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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Student Alcohol Policy

This document clarifies the University's expectations and approach related to the use of alcohol by students. The University's Controlled Substances and Alcohol Policy is also applicable. The full text is contained at:


The Fundamental Standard has set the standard of conduct for students at Stanford since 1896. It states: "Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens." Implicit in the Standard is the understanding that students are responsible for making their own decisions and accepting the consequences of those decisions.

The University is committed to the health, safety and well-being of each member of the Stanford community. In order to further student learning, development and success and to promote the University's academic mission, Stanford fosters an environment of personal and collective responsibility and respectful citizenship. This means that all members of the university community—students, faculty and staff—have a role in safeguarding a healthy learning environment free of the consequences of alcohol misuse. The University also strives to create a culture that supports students who do not use alcohol and students who use alcohol in a safe, legal and responsible fashion.

Legal Background

Members of the Stanford community are expected to abide by all federal, state and local laws, including those governing alcohol consumption and distribution. Under California law, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase alcohol or to possess alcohol in a public space. It is also illegal for anyone to furnish alcohol to an individual under the age of 21. Other state laws governing the use of alcohol are listed below.

While it is not the responsibility of most Stanford officials to enforce state law, it is the responsibility of the University's Department of Public Safety, and accordingly they enforce all state alcohol laws when they encounter violations. All community members should understand the law and, as individuals, ensure that they themselves do not violate it.

In addition, it is the responsibility of all community members to ensure that the University does not, through their actions, violate the law. Accordingly, official University functions, including events held by registered student groups, are not allowed to provide alcohol to those under 21, and no University funds may be used to purchase alcohol for that purpose. Violations of this requirement can result in both criminal prosecution and University administrative action, including dismissal from the University.

Responsible Alcohol Use

Stanford students are expected to behave responsibly, both in the classroom and outside, both on campus and off. In particular, the University does not tolerate reckless drinking—lawful or unlawful—and its consequent harmful behaviors. The University is especially concerned about the misuse of distilled alcohol products ("hard alcohol"), and the dangers that arise from that misuse.

All students should understand the physical and behavioral effects of alcohol misuse, and should avoid such misuse themselves. In addition, they are expected to do their part to ensure the safety of fellow students whom they perceive to be engaged in reckless drinking behavior or to be suffering from its consequences.

The University provides educational resources to assure that students understand the effects of alcohol misuse and know how to respond when they perceive others to be engaged in dangerous behavior.

Reckless drinking and encouraging reckless drinking are violations of University policy, and may be subject to disciplinary action. Extreme or repeated violations may result in dismissal from the University.

More generally, students are expected to make healthy, responsible choices concerning their personal use of alcohol and the University supports them in this endeavor through education and other resources. The University sponsors activities and programs focused on students who choose not to drink or to drink lightly, as well as resources and services to assist students who need help for themselves or others related to alcohol use.

Authority, Application and Enforcement

Responsibility for application of the Student Alcohol Policy resides with the Vice Provost for Student Affairs. The Office of Alcohol Policy and Education reports to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and is expected to coordinate and implement alcohol programs. (The University's Controlled Substances and Alcohol Policy is also applicable. The full text is contained at:

The Stanford University Department of Public Safety enforces federal, state and local laws among students, other community members, guests and visitors.

Alcohol Policy Violations

The Office of Alcohol Policy and Education will work with the following offices to address violations of the University's alcohol policy as determined by the specifics of each situation.

Violations may be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs (for individual students) and the Organization Conduct Board (for student groups). The Dean of Student Life may take action as well in certain circumstances.

Getting Help: Resources Available to Students

Students have access to a variety of University resources.

Additional University Regulations

Other restrictions apply to particular circumstances

California State Laws

Students should be familiar with California laws governing the consumption of alcohol. The following summarizes those laws most relevant to individuals.

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