Alcohol Policy

This policy intentionally promotes awareness of the physical, emotional, mental, and legal ramifications of irresponsible alcohol use because freedom relies not only on rules but, most importantly, on informed thinking.

NOTE:  When a student contacts University officials or other helping professionals out of concern for another student's health and safety none of the students present (including the intoxicated student) will be considered for alcohol policy violations for that specific incident.

I. INTRODUCTION

A. The Trinity Alcohol Coalition of students, staff, and faculty has developed the following three tenets related to alcohol: Trinity University cares deeply about the health and safety of students; acknowledges that students will drink, but discourages irresponsible drinking; and enforces policies related to alcohol possession, and consumption. These policies were formed in accordance with state law and for the protection of the health and safety of students.  

B. Trinity University values the freedom of those who live and work here to make their own choices, and it values the education that equips them to exercise that freedom responsibly. Choices regarding alcohol, in particular, are a matter of individual and community interest because poor decisions can negatively impact personal health and the public environment. Trinity respects the choices of those who consume alcohol within reasonable and legal bounds and those who avoid it altogether. However, because the consumption of alcohol can impair an individual’s judgment and lead to devastating damage and loss, this policy aims to limit those negative consequences in order to sustain a positive, livable, learning environment on campus. In order to sustain that environment, students remain accountable to all University policies even when drinking; intoxication does not serve as an excuse for violating any policies. 

II. SUMMARY OF TEXAS STATE LAW REGARDING ALCOHOL  

A. Minors and Alcohol

  1. The legal drinking age is 21, and it is illegal for a minor to possess, purchase, attempt to purchase, or consume alcohol. A first offense results in an alcohol awareness course, community service, a 30-day suspension of driver’s license, and up to a $500 fine. Repeat offenses may result in automatic suspension of driver’s license and up to a $2000 fine and 180 days in jail. All penalties are assigned at the discretion of a judge.
  2. Possession of false identification results in up to a $200 fine.
  3. Making alcohol available to a minor results in up to a $4000 fine and/or one year in jail.
  4. A parent must appear in court for any alcohol charges filed against a minor under 21 years of age.

B. Driving While Intoxicated

  1. For anyone under 21, it is illegal to drive with any detectable Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). A first offense results in up to a $500 fine, 40 community service hours, alcohol awareness course, and 60-day suspension of driver’s license. All penalties are assigned at the discretion of a judge.
  2. The legal limit for intoxication is .08 BAC. However, drivers may be cited for impaired driving due to alcohol regardless of BAC. Refusal to take a blood or breath test to measure BAC can result in a 180-day driver’s license suspension.
  3. A first offense results in up to a $2000 fine, 180 days in jail and driver’s license suspension up to one year. Repeat offenses may result in up to a $10,000 fine, 10 years in penitentiary, and two years of driver’s license suspension.

III. UNIVERSITY STANDARDS

A. General University Policies Related to Alcohol

  1. On campus, only beer and wine are permitted, and only in designated residential areas by those of legal age. All hard alcohol is prohibited regardless of the age of the student. Approved beverages may be served in the Skyline Room to any students, faculty, staff, and their guests of legal age. Because some alcoholic beverages are not clearly categorized as beer, wine, or hard alcohol, the following is provided for clarification.
  • 100% fermented alcoholic beverages (generally available in Texas grocery stores), including ales (such as Bass Pale Ale) and malt beverages (such as Mikes’ Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice, Colt 45), are permitted.
  • Champagne is considered the same as wine.
  • Beverages that comprise distilled alcohol (liquors and liqueurs, such as Kahlua) and fortified wines (such as MD 20/20, Thunderbird) are prohibited.
  • Throughout the remainder of this policy the prohibited items will be referred to as “hard” alcohol.
  1. When a student contacts University officials or other helping professionals out of concern for another student's health and safety none of the students present (including the intoxicated student) will be considered for alcohol policy violations for that specific incident.  (Note that when hazing may have occurred, State law requires that such incidents be reported.)
  2. Persons or organizations that furnish alcoholic beverages to underage students or visitors will be subject to Trinity adjudicative action and/or criminal prosecution for violation of state laws.
  3. Any act that causes others to involuntarily or unknowingly consume alcohol is prohibited.
  4. Public intoxication is prohibited.  Generally a person is considered intoxicated if that person has consumed alcohol and is disrupting or disrespecting others, or potentially poses harm to his or herself or others.
  5. The Board of Campus Publications will have the authority to determine policy regarding alcohol advertising in the Trinitonian.
  6. Parents/guardians or spouses of students may not serve alcohol to underage students on campus or at official Trinity University events off campus.

B. Regulations on Alcohol Use Within the Residence Halls

  1. All students 21 years or older and their guests of legal age may possess and consume beer and wine in any upperclass residence hall suite where at least one of the assigned residents is present and is of legal age. The following restrictions pertain to all residents regardless of age:
  • The possession or consumption of alcohol is prohibited in all first-year halls.
  • “Hard” alcohol is prohibited, regardless of the age of the student.
  • No alcohol may be provided from common source containers, including but not limited to kegs.
  1. Alcohol is not permitted in designated substance-free floors.
  2. Alcohol use is prohibited in any public area, including but not limited to balconies, corridors, and lounge space.
  3. The possession of alcohol containers is prohibited in all first-year halls and all upperclass rooms where neither resident is of legal age. Since neither are permitted regardless of age, empty “hard” alcohol containers (decorative or otherwise), and common-source containers such as kegs, are likewise prohibited in any residence hall location.
  4. Those present where there is an alcohol violation may be found responsible for violation of University policy.

C. Regulations for University-authorized Use of Alcohol

  1. On-campus events
  • Trinity University organizations or groups (including departments, offices, and student organizations) may permit serving of alcoholic beverages for those of legal age, even with underage persons present. Student organizations must apply to the director of Student Involvement or designee and departments must apply to the associate director for Risk Management and Insurance for approval. (Off-campus groups and guests are not permitted to serve any alcoholic beverages on campus unless the event is being catered by Dining Services and permission to serve beer and/or wine has been received from the associate director for Risk Management and Insurance.)
  • Except for the Skyline Room or other authorized locations, there will be no place on the Trinity University campus where alcoholic beverages are sold.
  1. Off-campus events
  • Students (or members acting on behalf of University sponsored, registered student organizations, and fraternity & sorority organizations, or other formal or informal groups) sponsoring any events or activities off campus and not in compliance with University alcohol policies do so of their own volition and at their own personal risk and liability. Trinity University assumes no responsibility or liability for such activities. Students who attend these events are still subject to all Trinity University policies governing student conduct.
  • All on and off-campus student organization sponsored events should be held in accordance with guidelines found in the Student Organization Handbook.
  • When students are participating in University-related outings (for example, retreats, outdoor recreation activities, field trips, music ensemble tours, conferences, and athletic trips) only those students 21 years or older – who have the expressed prior approval of their University sponsor – may purchase, possess, be served, or consume alcohol, and only at dining establishments that have a permanent license to sell alcoholic beverages. During such an outing, under no circumstances is alcohol allowed in vehicles, lodging, campsites, or other locations. While on University business, Trinity students are prohibited from driving after consuming any alcohol. (These allowances do not apply to student organizations, which are subject to policies in the Student Organization Handbook.)
  • In instances where Trinity University directly sponsors an event abroad, led by a Trinity faculty or staff member, such activities are governed by this policy just as if the event had been hosted in the United States with the provision that students are of legal age in the host country and provided that it is culturally appropriate. Alcohol may be provided by Trinity faculty and staff only if purchased and consumed in an establishment with an appropriate license to serve alcohol. Local hosts should not be prevented from providing culturally appropriate beverages including alcohol at a reception or on site visits so long as students abide by local regulations on drinking and act responsibly.
  1. Off-campus with University employees in informal settings
  • Students who are under 21 years of age may be present at informal events or times where alcohol is being served as long as the policies of the establishment or the wishes of the hosting employee permit such students to be present; however, only those students who are 21 or older may purchase, possess, or be served alcohol. Any alcohol consumption is always subject to the approval and discretion of the event sponsor or host.
  1. Other University-related events and situations
  • Trinity University departments may host official sponsored events where alcohol is served if approved in advance by the associate director for Risk Management and Insurance. When alcohol is being served by a person other than a hosting faculty or staff member, it must be at an establishment that possesses a permanent license to sell alcohol.
  • Students who are under 21 years of age may attend events sponsored by departments on or off campus, but may not consume alcohol. Students who are 21 years of age or older may consume alcohol at these events at the discretion of the sponsoring department.

IV. ENFORCEMENT, EDUCATION, AND SERVICES 

A. Students are personally responsible for complying with state and local laws and the University alcohol policy. Trinity University respects students’ privacy and autonomy, assumes that they will behave legally and responsibly, and will not closely monitor the activities of individual students or members of student organizations.

B. Residential Life and the Trinity University Police Department will respond to any observed alcohol policy violations and submit incident reports to the Office of the Dean of Students and/or Student Conduct Board.

C. On an annual basis, the Trinity Alcohol Coalition will review the range of sanctions for alcohol policy violations.

D. Information related to education and services can be found on Dean of Students Web pages.

(7-30-14)