Alcohol Philosophy Statements
The university and its students and employees have a responsibility to ensure that alcohol beverages are consumed legally and responsibly at all university events. Alcohol is a regulated and potentially addictive sedative-hypnotic drug. As such, it is a central nervous system depressant. This depressant effect occurs even with small doses. Because the consumption of alcohol anesthetizes the brain centers for self-control and inhibition, most people experience its effects as a sensation of relaxation. However, in actuality, it dulls sensation and impairs judgment, vision, memory, and coordination. Because of these effects, the presence, availability, dispensing or consumption of alcohol beverages at university events should be thoughtfully considered and, when provided, carefully monitored and regulated.
In adopting and administering UW-Madison--Specific Alcohol Beverage Regulations, the following statements provide guidance concerning the circumstances in which consumption of alcohol beverages may be considered appropriate:
Alcohol beverages are considered an amenity for a social or business occasion and never the purpose or focus of the occasion.
Alcohol beverages normally are not served or consumed in academic, administrative, or research areas during usual business hours.
The preferred locations for service and consumption of alcohol beverages are social, recreational and dining facilities, such as program facilities of the Wisconsin Union, the Division of University Housing, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, the University Club, and UW-Madison Conference Centers.
With the minimum legal drinking age, a substantial portion of the undergraduate student body cannot legally consume alcohol beverages, and therefore it is ordinarily inappropriate to permit service and consumption of alcohol beverages at an event primarily attended by undergraduates. For other events, alcohol beverages should only be served at events when at least 2/3 of the anticipated attendees are expected to be of the minimum legal drinking age.
UW-Madison - Specific Alcohol Beverage Regulations
- Unless expressly permitted under Regulations II, IV, or IV, use or consumption of alcohol beverages and possession of an open container which contains an alcohol beverage are prohibited on all University lands, all University-owned or leased facilities, and at all University events. This policy is applicable to University events held both on and off campus. This ban extends to all areas within buildings, such as laboratories, individual and group offices, meeting facilities, and public areas.
- If an event takes place in buildings or locations where the University does not own or lease the space used, the ban extends to the areas and period of time used by representatives of the University for the event. The ban also extends to all modes of transportation used for a University event where the University controls the arrangements for and the transportation used.
- Subject to minimum legal drinking age restrictions and the UW-Madison Alcohol Philosophy, a person may use, possess and consume alcohol beverages, as follows:
- At events where alcohol beverages are provided by the licensed food and beverage service operations of the Wisconsin Union, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, and/or the Division of University Housing (See Regulation III and VI);
- At off campus events, where alcohol sales and/or service is provided by a hotel, restaurant, caterer or other venue that has an appropriate license;
- In University Housing per policies established by Division of University Housing (See Regulation V and VI);
- Within designated areas of the Kemp Natural Resources Station per policies established by the Kemp Natural Resources Station (See Regulation V);
- At home football games and other designated special events approved by the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics within University-owned, leased, or controlled parking areas designated for alcohol consumption, provided the person has purchased a Special Events Parking Permit or is a guest of such person, during the period covered by the Special Events Parking Permit; and
- At organized functions, subject to an Alcohol Beverage Service Permit issued by the Chancellor or designee, or an Authorized University Official (See Regulations III, V, VI, and VII);
- At the official residence of the UW-Madison Chancellor, Olin House, per policies established by the Olin House Official Functions Coordinator.
- Enforcement of Minimum Legal Drinking Age Requirements
- The minimum legal drinking age for consumption of alcohol beverages will be respected at all university events. The UW-Madison alcohol beverage responsibility sign shall be displayed at all university events where alcohol is served and/or sold. The sign may be downloaded and printed at Alcohol Beverage Responsibility Sign Download.
- Individuals must display government issued identification with a birthdate to any server upon request.
- If event attendees are anticipated to include individuals below the minimum legal drinking age, then procedures must be in place to prevent consumption of alcohol beverages by these individuals. Options include:
- Servers and/or responsible employees request an ID from any guest who appears to be age 30 or younger before providing them with alcohol or upon event entry.
- Alcohol is served in a designated and entry-controlled area for attendees at or above the minimum legal drinking age such as beer tent or beer garden.
- Attendees wear or display a physical indicator of their age relative to the minimum drinking age such as a wristband or marked name badge.
- Sale of alcohol beverages is prohibited on all University lands, and in all University owned or leased buildings, except:
- where the sale of alcohol beverages is a service of the Wisconsin Union or the Division of University Housing; or
- where the sale of alcohol beverages is a service of University Hospital and Clinics, or the restaurant/bar operating within the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, or the University Club within their respective facilities.
- Special Division or Unit Regulations
- Deans, Vice Provosts, and Divisional Directors may establish additional more restrictive guidelines for events sponsored by their units and/or held within their facilities. In particular, they may prohibit the consumption of alcohol beverages at events sponsored by other units, but held within their facilities.
- University Hospital and Clinics: Patients may possess and consume alcohol beverages as prescribed by a physician.
- Wisconsin Union: Alcohol beverages may not be carried into or onto facilities under the control of the Wisconsin Union, except as permitted by its Director.
- Alumni Park: Possession and consumption of alcohol beverages are permitted in Alumni Park when such beverages are purchased through the retail outlets and/or through the normal catering operations of the Wisconsin Union.
- Kemp Natural Resources Station: Possession and consumption of alcohol beverages is subject to minimum legal drinking age and policies established by the Kemp Natural Resources Station. Relevant policies include, but are not limited to:
- Consumption is limited to authorized locations only.
- Only fermented malt beverages and wine may be possessed and consumed. Common sources of alcohol (kegs, bowls, barrels, etc.) are not permitted.
- Sale of alcohol is prohibited.
- Individual researchers and their guests are subject to the minimum legal drinking age.
- Instructional, Conference, and Outreach Groups: If any member of such a group is not at or above the minimum legal drinking age, alcohol may not be possessed or consumed by any member of the group.
- Users must sign and adhere to the alcohol beverage policy user agreement.
- Use is subject to the approval of Kemp Station Staff.
- University Housing: Possession and consumption of alcohol beverages is subject to minimum legal drinking age and policies established by the Division of University Housing. Relevant policies include, but are not limited to:
- Single Student Housing: When all assigned room residents and their guests have attained the minimum legal drinking age, they may possess an open container of and consume alcohol beverages only within their own room. For purposes of this section, "open container" does not include common sources of alcohol (kegs, bowls, barrels, etc.). Additional conditions and policies established by the Division of University Housing may be applicable.
- University Apartments:
- Subject to the minimum legal drinking age, residents and their guests may possess and consume alcohol beverages in University Apartments lands and buildings.
- Subject to conditions set by the Division of University Housing and the minimum legal drinking age, at approved events in the University Apartments Community Center fermented malt beverages (beer) and wine only may be served and consumed. Alcohol beverages cannot be sold.
- Conference Groups: Subject to conditions established by the Director of University Housing and the minimum legal drinking age, conference attendees may possess and consume alcohol beverages in individual rooms or when approved by the Director of Conference Services in other common areas. Sale of alcohol beverages by conference groups is prohibited.
- Alcohol Beverage Service Permits shall be required for alcohol service at all university events, both on and off campus, except as permitted under section II: 1-4. Alcohol Beverage Service Permits must be approved by an Authorized University Official (See Regulation VII). The Alcohol Beverage Service Permit shall require that:
- Possession and consumption of alcohol beverages be limited to the time period and to the room or location specified in the permit.
- Total event attendance should not generally exceed 150 attendees. Events over 150 attendees require approval by the Dean or Director, review by UW Police Department, and approval by the VCFA. Alcohol and food service at larger events should generally be provided by a professional caterer per section II and IV.
- An Alcohol Beverage Service Permit can only be issued to a student organization for events hosted by and for graduate and professional students. Such events may only be attended by graduate and professional students and should be considered closed to other community members including undergraduates, faculty and staff.
- A responsible University employee be identified on and sign the permit application. One responsible employee must be present for every 50 estimated attendees. If an alcohol permit is requested for an event with over 50 attendees, one additional responsible employee per 25 attendees is required.
- A responsible University employee is a person with a faculty, limited, academic or classified staff appointment, who is age 21 or over. Terminal academic or university staff, employees in training, and student hourly employees are not permitted to serve as responsible employees. Graduate and professional students are permitted to serve as responsible employees only for events hosted by and for graduate and professional students.
- In order to be eligible to serve as a responsible University employee, an individual must have completed UW-Madison responsible server training. Training information is available at Alcohol Permit Training
- The responsible University employee's duties shall be:
- to be present at all times during which alcohol beverages are served or consumed;
- to ensure that the conditions of the Permit are observed by all persons in attendance at the event;
- to ensure that intoxicated persons do not consume alcohol beverages;
- to maintain control of alcohol beverages at all times to prevent unauthorized consumption and ensure alcohol beverages are properly secured at the conclusion of the event; and
- to ensure that individuals below the minimum legal drinking age do not consume alcohol beverages. See section III for additional requirements.
- The responsible University employee shall refrain from the consumption of alcohol during such time as he or she is serving in this capacity.
- An appropriate selection and quantity of non-alcohol beverages and food must be available.
- Alcohol beverages are limited to beer (fermented malt beverages) and wine. Alcohol must be served in clear or translucent cups no larger than 8 oz. for serving wine. Beer should be served in individual cans or bottles no larger than 12 oz. Common sources of alcohol such as kegs, bowls, barrels, etc. are not permitted. Recommended cups are available at Shop@UW.
- Other conditions as may be specified by the Chancellor or designee, or Authorized University Official, to ensure that alcohol consumption, consistent with institutional policy, is appropriate to the occasion.
- Authorized University Officials. University Officials in addition to the Chancellor who are authorized to issue Alcohol Beverage Service Permits under Regulation VI are:
- Vice Chancellors;
- Deans, Divisional Directors, and Vice Provosts for events sponsored by their units; and
- The Director of the Arboretum and the President of UW Hospitals and Clinics for facilities within their respective jurisdictions.
Consequences for Non-Compliance
Employees who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge. In addition, employees may be personally liable for consequences resulting from alcohol service. Students who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action as specified in UWS Chapter 17 and 18 and may face student conduct sanctions. Individuals under the minimum legal drinking age who consume or possess alcohol beverages may be subject to arrest and civil citation.
The Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration will have responsibility for periodic review of the UW-Madison Alcohol Beverage Regulations including to:
- Review the Alcohol Beverage Services permit process to ensure compliance with campus policy.
- When requested by campus units and leadership, review specific alcohol policy violations and develop recommendations for further action.
- Provide oversight of campus-wide strategies to ensure appropriate communication of campus alcohol policy.
- Appoint committees to make recommendations regarding changes to campus alcohol policies.