Administrative Policies

AD18 Possession, Use and Distribution of Alcoholic Beverages

Policy Status: 

Active

Subject Matter Expert: 

Chief Risk Officer

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Administration

Contents

GENERAL

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.

DEFINITIONS

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 Stater Hotel and Conference Center, the Nittany Lion Inn, 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."

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.

SCOPE

This Policy applies to University Property and any University-Sponsored events hosted at University Park (including tailgates at Penn State home football games), or other locations including the Commonwealth Campuses, Dickinson Law School, 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, or (5) 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 alcoholibeverages.

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 Risk Management Office.

AUTHORIZATIONS

Possession, Use and Distribution of Alcoholic Beverages

The possession, use and distribution of Alcoholic Beverages on University Property or at a University-Sponsored Event is prohibited unless prior authorization is obtained, in writing, from the appropriate Authorizing Official. The University's Authorizing Officials are:

  1. The Chief Risk Officer for the possession, use and distribution of Alcoholic Beverages at the University Park campus;
  2. The Dean of the College of Medicine for the possession, use and distribution of Alcoholic Beverages at the College of Medicine; and
  3. The Chancellor of the Commonwealth Campus with respect to events held at such campus.
  4. The Chief Risk Officer will have final review and approval of all “Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages” request forms.

Permission to use, possess or distribute Alcoholic Beverages on University Property or at a University-Sponsored Event will not be granted to:

  1. Non-University groups or organizations using University facilities under University Policy AD02, unless a written exception is granted by the Chief Risk Officer and/or the Senior VP of Finance & Business.
  2. 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, including Risk Management Guidelines for Alcoholic Beverages.

Sale of Alcoholic Beverages

The sale of Alcoholic Beverages on University Property or at University-Sponsored Events is prohibited unless prior written 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

REQUESTING AUTHORIZATION TO POSSESS, USE OR DISTRIBUTE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ON UNIVERSITY PROPERTY OR AT A UNIVERSITY-SPONSORED EVENT

A sponsoring academic or administrative department, group or unit (a "Sponsoring Unit") may seek permission to have Alcoholic Beverages at a University-Sponsored event by submitting the "Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages Form" to its applicable budget executive. If the budget executive approves the event, the individual responsible for organizing the event (the "Event Sponsor") shall forward a Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages Form to the appropriate Authorizing Official at least thirty days prior to the scheduled event. Prior to granting approval to use Alcoholic Beverages, the Authorizing Official will determine the nature of the function, the type of alcoholic and alternate beverages to be provided, and the conditions under which such beverages will be made available to ensure that the availability of Alcoholic Beverages is appropriate for the function.

The Event Sponsor or his or her designee shall consult with the Vice President for Student Affairs prior to submitting the Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages Form if the event is proposed to be held in a facility or area generally used for undergraduate non-academic functions at the University Park campus (e.g., the Hetzel Union Building, dining halls, Robeson Cultural Center, etc.), and with respect to any other events in which undergraduate students may be present. The Event Sponsor shall consult with the Director of Student Affairs/Director of Student Enrollment Services for that campus prior to submitting the Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages Form if the event is proposed to be held in an area generally used for undergraduate non-academic functions at the Commonwealth Campuses.  Events which include undergraduate students are precluded from serving alcohol unless approved by the VP of Student Affairs or the Chief Student Affairs Officer at Commonwealth Campuses.

CASH BARS AND SIMILAR ARRANGEMENTS ON UNIVERSITY PROPERTY AND AT UNIVERSITY-SPONSORED EVENTS

All events on University Property associated with the University Park campus (including Rock Springs, Stone Valley and other facilities) must utilize Penn State Hospitality Services or BJC Catering to serve and sell Alcoholic Beverages as part of a "cash bar" or catered event. No other liquor licensee is permitted to sell Alcoholic Beverages on University property.

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. Non-University liquor licensees must be pre-approved by the Risk Management Office.

RULES FOR SERVING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

For all Events

The following parameters apply to any event occurring on University Property or at any University-Sponsored Event occurring at another location:

  • 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.
  • No Alcoholic Beverages may be furnished to a person who appears to be intoxicated.
  • Non-alcoholic beverage alternatives must be available at all events.
  • Alcoholic Beverages should not be served or ordered prior to 3:00 p.m. on a business day (Monday-Friday).
  • Only unrestricted gift funds, or specific restricted funds, can be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.
  • 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.  Otherwise, an exception must be granted by the  Chief Risk Officer (for University Park events) or by the VP for Commonwealth Campuses (for Commonwealth Campus events).  The written exception approval must be submitted with the AD18 “Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages” form.
  • 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 an AD18 “Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages” form must be completed and a RAMP-trained bartender used to serve the alcoholic beverages.

For University-Sponsored Events Held Off University Premises

  1. 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 event must be approved by the Risk Management Office prior to the event. If approved, the Risk Management Office will forward the agreement for a signature by an authorized University official, as required by University Policy FN11, Contracts and Leases.

  2. 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 (even if caterer is not supplying the Alcoholic Beverages).
  3. The Procurement Services Office maintains a list of caterers that have been accepted and which have demonstrated adequate liquor liability coverage. For a list of accepted caterers with such coverage, please visit the Risk Management web page (note: only those listed with a "yes" under "liquor liability" have evidenced sufficient coverage to the Risk Management Office).
    • If a caterer is used and will not be supplying or serving Alcoholic Beverages, then liquor liability insurance is not required. However, the University unit sponsoring the event must procure a RAMP-trained bartender to serve any Alcoholic Beverages as follows:
      • A RAMP-trained bartender is an individual who has completed a PLCB-recognized training program for alcohol management and safety (e.g., "Responsible Alcohol Management Program").  RAMP certification and training is the only bartender training program that is acceptable to the PLCB and therefore it is also the only bartender certification and training accepted by the University.
      • Proof of RAMP certification or training must be submitted along with the "Permission to Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages Form" for all trained bartenders except for those obtained through Penn State Hospitality Services or BJC Catering.
      • It is strongly preferred that University units use Penn State Hospitality Services or BJC Catering or a trained bartender who has liquor liability insurance coverage in an amount not less than $1,000,000 with the University designated as an additional insured. Insurance certificates from the trained bartender must be sent to the Risk Management Office for review and approval prior to the Event.
      • If Penn State Hospitality Services or BJC Catering is not used and a University unit is unable to arrange for a trained bartender with adequate liquor liability insurance, then the unit may use an employee who is a RAMP-trained bartender for the event. Unless it is a requirement for their position, the University will not reimburse employees for the cost of obtaining training.
    • If the only alcoholic beverage being served at a University-Sponsored Event is one (1) glass of wine with a meal, or if 20 people or less are attending the event, then no trained bartender is required.

ENFORCEMENT

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 and Risk Management Office are responsible for the administration of this policy.

FURTHER INFORMATION

For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Risk Management Office or the Chief Risk Officer.

CROSS REFERENCES

Other documents should also be referenced, especially the following:

Alcoholic Beverages Decision Tool

FN10 - Other Business Expenses and Activities

Permission To Possess/Use Alcoholic Beverages form

Most recent changes:

  • 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).

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • 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: 

August 7, 2017

Date Published: 

August 8, 2017

Effective Date: 

August 9, 2017