Skip to Content

SA/PPS 07.10 - Fraternity and Sorority Use of Alcohol at Social Events

Fraternity and Sorority Use of Alcohol at Social Events

SA/PPS No. 07.10 (05.09)
Issue No. 1
Effective Date: 9/01/2013
Next Review Date: 9/01/2017 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Assistant Dean, Greek Affairs


    1. Texas State University is fully aware of the significant contribution fraternities and sororities make to university life and the positive affect these organizations have on the social and educational development of their members. The policy is written to assist Greek organizations in educating their members in the responsible use of alcohol, and minimizing the liability of the chapters and their officers.

    2. The intent of these policies is not to encourage or discourage alcohol consumption. Instead, they establish standards for alcohol use that allow for safe social interaction as an integral part of the developmental process. The policy will enable chapters to maintain the high standards that directly contribute to the quality education available at Texas State University.

    3. A fraternity or sorority must complete and be certified with university sponsored Risk Management Training to participate in the use of alcohol at social events.


    1. Definition of a Chapter Activity – An event will be considered a chapter-sponsored activity under any one or more of the following conditions:

      1. the organization has a financial commitment to the event;

      2. officers and/or members of the organization have spent time in an organization meeting planning or preparing for the event;

      3. the organization has provided representatives of the organization to facilitate the planning, preparation and/or implementation of the event;

      4. the event is advertised and the advertisement makes any mention of the fraternity or sorority;

      5. the chapter creates or causes to be created any promotional materials for the activity, including t-shirts, cups, etc.;

      6. the chapter is involved in any fashion with the sale of tickets for the activity or the sale of promotional items which mention the activity;

      7. transportation to the activity is provided by the chapter;

      8. the chapter provides maps, information, invitations or tickets to the activity for its members and/or guests; or

      9. the activity is listed on the chapter’s calendar of events.

    2. BYOB: Bring Your Own Beverage

    3. CASO: Campus Activities and Student Organization Office

    4. DOS: Office of Dean of Students – Greek Affairs

    5. NIC: North-American Interfraternity Conference


    1. Members of fraternities and sororities officially recognized by Texas State University’s Interfraternity, Multicultural, National Pan-Hellenic and Panhellenic Councils are to observe the following policies when they participate in fraternity and/or sorority functions.

      1. It is unlawful for a person, after purchasing or otherwise obtaining alcoholic beverages, to sell, give or deliver it to another person under the age of twenty-one.

      2. It is unlawful for any person to misrepresent his or her age for the purpose of buying, accepting or receiving alcoholic beverages from a licensee.

      3. When fraternities and sororities are hosting events all individuals entering a fraternity and/or sorority function must have their legal form of identification checked by the security members designated on the social contract and/or by the third party vendor contracted for the social function. Each person must obtain an identifying mark on their band as to whether they are over or under the legal drinking age of twenty-one.

      4. The possession, sale, use or consumption of ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, while on chapter premises or during a fraternity or sorority event, in any situation sponsored or endorsed by the chapter, or at any event an observer would associate with the fraternity or sorority, must be in compliance with any and all applicable laws of the state, province, county, city and institution of higher education, and must comply with either the BYOB or Third Party Vendor Guidelines.

    2. The possession, sale or use of any illegal drugs or controlled substances while on chapter premises or during a fraternity event or at any event that an observer would associate with the fraternity or sorority is strictly prohibited.

    3. All events with alcohol must be registered through the Dean of Students Office. At any registered social event where alcohol is being served the following is required:

      1. an approved social event registration must be obtained at least 10 business days prior to the date of the event;

      2. a chapter officer, preferably the President, must have the approved form available for review upon request by university personnel, law enforcement officials or national headquarter representatives during the entire event; and

      3. TABC-trained bartender must dispense the alcoholic beverages and security officers at a rate of 1 to 25 must be present for the entire event.

    4. No alcoholic beverages may be purchased through or with chapter funds or may the purchase of alcoholic beverages for members or guests be undertaken or coordinated by any member in the name of or on behalf of the chapter. The purchase or use of a bulk quantity or common source(s) of alcoholic beverage, for example, kegs or cases, is prohibited.

    5. The purchase and/or use of a bulk quantity of alcoholic beverages, such as kegs, punch bowls, trash/garbage containers, bulk juice containers, or any other large commercial alcohol container is prohibited.

    6. Any Greek organization sponsoring or participating in an event will be held equally liable for regulating the event.

    7. No chapter may co-sponsor an event with an alcohol distributor or tavern (tavern defined as an establishment generating more than half of annual gross sales from alcohol) at which alcohol is given away, sold or otherwise provided to those present. This includes any event held in, at or on the property of a tavern as defined above for purposes of fundraising. However, a chapter may rent or use a room or area in a tavern as defined above for a closed event held within the provisions of this policy, including the use of a third party vendor and guest list. An event at which alcohol is present may be conducted or co-sponsored with a charitable organization if the event is held within the provisions of this policy.

    8. All recruitment or rush activities associated with any chapter will be non-alcoholic. No recruitment or rush activities associated with any chapter may be held at or in conjunction with a tavern or alcohol distributor as defined in this policy.

    9. No alcohol shall be present at any pledge/associate member/new member/novice program, activity or ritual of the chapter. This includes but is not limited to activities associated with "bid night", “big brother/big sister night” and/or initiation.

    10. No chapter may co-sponsor, co-finance or attend or participate in a function at which alcohol is purchased by any of the host chapters, groups or organizations.

    11. OPEN PARTIES, meaning those with unrestricted access by non-members of the fraternity or sorority, without specific invitation, where alcohol is present, are forbidden. Admission to any function shall be ONLY by guest list at the door and/or by written invitation. This list MUST BE pre-recorded and also provided to the Greek Affairs within 24 hours of event. Anyone without a specific invitation to the party is prohibited.

    12. The maximum number in attendance at any function cannot exceed the number of chapter members plus two (2) guests each. Any person invited to the function must be provided on a guest list and submitted to DOS along with the event registration.

    13. No member or pledge, associate/new member or novice shall permit, tolerate, encourage or participate in "drinking games". The definition of drinking games includes but is not limited to the consumption of shots of alcohol, liquor or alcoholic beverages, the practice of consuming shots equating to one’s age, "beer pong", "century club", “dares” or any other activity involving the consumption of alcohol which involves duress or encouragement related to the consumption of alcohol.

    14. People dispensing alcohol may not consume any alcoholic beverages during their designated serving time and may not serve alcoholic beverages to someone who, in their judgment, is intoxicated.

    15. Non-alcoholic beverages and food must be readily available and must be free.

    16. If a party is to be held outside, the yard area must be sectioned off to contain the party (i.e. – rope, fence, etc.). There must be one point of entrance and exit monitored for security purposes.

    17. Each sorority and each fraternity must designate at least two initiated members per party who will serve as designated drivers. They are to provide rides for those who are unable to drive safely. Uninitiated members and event guests are not allowed to serve in the role of designated drivers. Designated drivers must not drink any alcoholic beverages within twelve hours of the start of the event or until their driving responsibilities are completed. Designated drivers must be provided even when using a bus service to and from an event. Buses can be used as the only form of safe transportation if the event is held outside of the San Marcos city limits. Any fraternity/sorority whose Inter/national Insurance Policy dictates they cannot supply designated drivers are exempt from this requirement, but buses are still highly encouraged as safe transportation.

    18. Each sorority and each fraternity must designate and provide at least two sober and non-drinking individuals who are twenty-one years of age and older and will serve as sober security (risk managers) for the function. Their responsibility is to ensure all persons entering the function are on the guest list and registered to attend, each person has provided legal identification, and ensure all national and university regulations are met. These members shall also serve (when needed) as sober representatives to law enforcement and emergency officials, university representatives, and/or the third party vendor.

    19. No alcoholic beverages shall leave the event location once the event has begun. Each chapter must have an approved BYOB policy when a third party vendor is not provided or required as per the chapter’s National Risk Management policy.


    1. In an event of a BYOB function, chapters must comply with the NIC BYOB Resource Guide and follow one of the two provided guidelines.

      1. Option one is to hire a third party vendor (i.e. caterers who have a license to serve and/or licensed bartenders to distribute the alcoholic beverages.

      2. Option two is to have alcohol distributed to chapter members and guests who are twenty-one years of age with a BYOB ticket system. In both cases bartenders and/or members who distribute alcohol need to be at least twenty-one years of age or older.

    2. When hosting a BYOB function with a ticket system, each chapter member or guest who is twenty-one years old or older is limited to purchasing a six-pack of beer or four- pack of pre-packaged single serving alcoholic beverages for the event.

      1. A twenty-one-year-old or older member must transport any alcoholic beverages purchased by the members and guests to the sight earlier in the day.

      2. Chapter members may not transport alcohol to the event, nor can guests, designated drivers, or chartered buses immediately prior to, during, or immediately after the social event.

      3. Once the members and/or guests arrive at the function, all persons entering must have their ID’s checked and identified with markings wrist bands to identify who is of legal drinking age.

      4. Alcohol should be distributed by supplying the bartender or security with a ticket and empty container in exchange for the next full container out of the six- pack of beer or four-pack of pre-packaged single serving alcoholic beverage.

      5. Any alcohol not consumed during the event must remain at the site and picked up the following day.

    3. Only chapter members who are twenty-one (21) may enter with alcoholic beverages when a third party vendor is not provided. No member or guest may enter the function more than once with alcoholic beverages.


    1. All fraternities and sororities are expected to adhere to common standards of decency and non-discrimination. Fraternities and sororities should be aware their events are representative of their organization. Examples of theme sensitivity include but are not limited to:

      1. all event themes should be ethnically and/or racially sensitive in nature and not degrade the nationality of any individual or group;

      2. all event themes must be sensitive to gender and sexual orientation. Furthermore, no sexist behavior should be permitted;

      3. no special mention, pictorial or otherwise, of the fact that alcohol will be present at the event should be made when advertising the events. Themes will not have any reference to alcohol or infer alcohol will be present at the event; and

      4. all promotional material (advertising, posters, flyers, favors, and T-shirts) should be sensitive in nature regarding the aforementioned areas of theme sensitivity.


    1. Some violations will be handled on an individual basis; however, it is important to recognize that all fraternity and sorority chapters officially recognized by Texas State University’s Interfraternity, Multicultural, National Pan-Hellenic & Panhellenic Councils are held accountable for each of the members in their organization.

    2. Failure to comply with any of the stated policies in the Texas State University Student Conduct Code and/or the Texas State University Interfraternity, Multicultural, National Pan-Hellenic and Pan-Hellenic Councils may result in any combination of the disciplinary actions listed below:

      1. additional educational requirements;

      2. additional community service requirements;

      3. additional non-alcoholic function requirements;

      4. mandatory presentation of an educational initiative;

      5. temporary inability to host a social function;

      6. cancellation of a planned event/function;

      7. loss of future social privileges;

      8. referral of violation to CASO;

      9. referral of violation to chapter’s international headquarters;

      10. loss of chapter recognition; or

      11. assessed chapter fines.

    3. Reported violations of the Texas State University Student Conduct Code and/or the Texas State University Interfraternity, Multicultural, National Pan-Hellenic & Panhellenic Councils will be reported to CASO personnel. (SA/PPS No. 07.06, Student Organization Disciplinary Procedures)

    4. The investigation of violations will be coordinated by CASO personnel, in consultation with the Dean of Students Office. University disciplinary procedures will be followed in the instance of a violation based upon the severity and circumstances surrounding the incident. Any communication with the fraternity or sorority inter/national headquarters will be carried out through the Dean of Students Office.


    1. Reviewers of this PPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Assistant Dean, Greek Affairs September 1 E4Y
      Associate Dean of Students September 1 E4Y

    This PPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Student Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Assistant Dean, Greek Affairs; senior reviewer of this PPS

    Associate Dean of Students

    Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

    Vice President for Student Affairs