The purpose of this policy, in keeping with MUSC's concern for the educational and social well being of its students and the welfare of the university community, is to provide guidelines for the safe use and serving of alcoholic beverages at university sponsored events. MUSC expects those who are of legal drinking age (21 years of age) who choose to consume alcohol to do so in a mature and responsible manner. In furtherance of this expectation, MUSC offers the following guidelines, which are not meant to be exhaustive but are meant to complement and supplement common sense and are in compliance with state and federal laws.
Events Governed by this Policy
This policy governs all events where alcohol is served (including those held in establishments that have a commercial license to sell liquor, beer, or wine) that are sponsored by student groups who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Are considered “recognized” university student organizations
- Use the university and/or college name
- Receive university funds and/or collect funds in the university/college organization's name (e.g., dues)
- Sponsor an event open to the entire membership (e.g., class parties)
- Advertise an event via a public medium (e.g., e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, The Catalyst, flyers on bulletin boards)
The service and/or use of alcohol is prohibited at any student sponsored and /or hosted event that is held anywhere on MUSC’s campus.
Events governed by this policy require the submission and approval of an MUSC Student Event Approval Form. One of the purposes for the submission of the MUSC Event Approval Form is to ensure the sponsoring organization's awareness of and compliance with this policy and responsible hosting guidelines.
These approval forms are available through the Office of Student Programs or the office of the dean of the sponsoring organization's college. UNIVERSITY-WIDE EVENTS WILL REQUIRE THE APPROVAL OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT PROGRAMS. COLLEGE-SPONSORED EVENTS WILL REQUIRE THE APPROVAL OF THE DEAN OR HIS/HER DESIGNEE OF THE SPONSORING COLLEGE.
South Carolina Law
A copy of South Carolina laws related to the consumption or serving of alcoholic beverages is available in the Office of Student Programs. In summary, South Carolina law provides the following:
- It is a misdemeanor for the possession or consumption of alcohol by those individuals under twenty-one (21) years of age.
- A beer and/or alcohol license is required for the sale of alcohol. Sale of alcohol is defined to include events where the admission price includes alcohol or contributions are requested for alcoholic beverages.
- It is a violation to drink publicly on the streets or public property or to have an open container of alcohol in any vehicle.It is unlawful to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person.
The purposes of hosting guidelines are to:
- Discourage irresponsible use of alcoholic beverages.
- Encourage responsible drinking behavior for those of legal age who choose to drink.
- Minimize the potential liability of the sponsoring organization and MUSC.
The Office of Student Programs makes available to all sponsoring organizations specific suggestions/instructions for planning and managing events where alcohol will be served. This information about Responsible Hosting is available both online and in a booklet format. MUSC strongly encourages representatives from all sponsoring organizations to schedule a training session with an MUSC Student Programs’ representative. At a minimum, Responsible Hosting Guidelines should be read online or in the booklet format before event arrangements are made to ensure adherence to the guidelines.
Supervision of any event where alcoholic beverages are served will be the responsibility of the sponsoring group. These groups will assume sole responsibility for assuring that all state laws, including appropriate licensing of the event, are complied with and enforced. Failure to do so may subject the participants and sponsors to civil liability, as well as disciplinary actions by MUSC. Consumption or utilization of alcoholic beverages shall be strictly confined to the time period and area specified on the MUSC Student Event Approval Form.
Any witnessed violations of this policy shall be reported to the dean of the respective college or to the Office of Student Programs within twenty-four (24) hours of said event, or by the next working day.
The students and sponsoring organization are responsible for any property damage or personal injury resulting from the sponsored event. The sale, consumption, or possession of alcoholic beverages in an irresponsible or unlawful manner could expose the individual, student organization, and/or MUSC to liability. South Carolina law holds that the negligent sale or service of alcoholic beverages creates a civil liability. This policy, Responsible Hosting Guidelines, and the MUSC Student Event Approval Forms are mechanisms to educate students about responsible sale, service, and consumption of alcoholic beverages and the potential liability associated with the sale, service and consumption of these beverages. Adherence to these guidelines and policies does not ensure immunity from prosecution. However, sponsoring organizations participating in University approved events are normally protected by the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, and may be provided with a legal defense.
The Medical University of South Carolina, its employees and agents, do not by adoption of these guidelines and policies, or by approval of any student function, accept liability arising directly or indirectly from said event. All student groups, although affiliated with the Medical University of South Carolina, are voluntary and independent organizations and do not have the authority to enter into contractual arrangements on behalf of the university.