students walking on campus

Alcohol Policy & Guidelines Highlights

Policy Highlights

“Liability” Section: 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. S.C. 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 SC Tort Claims Act, and may be provided with legal defense.

“Approval” Section: Events governed by this policy require the submission and approval of a MUSC Student Alcohol Service Policy Form. One of the purposes for the submission of this form is to ensure the sponsoring organization’s awareness of and compliance with this policy and responsible hosting guidelines. University-wide events will require the approval of the Executive Director of Student Engagement. College-sponsored events will require the approval of the Dean or his/her designee of the sponsoring College.

SC Laws Related To Service Of Alcohol

  • It is a misdemeanor for the possession or consumption of alcohol by those individuals under 21 years of age.
  • A beer and/or alcohol license is required for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
  • 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.

Responsible Hosting Guidelines & Strategies Highlights

Obtaining A Temporary License

  • The faculty advisor must apply for the Temporary License and complete a SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) check. There is a $25 fee for a SLED check
  • Applications are available in the Office of Student Engagement
  • The application must be signed by the City of Charleston Police Department's designee
  • Allow 4 weeks for processing
  • 5 percent admissions tax will be collected from event admission proceeds if the Office of Student Engagement admissions license is used to acquire temporary license and a tax liability is created
  • Please Note: A Temporary License is not needed if the event will be held in a licensed facility, e.g. Salty Mike’s, Trio Club

Promoting the Event

  • Emphasize features of the event other than alcohol service

Supervising the Event

  • Designate “event supervisor(s)” who will abstain from drinking
  • Good option: hire off-duty MUSC Public Safety officers. Contact Major Simmons, 843-792-6207, at least (1) week in advance.

Managing the Door

  • Greet guests to assure that there are no party crashers or intoxicated guests and to identify guests who are under 21
  • Have a system for noting guests who are not 21. Wristbands are recommended
  • Promote safety by emphasizing that guests should not drink and drive. Have a plan that is publicized for helping guests who have had too much to drink get home safely

Managing the Bar

  • Do not serve alcohol to anyone who is underage or intoxicated
  • Hire professional bartenders to insure that reasonable drinks are distributed and to identify underage/intoxicated guests
  • Limit alcohol service to 3 hours and close the bar 30 to 60 minutes before the event is over
  • Consider slowing down consumption with a cash bar or limited drink tickets
  • Have a reasonable amount of alcohol for the crowd you anticipate (see “Party Pack”, Page 4)

Serving Non-Alcoholic Beverages

  • Have a variety of non-alcoholic beverages available
  • Make non-alcoholic beverages appealing and easily accessible
  • Keep in mind that 30 percent of the population does not drink alcoholic beverages

Serving Food

  • Focus on food and have plenty of it
  • Avoid foods that stimulate thirst, e.g. potato chips
  • Emphasize high protein foods as they slow down absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream

Creating the Right Climate 

  • Have some entertainment besides the bar
  • Help guests be socially comfortable at your events

Getting Home Safely

  • Do not let guests consume alcohol right before they leave the party
  • Do your best to assess guests level of impairment as they leave the party
  • Never let an impaired guest drive home
  • Have a plan for helping impaired guests get home safely. Options include: designating group members who will provide transportation; calling a taxi, even better yet, making pre-arrangements with a taxi company to deliver an impaired guest home safely and billing your organization, rather than charging the individual; and prearranging transportation to and from your event through a local business

Effects of Alcohol On The Body (see “Guidelines & Strategies”)

  • Signs of intoxication
  • Factors determining alcohol absorption & individual characteristics
  • Other factors including food and drugs/medications

To read the full Alcohol Service Policy please click here.