendee are under the age of 21, the event should be held without alcohol.
- No Alcoholic Beverages may be furnished to a person who appears to be intoxicated.
- Non-alcoholic beverage alternatives must be available at all events.
- Only unrestricted gift funds, or specific restricted funds, can be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.
- All bartenders must be RAMP certified per the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) requirements.
- Alcoholic beverages may be provided at employee events and paid from unrestricted gift funds ONLY when the event is sponsored and attended by the Unit Budget Executive or their delegate. Otherwise, an exception must be granted by the Dean or Unit Budget Executive (for University Park events) or by the Chancellor (for Commonwealth Campus events). The written exception must be memorialized via an email approval.
- All alcoholic beverages must be purchased in Pennsylvania, per the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB).
- Even if alcoholic beverages are being paid for personally (including at a Bring Your Own Bottle or “BYOB” event) or by a third party, if any part of the event (all or a portion) is being paid for by the University, then the Alcoholic Beverage Self-Assessment should be completed.
- At a Licensed Facility - If a University-Sponsored Event is held at a licensed facility (e.g., hotel, restaurant, club, winery holding a valid liquor license), bartender services must be provided by the facility. All agreements relating to such an event must be reviewed by the Contracts Unit in the Office of Procurement and signed by someone with signature authority as required by University Policy FN11, Contracts and Leases.
- At an Unlicensed Facility - If a University-Sponsored Event is being held at an unlicensed facility (e.g., hotel/restaurant/club without a valid liquor license, personal residence, or other facility that does not offer catering or bartending services) then the following rules apply:
- If a caterer is used and the caterer will provide and/or serve Alcoholic Beverages, then the caterer must have appropriate liquor liability insurance if they are serving alcoholic beverages.
Persons, organizations, or groups possessing, using, distributing, or selling Alcoholic Beverages in violation of this Policy, or in violation of the laws of the Commonwealth, will be referred to the appropriate administrative disciplinary mechanism and/or law enforcement officials.
The Chief Risk Officer or their delegate is responsible for the administration of this policy.
For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Risk Management Office or the Chief Risk Officer.
Other documents should also be referenced, especially the following:
FN10 - Other Business Expenses and Activities
Most recent changes:
- October 1, 2023: Structural changes to the policy, moving responsibility for approving events with alcohol from the Office of Risk Management to the Unit Budget Executive.
Revision History (and effective dates):
- November 4, 2022 - Added "or delegate" to the sixth bullet point under Rules for Serving Alcoholic Beverages, For All Events so that either the United Budget Executive or a delegate must attend the event.
- December 13, 2021 - Editorial changes to clarify the Scope of the policy, update job titles and department names, and update Rules (to align with Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board terminology and regulations).July 18, 2018 - Editorial change to update the links to the Risk Management Guidelines for Alcoholic Beverages and the Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages form.
August 8, 2017 - the definition of an University-Sponsored Event was expanded to include an event, function or activity for which University funds are paying all or a portion of the cost of the event. Also, the For University-Sponsored Events Held Off University Premises section was condensed.
- July 17, 2017 - Major edits have been made throughout the entire policy to reflect current operations.
- March 17, 2015 - Editorial changes to better clarify the appropriate use and handling of alcoholic beverages on Penn State property. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
- December 4, 2009 - Revisions made to bring policy in sync with changes to the Permission To Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages Form, as well as operational changes (University Risk Manager now approves requests instead of Senior Vice President for Finance and Business).
- October 23, 2001 - Minor editorial corrections: 'Milton S. Hershey Hershey Medical Center' changed to 'Milton S. Hershey Medical Center,' and link added for request form.
- September 21, 2001 - Added requirement to have approval of requesting area's budget executive prior to final executive approval for alcohol use in designated areas.
- March 6, 1998 - Updated position titles.
- July 1, 1997 - Updated office and position titles.
- July 8, 1994 - Updated office and position titles; made the Vice President for Business and Operations, in place of the Senior Vice president for Administration, responsible for the administration of this policy.
- January 17, 1989 - Updated office and position titles.
- April 12, 1985 - Under AREAS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC section, changed Vice President for Student Affairs to Senior Vice President for Administration.
- September 14, 1985 - Position title changes.
- September 9, 1982 - New policy.
Date Approved:October 1, 2023>
Date Published:August 8, 2017>