Alcohol Policy | Policies

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Alcohol Policy

Policy regarding alcoholic beverages. Applicable to faculty, staff and students.

Owner: Public Safety

Tags: AP

Alcohol Policy

Policy regarding alcoholic beverages. Applicable to faculty, staff, and students.

Owner: Public Safety Tags: AP

The sale, service, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages at Teachers College (“College”) is governed by the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Law and other New York State and New York City laws and by College policy.

Teachers College is committed to providing an academic, living, and working environment that supports individual freedom while promoting individual responsibility, health and safety, and community welfare. It is based on these laws and principles that Teachers College has developed this policy concerning the sale, service, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

This policy is applicable to the following situations:
(1) All events at Teachers College and/or its student residence halls at which alcoholic beverages are served or sold. Note -Students in TC housing must also comply with the housing alcohol policies for any events held in the residence halls, see more at the Office of Residential Services;
(2) All events, on and off the Teachers College campus, that are sponsored by the College or by any College organization, department or office; and
(3) All Teachers College activities, whether they occur at the College or not.

Possession and Consumption
1. Persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol at the College, within its student residence halls or at any event, on or off campus, sponsored by any College organization, department or office.

Sale and Service
1. No person shall be sold or served any alcoholic beverage if:

     a.That person is or appears to be, under the legal drinking age of 21; or
     b. That person is or seems to be intoxicated.

2. No person under the age of 21 shall misrepresent or proffer any false evidence of their age in order to obtain or try to obtain any alcoholic beverage or to gain access to any event or activity at which any alcoholic beverage is being sold or served.

3. No alcoholic beverage shall be sold to any person unless:

     a. A license or permit sanctioning the sale of such alcoholic beverage has been obtained by the seller; and
     b. The license or permit sanctioning such sale and any posters, signs, notices, or other material or information required by applicable law or by the State Liquor Authority are prominently displayed at the site of such sales.


1. The “Sponsor” is the individual(s) and/or group(s) sponsoring an event or activity on or off the Teachers College campus and/or its student residence halls at which alcoholic beverages are to be sold or served.

2. The Sponsor shall be responsible for ensuring that all laws and regulations and all Teachers College policies regarding the sale, service, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages are complied with at such event or activity including

a. The event or activity must comply with this Policy, including effective procedures for examining the attendee’s evidence of age;
b. As part of the request to use College facilities, the Sponsor must notify Teachers College Public Safety and Room Assignments of any event or activity at which alcoholic beverages are to be sold or served.
c. Student groups sponsoring events or activities on or off Teachers College campus and/or its student residence halls at which alcoholic beverages are to be sold or served must notify the Office of Graduate Student Life & Development prior to the event and comply with the requirements regarding student organizations.
d. The Sponsor shall instruct the person or persons actually selling or serving the alcoholic beverages not to sell or serve alcoholic  beverages to any person who is or appears to be intoxicated, or whom such seller or server knows to be a problem drinker, or who is or appears to be under the legal drinking age. In addition, specific policies, procedures, and regulations governing particular facilities or populations may be developed by the persons or offices authorized to do so in conjunction with the Office of Public Safety.

1. Actions or situations that recklessly or intentionally endanger mental or physical health or involve forced consumption of alcohol or drugs in connection with initiation into or affiliation with any organization are strictly prohibited.

2. The use of alcohol or drugs is never an excuse for committing any College policy violation. Regarding gender-based misconduct, the use of alcohol or drugs never makes someone at fault for experiencing gender-based misconduct and does not diminish anyone’s responsibility to obtain informed and freely given consent to sexual activity and the impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person and there is no specific amount of alcohol or drugs consumed that leads to incapacitation.[1]

3. Violations of this policy or of any related laws are subject to College disciplinary codes and policies. Sanctions that may be assessed against violators include suspension and expulsion for students and discharge for employees. Visitors who violate this Policy may be removed from the event or activity, from the campus, and/or banned from the College.

Criminal Penalties
Faculty, staff and students, and others affiliated with the College also should be aware that, in addition to College sanctions, violators may be subject to criminal penalties for unlawful manufacture, possession, service, or sale of alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 21 years. [2]

For larger and formal events (11 attendees or more): organizations, departments, and offices a New York State (NYS) licensed bartender(s) (NYS ATAP trained) must be retained and the costs covered by the organization, department, or office hosting the event or activity. Please also note the following regarding alcohol service at larger and formal events:

  1. There must be no charge for alcoholic beverages or for the event
  2. No caterer or private event producer may purchase alcohol on behalf of Teachers College, its students, or employees. 
  3. Any organization, department, or office planning on hosting an event and intending on providing alcohol must be independently purchased from a licensed vendor, be stored and maintained, both before or after an event in a location where they are not available to passersby
  4. Any containers of alcohol opened during an event must have the remaining contents disposed of and discarded at the event's conclusion. (Kegs, whether empty or containing any alcohol, are prohibited at TC.) 
  5. Signs must be posted at the doors to the event location indicating that alcoholic beverages may not be taken beyond that location
  6. New York law forbids serving alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 or to anyone “disorderly, visibly intoxicated, or known to be a habitual drunkard.” The Office of Public Safety must be contacted at 212-678-3333 immediately if anyone in attendance at the event or activity is disorderly or visibly intoxicated.
  7. When alcoholic beverages are served, alternative beverages and food must be provided.
  8. The Sponsor must be responsible for complying with these procedures and that representative’s contact information must be provided to room assignments at least two weeks prior to the event or activity.

To ensure the fluidity of the event or activity, the College recommends that the sponsoring organization, department, or office follows approved catering vendor processes. While Columbia Dining Services is the recognized and preferred caterer for all College events and activities, other approved vendors may be found in Unimarket. If utilizing a catering vendor other than Columbia Dining Services, proof of licensed bartenders should be required along with a current Certificate of Insurance (COI). Arrangements for catering and bartending services must be confirmed, in advance, with Teachers College Public Safety and Room Assignments, via 25Live.

Smaller and informal events (10 attendees and under): organizations, departments, and offices may serve wine or beer without hiring a bartender, provided the following standards, as listed above, are met and service is consistent with applicable laws and does not create undue risk for the TC community:

For rules, policies, and regulations regarding the student residence halls, please refer to the Residential Services Contract.

Responsible Office: Office of Public Safety
Last updated: July 10, 2023

[1] For additional information about the relationship between alcohol and drugs and gender-based misconduct, please see the Columbia University/Teachers College Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures for Students.

[2] For information about relevant federal, state, and local alcohol laws, please see the Teachers College Drug Free Campus Policy and the Teachers College Drug Free Workplace Policy.




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