Duke Policies

Alcohol Policy

University-Wide Policy

As a community of scholars and learners, Duke University expects those within its community to be responsible with the use of alcohol. This policy shall guide the role of alcohol everywhere on the Duke campus and at all events sponsored by Duke organizations, schools, or administrative units. Students, staff, and faculty members are encouraged to learn about the social, physiological, and psychological consequences of drinking and alcohol abuse. Excessive and high-risk drinking can lead to negative consequences for the Duke community, including assault, illness, injury, litter, noise, property damage, and driving under the influence. All members of the Duke community share responsibility for creating an environment that limits dangerous drinking behaviors and, therefore, reduces the likelihood of these negative outcomes.

The following shall guide the role of alcohol in the Duke community:

  • All possession, consumption, and distribution of alcohol at Duke University shall be in accordance with applicable North Carolina state laws.
  • Members of the Duke community are responsible for behaving in a manner that is not disruptive or endangering to themselves or others. Being under the influence of alcohol shall not be a mitigating factor for an individual’s behavior.
  • When persons under 21 years of age can reasonably be expected to be present at an event, proper precautions must be taken to restrict distribution and consumption of alcohol to persons of legal drinking age. Student organizations shall also adhere to the specific guidelines for events outlined in The Duke Community Standard in Practice: A Guide for Undergraduates or the Graduate and Professional Student Alcohol Policy.
  • Advertising or other communication that references the availability of alcohol at a function may neither promote alcohol as the focus of the event nor promote excessive drinking.
  • Each community (e.g., Undergraduate, Fuqua, Law) may establish additional guidelines and policies governing the possession, consumption, and distribution of alcohol that reach beyond these minimal expectations. Violations of policies shall be adjudicated using existing procedures within each segment of the university.

Undergraduate Policy

The remainder of this policy, specifically for undergraduates, augments Duke’s university-wide alcohol policy. For individuals as well as groups, whether on campus or off, prohibited behavior includes:

  • underage possession/consumption;
  • unsafe/irresponsible behavior;
  • violation of community expectations;
  • general provisions violation; and,
  • violation(s) of expectations for group-sponsored social functions.

Sanctions for violations of any of these prohibited behaviors are outlined on the website of the Office of Student Conduct. Parents of students under the age of 21 may be notified of alcohol-related disciplinary violations when a student’s health or safety has been/is at risk.

Underage Possession/Consumption

Students under 21 years of age are not permitted to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages. Being under the influence of any amount of alcohol while underage is considered a violation of this provision. Groups are considered in violation of this provision if they facilitate the acquisition of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21.

Unsafe/Irresponsible Behavior

Unsafe or irresponsible behavior is defined as actions that are harmful or potentially harmful to one’s self or others involving the use of alcohol. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • consuming an excessive quantity in a short amount of time;
  • participating in or facilitating drinking games or progressive parties;
  • consuming through beer bongs;
  • use or attempted use of fraudulent identification or another’s identification to obtain alcohol; and
  • making alcohol available to underage drinkers.

Community Expectations Violation

It shall be a violation of the alcohol policy to engage in an action while under the influence of alcohol that is disruptive to the community. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • driving; 
  • exhibiting disorderly conduct, damaging property, and/or fighting;
  • littering;
  • running away or hiding from university or public officials, including law enforcement;
  • vomiting and/or urinating in public; and
  • cursing and/or shouting at others.

General Provisions Violation

Duke University has established the following general provisions regarding alcohol on campus:

  • No kegs or other common-source containers are permitted on campus in private rooms, student apartments, commons rooms, or other public space. (University-approved bartenders, who will be responsible for carding, may distribute alcohol from kegs in public space at events.) Common-source containers, include, but are not limited to, trashcans, recycling bins, kiddie pools, cases of beer, and coolers.
  • Only university-approved bartenders are permitted to distribute alcohol on campus, including alcohol from common-source containers.
  • Except at events in a licensed facility providing a cash bar, no spirituous liquor or fortified wines may be served to undergraduates.
  • All students on university property consuming or possessing alcohol must carry a valid driver’s license, state identification card, military identification card, or passport.
  • Alcohol may not be brought in glass containers to on-campus BYOB events.
  • No individual may possess more than six cans at a BYOB event. Each can may not exceed 12 ounces.
  • Containers holding more than 24 ounces are prohibited from BYOB events.
  • No alcoholic beverages are permitted in first-year houses (or the surrounding grounds) on East Campus.
  • No alcoholic beverages are permitted within the confines of campus athletic facilities during sporting events.
  • The use of alcoholic beverages as a prize is prohibited.

Expectations for Group-Sponsored Social Functions

Recognized groups may be held accountable for violations of the alcohol policy that occur during a group-sponsored event on campus. To ensure that such violations do not occur, a group will be held accountable if the group failed to take appropriate precautions. Appropriate precautions must include:

  • a sober party monitor for every 25 persons expected to attend the event;
  • adequate and accessible non-alcoholic beverages and food;
  • compliance with all fire safety regulations;
  • adequate control of access to event;
  • enforcing occupancy limits for the venue, including commons rooms, hallways, and stairwells;
  • calling for medical/police assistance as needed; and
  • serving of alcohol by licensed bartenders only.

Expectations for and obligations of student party monitors are communicated online through the Duke Student Wellness Center. Duties of party monitors include, but are not limited to, prevention of alcohol policy violations, intervention and care of inebriated, at-risk individuals, elimination of safety hazards, and attention to group precautions. Checking identification will be the responsibility of licensed bartenders. Groups may be held accountable for the actions of individual party monitors.

Party monitors and university officials may deny access to events to anyone who is visibly intoxicated and/or disruptive.

Social events that fail to meet any of these expectations may be shut down immediately.

Health and Safety Intervention

Because health and safety of students are of primary importance, students are encouraged not only to look out for their own health and safety but also for that of their peers. When a person’s health and/or safety is/are threatened or appear(s) to be in jeopardy, immediate action should be taken to prevent injury/illness/danger. The action may be a call to Duke Police (911 or 919-684-2444 from non-campus phones) or Student Health (919-681-9355) for assistance and guidance. Whatever the particular need/problem, it is important to respond in a responsible and timely manner. 

Formal disciplinary action for a violation of the alcohol policy will not be taken against students for whom medical assistance is sought, or against those who seek medical assistance for themselves or for others, provided that the student/group has not violated other university policies that warrant formal disciplinary action.

A student who receives medical assistance may be required to meet with a substance abuse specialist in the Duke Student Wellness Center (DUWELL) for education, assessment, and possible referral for treatment. The student may also be required to complete an educational assignment. Parents of such students under the legal drinking age may also be notified. A group that facilitates the acquisition of alcohol may also be required to notify its advisor, provide an educational program for members, and/or change its processes for hosting events. 

In the event that a student fails to meet with the specialist, chooses not to participate in the treatment program outlined, or exhibits a pattern of abusive behavior with alcohol, the student may be subject to formal disciplinary action and/or placed on a Medical Leave of Absence or Involuntary Administrative Withdrawal until he/she produces documentation that appropriate treatment has been successfully sought.

A panel of the Undergraduate Conduct Board will be informed of a student who has received “amnesty” under this provision of the Alcohol Policy should the student be subsequently found responsible for a violation of policy related to substance use for purposes of effective sanctioning.


The following resources are available to members of the Duke community:

  • Duke Police and Emergency Medical Service: 911 or 919-684-2444 from non-campus phones. Professionals will respond to assess the medical needs of an individual who is incapacitated or at-risk.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services: 919-660-1000. CAPS offers evaluation, consultation, counseling, and referrals for students concerned about alcohol use.
  • Personal Assistance Service: 919-416-1727. PAS offer assessment, short-term counseling, and referrals for employees and faculty members concerned about alcohol use.
  • Duke Addictions Program: 919-684-3850. DAP offers evaluation, consultation, and treatment for individuals with alcohol and other substance abuse issues, as well as support services for family members.
  • Holly Hill Hospital: 800-447-1800. 24-hour confidential advice on alcohol abuse.
  • Academic courses related to alcohol use, treatment, and research. See course listings through the Office of University Registrar at http://registrar.duke.edu or the Bulletin of each school.
Last Updated: 8/12/2014 Policy Owner: Office of Student Conduct