GPSC Alcohol Policy

GPSC Alcohol Policy

Responsibilities and Expectations

This alcohol policy (hereinafter, the “Policy”) has been approved by Duke University and the Duke Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC). In addition to this policy, graduate and professional students are expected to know and abide by all applicable federal and state laws (see N.C.G.S. Chapter 18B) and by Duke University policies and procedures.

Expectations of Individuals

Individual students are ultimately responsible for their own behavior, and are governed separately by standards of conduct of their respective graduate and/or professional school. However, each Student Group has the discretion to impose additional restrictions on the consumption and distribution of alcohol at its events. Individual students who attend a Student Group’s event are expected to follow the rules set forth by the Student Group in the advertising of its event as well as with any requests made by the Student Group during the event itself.

Expectations of Student Groups

“Student Group” shall mean any Internal Committee of GPSC and any GPSC-affiliated graduate and/or professional student group. “Student Group Staff” shall refer to those members of the Student Group event host(s) who are present at the event and are directly involved in its management. Student Groups must take all reasonable measures possible to provide a safe environment for all attendees. The following sections outline the minimum standards by which Student Groups and attendees of Student Group events must abide. GPSC reserves the right to deny a Student Group funding if it does not have sufficient planning aimed at meeting the requirements of this policy. If you or your Student Group has questions, contact the Student Affairs Officer for your School, the Office of Student Activities, or a member of the GPSC Executive Committee.

Distribution of Alcohol: General Provisions

Distribution of alcohol at a Student Group event must take place in a controlled manner, and Student Groups must ensure that alcohol served at their event remains within the confines of their event and that it is not freely accessible to the public. No one who is under the age of 21 may be served alcohol, and the age of all attendees must be verified through an acceptable form of identification (see below). Student Group Event Staff may ask any individual whom they believe to be intoxicated, impaired, or otherwise behaving in a manner disruptive to the functioning of the event to leave, and they may request assistance from Duke Police & Security Services in doing so.

Please note that student groups must use a third party vendor if the event is co-hosted/co-sponsored by an undergraduate student group or if undergraduate students (regardless of their age) are permitted to attend the event. If undergraduate students are permitted to attend, they must abide by the undergraduate student alcohol policy. If the event is co-hosted/co-sponsored by an undergraduate student group, all attendees (i.e. undergraduate students, graduate/professional students, and guests) must abide by the undergraduate student alcohol policy.

Options Regarding Distribution of Alcohol on University Property

  1. Third Party Vendor: Student Groups may contract with a University-approved third-party vendor to acquire and serve alcohol. The third-party vendor uses its liquor license, provides bartenders, and assumes liability for incidents arising from non-compliance with North Carolina law or University policies in regards to their serving of alcohol. Despite the oversight of a third party vendor, Student Groups are urged to form a plan for mitigating risk prior to the event, assess the outcome of that plan, and make any suitable adjustments for future events. For a list of approved third-party vendors, contact the Office of Student Activities. Keep in mind that some University spaces require a third party vendor; check guidelines in advance when reserving a space on University property.
  2. Student Group: Student Groups may independently order, set up the distribution of, and serve alcohol at the event, provided that these actions are in compliance with this Policy and university policies. (See below for guidelines on serving alcohol.)

Options Regarding Distribution of Alcohol off University Property

  1. Third-Party Vendor: Student Groups may contract with a third-party vendor to acquire and serve alcohol. The third party vendor uses its liquor license and provides bartenders. Third party vendors include local bars and restaurants, in addition to other businesses. Student Groups should communicate with the third-party vendor ahead of time to ensure that that a plan is established for checking IDs (see below).
  2. Student Group: Student Group members may distribute alcohol at the group’s event (see below). Distribution may be in the form of student group-purchased alcohol.

ID Checkers

Regardless of location and of who is managing the serving of alcohol, the age of all attendees must be verified by either the Student Group Event Staff, security personnel, or a third-party vendor. Acceptable forms of ID are limited to the following: (1) a current driver’s license from any state in the U.S.; (2) a U.S. military identification card; (3) a North Carolina special identification card (note: ID cards issued by other states are not valid); or (4) a passport (note: any other form of foreign ID, including a foreign driver’s license, is not valid) (see N.C.G.S. § 18B-302(d)). Student Groups must ensure that there will be an adequate number of ID checkers given the number of attendees expected and the nature of the event in general.

If a third-party vendor will be serving the alcohol, Student Groups must communicate with the vendor ahead of time to ensure that a plan is established for checking IDs. If a third-party vendor is used and their bartenders are contracted, the vendor should provide licensed ID Checkers who have completed training to identify fake IDs. This training is offered through entities outside the university such as Alcohol Law Enforcement. If members of the Student Group Event Staff will be responsible for checking IDs, prior to the event, the Student Group must designate which member(s) will act as ID Checker(s). Those members are responsible for ensuring their ability to identify and read valid forms of identification and invalid or fake ones. ID Checkers, as well as the Student Group Event Staff, may be held liable if alcohol is served to minors at the event and the ID Checkers have not received adequate training in identifying fake IDs.

Servers (see below) may act as ID Checkers. If the Servers are not checking IDs before serving each drink, however, and if persons under 21 are permitted at the event, attendees 21+ must be designated in a clear manner that is not easily replicated. For example, it is not permitted to designate attendees 21+ by marking their hands with a plain-colored marker or pen. Wristbands are one recommended form of designation.


Regardless of location, the distribution of alcohol must be supervised by either the Student Group Event Staff or by the third-party vendor supplying the alcohol. Servers may not provide alcohol to an attendee who is intoxicated or impaired. The distribution of alcohol is at the Servers’ discretion. Servers may refuse to provide alcohol to any attendee whom the Server believes to be intoxicated or any attendee whom the Server believes is presenting a danger to others or disrupting the event. Servers, however, may not provide or refuse to provide alcohol on the basis of discrimination as to race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion, social origin, etc. Servers must check that each attendee to whom they provide alcohol has been marked by the ID Checker(s) as being 21 years of age or older.

If members of the Student Group Event Staff will be responsible for the serving of alcohol, prior to the event, the Student Group must designate which member(s) will act as Server(s). If the event is held on-campus, Servers must personally distribute the alcohol (i.e. physically pour the alcohol for attendees or hand any cans to attendees). Servers must only provide one beverage at a time to individual students.  In other words, an attendee may not be served more than one drink at a time; they may come back to the Server(s) at a later point for another drink. Servers must always be present at the location where the alcohol is provided in order to monitor attendees’ consumption and ensure that no persons under 21 receive alcohol.


Student Groups must receive advance permission to serve alcohol from the office or department responsible for the event space, and they must comply with any specific location guidelines. When alcohol is permitted, the space must be secured or otherwise regulated in a manner that confines the consumption of alcohol provided at to ensure proper admittance and that alcohol distribution can be monitored effectively.

Food must be readily available at all events where alcohol is present. Attendees must have direct access to free water within the confines of the event or in the immediate vicinity. The Student Group is responsible for providing such access (e.g. by replenishing the food and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the program as necessary).


If more than 400 attendees are expected to attend a Student Group’s event, the Student Group must contact Duke University Police ahead of time to determine whether additional private security guards are required at the event.

Socially Responsible Persons

Socially Responsible Persons (SRPs) must be members of the Student Group hosting the event, and all SRPs must attend a Party Monitor training session (or equivalent training for graduate and professional students) with Duke Wellness ( They must not consume alcohol within six hours prior to or during the event. While keeping in mind that each student is ultimately responsible for their own actions, each SRP must monitor attendees in order to ensure compliance with the rules set out by the group hosting the event as well as with North Carolina state law. They must also help prevent alcohol from leaving the area of the event. Finally, they must be able to recognize situations that present hazards to property or to the health of attendees.


If alcohol is prohibited at the event, no SRPs are required. If more than 500 people are expected to attend the event, the student group leaders must meet with Duke Wellness to develop a risk management plan, regardless of whether the event is on or off university property. If alcohol is not prohibited and less than 500 people are expected to attend, the following ratios of SRPs to students, must be observed:

  1. Events on university property
  • If alcohol is neither advertised nor prohibited, 1:100.
  • If alcohol is served (by the student group or by a third-party vendor) and/or the event is advertised as BYOB, 1:50.
  1. Events off university property
  • If the event is held at a venue with a valid liquor license, 1:100. Note that bartenders, bouncers, or other venue staff members present in the area in which the event takes place all count as SRPs.
  • If the event is held at a venue without a valid liquor license, 1:50

Liability and Sanctions

While individual students are ultimately responsible for their own actions, Student Groups may be accountable for harm resulting from clear violations of this Policy. Sanctions for a violation include, and are limited to, loss of space reservation privileges, loss of University student group recognition, or fines.

Last updated October 2, 2018