Guidelines for On-Campus Alcohol Serving of Alcohol

These guidelines provide direction for the service of alcoholic beverages at University events held on W&L's campus. They are intended to reflect the intent underlying the University Initiatives on Substance Abuse that were adopted by the Faculty in May 2001, as amended.

The University Initiatives on Substance Abuse state the following, in pertinent part:

General Environment of the University

  • Implement strategies to reduce alcohol at all University-sponsored events with a special emphasis on major weekends. In those cases where serving of alcohol is judged an appropriate aspect of a University campus event, consider serving beer and wine, not hard liquor.
  • Request that Administration establish a practice under which receptions sponsored by the University for events which include undergraduate student participation be alcohol free.
  • Establish a policy that will encourage social activities in undergraduate classroom buildings to be alcohol free, absent special circumstances.


1. IMPLEMENTATION of these guidelines shall be through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students ("Office of the VPSA/DoS") after discussion and coordination with the appropriate deans, Provost, catering, alumni relations, and others, as necessary and appropriate depending on the location of the proposed event. Information on University events that are to be held on campus where alcohol may be served shall be provided to and coordinated with the Office of the VPSA/DoS prior to finalizing plans for the events. Service of alcohol at W&L will be consistent with applicable regulations of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

2. ACADEMIC SPACES/CLASSROOM BUILDINGS: General rule is that no alcohol will be served absent special circumstances (e.g., dedication of classrooms or buildings) in which case only service of wine and beer is preferred; hard liquor may be served if it is unlikely undergraduates will be present and after weighing factors under "Special Circumstances."

3. NON-ACADEMIC, NON-PUBLIC SPACES including private residences such as Lee House, Morris House, Belfield: General rule is that if alcohol is to be served, wine, beer and hard liquor may be served. Private events at the President's home need no prior coordination through the Office of the VPSA/DoS.

4. NON-ACADEMIC, PUBLIC SPACES including Alumni House, Early-Fielding Building, John W. Elrod Commons, Mason Taylor New Room, Lenfest Center: General rule is that if alcohol is to be served, wine and beer only is preferred, absent special circumstances. John W. Elrod Commons is an alcohol-free building. Mason Taylor New Room requires special permission for alcohol service.

5. OUTSIDE/OPEN SPACES: General rule is that if alcohol is to be served, wine and beer only is preferred, absent special circumstances, and the event should be tented (with a tent with sides), except during campus-wide events..

6. RESIDENCE HALLS, THEME HOUSES AND GREEK HOUSING: These guidelines are not intended to apply to residential housing where existing University guidelines for possession, consumption and service of alcohol in residential housing apply.

7. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES/EXCEPTIONS to General Rules: Factors to be considered in determining whether special circumstances exist on whether alcohol should be served (whether beer and wine only, or including hard liquor) include review of the following factors and any others relevant to the decision:

  • Participants/Guests - If a critical mass or significant number of undergraduate students are invited or expected to attend, special exceptions should be granted in rare occasions.
  • Location of the Event - If events are not to be held in academic buildings, special exceptions for serving alcohol, including hard liquor, may be granted as is reasonable.
  • Nature of the Event - If events are more private in nature, special exceptions may be granted as is reasonable.

Exceptions will more readily be granted at Law School events or other events where a critical mass of undergraduate students are not expected to attend. These foregoing factors, and others relevant to review, may be given differentiated weight, depending upon the circumstances of each case. For example, if the participants are not expected to include undergraduate students, and the event is to be located in an academic building, reasonable exceptions may be granted. Likewise, if a private event is to be located in a non-academic, non-public venue, exceptions will more readily be recognized.


These guidelines are not intended to reduce the ability of or prevent the University from hosting catered events where alcoholic beverages are to be served for third parties on University property. These events will be coordinated through the Office of the VPSA/DoS and W&L's University Catering consistent with applicable guidelines.

Events to be held on campus where alcohol is served requires a licensed third-party. Events at fraternity houses that meet the Interfraternity Council (IFC) requirements for event registration (TIPs trained bartenders, etc.) and are covered by the fraternity's insurance policy are an exception. However, the University requires the use of licensed third-party vendors at events in fraternity houses as well for events held on designated weekends such as Young Alumni Weekend, Parents and Family Weekend, Reunion Weekend and Commencement Week and other times as may be determined by the Office of the VPSA/DoS. The University encourages the use of licensed third-party providers at all events in fraternity houses. Events at the Law School or on the Law Lawn where only law students or faculty/staff are likely to be present may also be an exception.

Kegs may be allowed at on-campus events with prior approval if a TIPs trained bartender staffs the keg at all times. The maximum number of kegs allowed at an individual event will be determined by the Office of the VPSA/DoS after review of the registration form. Cups may not be prefilled.

A licensed "third-party vendor" is a vendor or bartender licensed by the Alcoholic Beverage Commission of Virginia (ABC) to serve alcohol. All third-party vendors (generally, catering vendors who provide licensed bartenders) must provide a copy of their current ABC license allowing them to serve alcohol at an event on University property and proof of insurance naming the University as an additional insured/loss payee under their policy. The preferred third-party vendor is University Catering.

Some licensed third-party vendors have been pre-approved by the University because they have filed a current copy of their license and proof of insurance with the Office of the VPSA/DoS and University Catering. Other licensed third-party vendors may be used if they provide proof of license and proof of insurance to the Office of the VPSA/DoS.

Departments, individuals, or entities hosting or sponsoring a University event on campus where alcohol will be served should use University Catering. University Catering (a licensed third-party vendor) has first right of refusal for every on-campus event where alcohol is to be served. Contact the Director for Catering Services at or Ext. 8698 to inquire about University Catering's ability to provide alcohol service. University Catering may waive their right to be the licensed third-party vendor and allow a different licensed third-party vendor to provide the service.

Effective: July 1, 2004
Revised: August 2012
Revised: June 2016