UMTC Alcohol Policies
University Policy: The Board of Regents has established an alcohol policy that prohibits the unlawful or unauthorized use, possession, distribution, consumption, promotion, marketing, or sale of alcoholic beverages on University property or as part of any University activity. Violation of the University policy by a student will be adjudicated in accordance with the Student Conduct Code.
Housing & Residential Life Policy: It is the responsibility of individual residents to know, understand, and comply with existing state and local statutes, codes, and regulations relating to the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Violators of the regulations must accept full individual responsibility for their actions and cannot expect the University to provide them with immunity from civil or criminal prosecution. In no case will intoxication be considered as a defense in a judicial proceeding.
Alcohol is strictly prohibited in all residence halls, except for Centennial Hall, Mark G. Yudof Hall, Wilkins Hall, and University Village. This means that even if residents or guests are 21 years or older, they cannot consume or possess alcoholic beverages.
Parental Notification at the University of Minnesota: At a number of colleges and universities across the country, parents are notified when their student violates the school's alcohol policy. Based on the federal data privacy law, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), colleges and universities may, but are not required, to report alcohol and some other policy violations to parents. The University of Minnesota has decided to notify parents in only some instances for several reasons:
- A commitment to educational, rather than punitive, interventions as a first step to work with students to understand and modify their choices related to alcohol.
- Concern that students will not call for help when their friend is in distress as a result of drinking because "we didn't want to get him in trouble" or "she said her parents would freak." In 2013, the State of Minnesota passed a Medical Amnesty bill, granting underage drinkers protection from minor consumption citations if they call 911 in a medical emergency.
- The range in severity of alcohol violations: a student in a room where drinking takes place is violating alcohol policy but may not be drinking.
- There is conflicting evidence nationally about the success of parent notification in curbing alcohol use and abuse.
- Parent notification policies can create a false sense of security. Parents may believe that they will be notified if there is a problem, but the reality is that a first-time drinking incident can be fatal. We believe proactive discussions between parents and students are more effective than waiting until after a first incident.
- Judicial procedures include discussion with the student about family expectations and may include having the student notify parents about their drinking violation.
- While we might have information about violations that occur on campus, we do not have information about violations that occur off campus. There are concerns that parent notification policies might cause students in distress to leave the residence halls, raising the danger of less supervision and opportunity for intervention.
At the University of Minnesota, parent notification is not made for most alcohol violations, but parents will be contacted when there is a concern that the student poses a threat to him/herself or to someone else, or if they exhibit a pattern of behavior that poses a threat to their student success. The decision to contact parents is usually made following a meeting between the student and the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or his designate.
Off-campus behaviors: In recent years, community residents living near the University have expressed increasing concern about alcohol use in the neighborhoods by young adults. Both St. Paul and Minneapolis have open container ordinances, prohibiting the consumption or possession of an open container of alcohol in any public place or on private property without the owner's consent. That means students will be cited for walking around campus or in surrounding neighborhoods if they are carrying an open can or bottle of beer or alcohol. Being over 21 will not prevent receiving a citation.
A Minneapolis ordinance calls for fines for guests at "unruly parties," whether the individual is drinking or not. A stepped fine is enacted for subsequent violations, and the host of a party as well as the landlord can receive additional charges and fines.
Fraternities and Sororities: Parents often worry about drinking in the fraternities and sororities. The National Panhellenic Conference, the governing body for all sororities, has determined that all sorority chapter houses will be dry (alcohol is not allowed in sorority houses). In addition, some national fraternities have determined that their chapter houses will be dry.
Student: "The common misperception is that the Greek community does a lot of partying and there's a lot of drinking. In reality, we spend a lot of time educating our chapter members and other members of the Greek community on alcohol awareness. We do several workshops and other educational events throughout the year. So, we really focus a lot on making sure to educate our chapter members on alcohol related issues and it's a strong focus for us."
The U of M Interfraternity and Panhellenic Council has developed an alcohol and risk management policy, which specifies
- Recruitment events cannot include alcohol.
- At chapter parties, alcohol possession and consumption must be in compliance with national and local laws; no hard liquor may be present; no common container (kegs, party balls, etc.) may be present; a monitor must confirm age identification and differentiate those who are 21 and older from those who are underage.
- Representatives from each chapter must attend an alcohol awareness training session at least once per semester.
Student: "And in terms of risk management, obviously there's a big perception that the fraternities and sororities are all about alcohol, but in reality we have very strict guidelines and policies on alcohol risk management. When we do have big events, there is always a security guard at all of the fraternities as well as several sober people and others from the inter-fraternity council who will regulate the parties."
Student: "Just on a chapter level, within individual chapters, I know my own chapter has a Chapter's Relations and Standards Board that is used any time there's any issue within the chapter, um particularly an alcohol related issue. So if there is an instance that arises where someone has been irresponsible or made a bad choice in regards to drinking, um that issue will not only be addressed on the Panhellenic level, but also on a chapter level. Um generally what will happen is someone would be called into Chapter Relations and Standards and the issue would be talked about and there would generally be some sort of consequence that is given to the chapter member who made a poor choice. Whether it's an apology or a community service activity or something for the chapter, um there would be some sort of consequence given. And then the Chapter's Relations and Standards Board would follow up with that member of the chapter in order to make sure that this person is on the right track and has learned from their mistake. And that they are moving forward and making better choices."