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Student Party Policy & Guidelines

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Effective Date: September 26, 2022

Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy

Student groups hosting a party are required to abide by federal, state, and local laws, as well as university policies, including the Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy which governs the consumption, distribution, and possession of alcohol at Stanford University. 

Social Host Liability

It is important to know that under some circumstances, party hosts, sponsors, bartenders or others might be held legally liable for the consequences of serving alcohol to underage drinkers or to obviously intoxicated persons. As a social host or party planner who has served underage drinkers or the obviously intoxicated, you could be sued and potentially found personally liable for damages to the injured party(ies) in three ways:

  • Specific damages: These are damages that are measurable (for example, when bodily injury results in medical expenses or lost wages).
  • General damages: These are damages that cannot be specifically measured in terms of dollar amounts (for example, pain and suffering resulting from bodily injury).
  • Punitive damages: These are damages intended to serve as an ex- ample to others and to discourage behavior that is deemed highly undesirable to society.

Stanford University is not a sanctuary from the enforcement of state and local laws. Students and others on campus who violate the law may be and have been arrested and prosecuted.  

Student Group Accountability Process

Student groups are responsible for behavior and conduct that occurs at parties they host. This includes the behavior and conduct of both members and guests. All reported violations of the law and/or university policy, including the Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy, applicable CORE 10 policies, and the Student Party Policy and Guidelines, will be referred to the Student Group Accountability Process (SGAP). Individuals, such as student group leaders, event coordinators, and/or guests, may also be held accountable for alleged violations of university policy through the Student Judicial Charter of 1997

Religious Observance

Exceptions to this policy may be granted for religious observance in accordance with California state ordinances. Event organizers must submit a written need for an exception and outline a harm reduction plan to be reviewed by the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) at least a week in advance. OSE may consult with the Office of Religious Life if necessary in reviewing requests for an exception. 

Definitions

  • Party: A party is defined as an event held primarily for the purposes of socializing, or an event where alcohol is present. All parties hosted or co-hosted by a student group(s) must be registered and approved by the Party Review Committee.
  • Student Group: refers to all voluntary student organizations, Row Houses, sports teams (both club and varsity), fraternities, and sororities.
  • EANABs (Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverages): refers to beverages that are appealing alternatives to alcoholic beverages and contribute to an inclusive and inviting experience for non-drinkers and those who choose not to drink alcohol at a registered party.
  • Primary/Secondary Coordinator: student group members responsible for coordinating party logistics, including registration and serving as the primary points of contact during the party. Primary/Secondary Coordinators are expected to intervene if they observe a policy violation during the party and are expected to participate in any investigations into alleged violations that occurred at the party.
  • University advisor/liaison: a professional staff or faculty member designated to provide ongoing support and guidance to a student group.

Party Review

  • The Party Review Committee is the primary entity responsible for reviewing and discerning the viability of a party registered by a student group. 
  • Following a review of a registered party, the Party Review Committee may approve, deny, or require modifications prior to approval, or recommend a postponement of the party. The decision will be delivered via CardinalEngage by SUPER on behalf of the Party Review Committee. 
  • The factors considered in a review include, but are not limited to, location, venue occupancy, party size, harm reduction plan, presence of alcohol and alcohol service plan, theme, fire safety, student group history of adhering to University policies, and student group Conduct Status.
  • The party review committee may also rescind approval, deny, or recommend a postponement of a party if fire safety efforts, or security are not sufficient for a safe party. 
  • Should a violation of university policy be determined or alleged after a party is approved, but prior to the party taking place, the Party Review committee, a University advisor/liaison, or relevant department shall have the absolute right to immediately rescind approval and the student group would be required to communicate the cancellation immediately. 

Party Review Committee

  • The Party Review Committee will meet Tuesday each week during the Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters to review party requests submitted via CardinalEngage. 
  • The Party Review Committee will consist of representation from the following units/departments including, but is not limited to:
    • Office of Substance Use Programs, Education & Resources (SUPER) 
    • Office of Student Engagement (OSE)
    • Residential Education (ResEd)
    • Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL)
    • Residential & Dining Enterprises: Housing Operations (R&DE)
    • Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS)
    • Stanford University Fire Marshal’s Office (SUFMO)

Types of Parties

  • Members Only
    • A private party only for members/residents of the hosting student group(s).
  • Invite Only 
    • A private party for members/residents of the student group and a maximum of three invited guests per member/resident of the group OR the maximum occupancy of the venue where the party is held, whichever is smaller. All non-Stanford guests must be 18 or older.
  • Open Invitation
    • A party open to Stanford students, and non-Stanford guests accompanied by a Stanford student which may not exceed the occupancy of the venue where the party is held. All non-Stanford guests must be 18 or older.

Registration 

  • The party planning course must be completed prior to registering a party.
  • Student groups intending to host or co-host a party must submit a request via the Party Registration form in CardinalEngage.
  • Student groups must identify a Primary Coordinator and Secondary Coordinator on the party registration form.
  • Student groups must identify any student group(s) co-hosting a party and a primary and secondary coordinator from each co-hosting group on the party registration form. 
  • All parties hosted on campus must be registered no later than 5 full 24 hour periods ahead of the party. Please note that CardinalEngage will not let a student group register a party less than 5 full 24 hours period in advance. 
  • All student groups seeking to reserve a Row House must submit the Row House Reservation Request form. A party will not be approved until a location is confirmed. 
  • A harm reduction plan must be provided when registering the party. The harm reduction plan must include:
    • Information about sober monitors including 1) the number of sober monitors, 2) a description of the sober monitors’ roles, and 3) information about how sober monitors will be identifiable to party guests
    • A plan for checking IDs, which must include:
      • How Stanford IDs will be checked
      • If alcohol will be available or served, how government IDs will be checked. 
        • If you plan to give 21+ guests a wristband so that they only need to show their government ID once, wristbands must be distributed at the party, not in advance of the party. 
    • A plan for monitoring entrances and exits to ensure only invited guests are able to attend, which must include:
      • How the student group will prevent members and guests from bringing in their own alcohol and what they will do if they observe someone bringing in their own alcohol. 
      • How the student group will identify members and guests who arrive intoxicated and their plan for what to do if this happens. 
      • How the student group will seek help if guests arrive highly intoxicated and needs assistance. 
    • Additional security plan (if applicable)
    • Alcohol service plan (if alcohol is served)
  • A party may last a maximum of four hours. Moreover, student groups cannot host or co-host back-to-back parties, pre-parties, concurrent parties, or more than one party per day.  
  • The start of the End Quarter Period each quarter, as noted by the Registrar’s Office for the relevant undergraduate or graduate student population and/or school, is the last day to host a party. No parties will be approved during the final examinations period. Exceptions may be granted by a University representative in coordination with SUPER.
  • Undergraduate student groups may not host parties with alcohol on campus during Admit Weekend. 
  • The party review committee may deny or recommend a postponement of a party if the expected lead time is not met or it is clear that the lead time is not sufficient to support a well organized and safe party.

Sober Monitors

  • A minimum of two sober monitors are required for a registered party regardless of party size. Primary and/or secondary contacts may serve as sober monitors. 
  • There must be 1 sober monitor per 25 expected guests, plus one extra sober monitor.
    • For example if you expect 45 guests, you must have 3 sober monitors. If you expect 150 guests, you must have 7 sober monitors. 
  • A confirmed list of sober monitors, contact information for each, and assigned responsibilities, must be uploaded when completing the party request form. 
  • All sober monitors should be visibly discernable to all guests and emergency response personnel. Examples: brightly colored hats or vests; formal attire
  • All sober monitors must remain sober before and during their shift. 
  • All assigned sober monitors must have completed the sober monitor module prior to the date of the party. 
  • Sober monitors are required to intervene when they observe violations of the law and/or university policy and are authorized to take appropriate action to resolve the violation including shutting down the party. 
  • Sober monitors are required to adhere to directives from University officials, emergency response personnel, or third-party vendor representatives.

Alcohol Service

  • There may only be a maximum of two designated alcohol service areas for on-campus parties and the alcohol service area(s) must be outlined in the harm reduction plan when registering the party. 
  • Unattended alcohol is prohibited at all parties on or off campus. 
  • Alcohol may only be served at the designated alcohol service area(s). Alcohol may not be served or made accessible in private rooms before, during, or after a registered party. 
  • Alcohol must be served by an assigned bartender(s). The bartender(s) must be 21 or older and must remain sober before and during their shift.
  • Guests are prohibited from serving themselves. 
  • BYOB parties are not permitted. 
  • Hard alcohol is prohibited at any party hosted by a student group with undergraduate members. Student groups with 100% graduate student membership may serve hard alcohol in the form of mixed drinks to guests 21 and older.
  • If the student group includes undergraduates, only beer, wine, seltzer and packaged pre-mixed alcoholic beverages (e.g wine coolers, pre-mixed cocktail drinks under 20% alcohol by volume, etc.) may be served to guests who are 21 and older.
  • Shots of hard alcohol are prohibited at all parties. 
  • Selling tickets for a party with alcohol, selling alcohol at a party on campus or off campus that is not hosted at a third-party vendor with a valid alcohol service license, must adhere to the following alcohol service and licensing requirements. Note, student groups should adhere to a much longer lead time in order to obtain a license and consult with their University advisor/liaison proactively. 
  • Equally attractive non-alcoholic beverages (EANABS) and food must be provided by the host(s) for consumption throughout the duration of the party if alcohol is served. Food provided should be substantial and must be appropriate for the number of guests and the duration of the party. Specific details for quantity and what type of food and non-alcoholic beverages offered must be provided on the party registration form. 

Off-Campus Parties

  • Student groups are required to coordinate transportation to and from any off-campus party with 50 or more expected guests. 
  • A transportation plan should be included in the harm reduction plan when registering an off campus party. The following should be addressed in the transportation plan: 
    • Type of transportation provided (Busses, ride-share, other)
    • TIme of departure and return
    • Contact information for vendor being used 
  • All parties hosted off campus, regardless of party type, must be registered two full weeks before the party is planned to occur. Please note that a contract or security deposit with a third-party vendor is not the same as approval from the University. 
    • If a contract is required with a third-party vendor or venue; the student group must confirm with their relevant University advisor/liaison if there are additional expectations or a longer lead time. 
    • Off-campus parties may not be held at private residences. They must be held at venues with sufficient insurance, permits, and licenses.  

Fire Safety

  • Any decorations or construction, especially alterations to entrances and exits, must be approved by the Stanford University Fire Marshal’s Office (SUFMO). 
  • All decorations must be made from a nonflammable material or be treated and maintained in a flame-retardant condition. 
  • Exit signs and lights, fire alarm sending stations, smoke detectors, sprinklers and fire extinguishers must not be concealed, in whole or in part, by any decorative material. 
  • Flammable materials such as, but not limited to, hay, paper panels, sheets, tree branches and green foliage must not be used as decorations unless properly treated with a flame retardant material and approved by SUFMO. 
  • Do not cut tree or palm branches or other foliage without prior permission. 
  • The use of tiki torches and fog machines are prohibited. 
  • If the party will be held at a campus residence and extensive decorations are being used, the student group must proactively contact the Housing Building Manager two weeks prior to the party to review the decoration plan. 

Noise

  • In accordance with Santa Clara County's noise ordinance, no one may generate sound that, at the point of crossing onto another person's residential property, exceeds 45 decibels between 10:00pm and 7:00am or 55 decibels between 7:00am and 10:00pm. As such, all outdoor amplified sound must end at 10:00pm.
  • Housing agreements outline quiet hours as being 11pm weekday nights (Sunday-Thursday) and 1am weekend nights (Friday and Saturday).  RDE Noise Policy.
  • Parties that violate the noise ordinance may be shut down by University personnel and/or police and hosts may be cited by the police. Moreover, violations of the noise ordinance may be referred to SGAP.

Marketing

  • All marketing and social media materials must be related to theme, food, or activities that align with the mission of the University. 
  • Publicity materials may not be shared in relation to any party with or without alcohol until the party is approved by the Party Review Committee. Failure to adhere to this provision may result in the party or subsequent parties being denied approval.
  • Information related to a Members Only party should only be shared with members of the group and may not be shared via any medium publicly outside of the student group.

Take the Party Planning Course