A downloadable PDF of the handbook is available at Rhodes College Student Handbook.

Social and Alcohol Policy

Alcohol and its effect on the college experience is a common topic of discussion and debate. The Rhodes College philosophy is that there is a time and a place for alcohol consumption consistent with certain college activities and times. No matter the circumstance, an individual’s behavior when consuming alcohol should always demonstrate respect for people and property.

When an individual chooses to drink alcohol, they are assuming some level of risk – risk to their health and safety, and, if they are under the legal drinking age, the risk that they will be held accountable either by the College and/or by law enforcement. Students can lessen their risk by practicing reasonable and safe consumption of alcohol. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation and not toward a goal of intoxication. 

Drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication is not a community value and violates this policy. Rhodes defines alcohol intoxication as a condition of having physical or mental control so diminished by the effects of alcohol that the individual: (1) is a danger to themselves; (2) presents a danger to other people or property; or (3) unreasonably annoys people in the vicinity. Regardless of a student’s age, intoxication is not tolerated.

Rhodes College follows federal and state law as it pertains to alcohol:

  • Individuals under 21 may not possess and/or consume alcohol.
  • Individuals may not sell, give, or serve alcoholic beverages or permit alcohol to be served to persons under 21. By law, the sale of alcoholic beverages includes any situation in which there is a charge for entertainment or service and alcohol is freely available.
  • Individuals may not drive or operate a vehicle on or off campus while under the influence of alcohol. 
  • As a private institution, Rhodes College has standards and expectations on campus that go above and beyond the law:
  • Individuals, regardless of whether they are of legal drinking age, are not permitted to possess or consume alcohol in residence halls that are designated for first-year students.
  • Individuals may not possess open containers of alcohol, including secondary containers (i.e., cups, tumblers, water bottles, etc.) on College property, such as in academic buildings, the library, parking lots, outdoor quads and spaces, athletic fields, roadways, and administrative buildings.
  • Individuals may not possess open containers of alcohol, including secondary containers (i.e., cups, tumblers, water bottles, etc.) in public areas, such as on a street, sidewalk, or in a park. 

There are some campus events where alcohol is served in a controlled and monitored setting. At these approved events, carrying alcohol from one on-campus venue to another is strictly prohibited unless carried in a cup. No bottles, cans, kegs, or other containers are permitted to be carried from one on-campus venue to another.

Because the College is committed to promoting the reasonable and safe consumption of alcohol, paraphernalia that facilitates high-risk or binge drinking is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, beer bongs or funnels, kegs, and other common containers and mass sources.

Drinking games are another contributor to the rapid consumption of alcohol and are also prohibited.

In situations in which an alcohol policy violation occurs in a group setting, the determination of each individual’s responsibility for the violation will be determined on a case-by-case basis, including, but not limited to, the following factors:

  • The location and quantity of alcohol,
  • The student’s ability to exercise control over the situation, or
  • Whether or not students in the incident take responsibility for the procurement or consumption of the alcohol.

Shared Responsibility Statement: Students who are found to be present in an environment where illegal alcohol consumption is present will be held responsible for a “Shared Responsibility Alcohol” violation. This violation will result in a warning and alcohol education.

Hosting Events and Parties

All events planned and hosted by Rhodes College departments and organizations must use the Events Management System to:

  • Reserve the location (indoor, outdoor, and off-campus) 14 days before the event start date. If coordination with other departments listed below, arrangements are needed at least seven days in advance.
  • Arrange catering through Bon Appetit and request any of the following: set-up from the Physical Plant (chairs, tables, stage, etc.), AV equipment from the Barret Media Center, Campus Safety if cash is collected or security is needed, and publicity through Communications.
  • In planning events where alcohol is anticipated, the host will work with the VP for Finance and Business Affairs (faculty and staff) and Campus Safety to plan logistics and procedures related to compliance with the law, organizational rules and by-laws, and the well-being of guests.
    • .
    • Requests for exceptions to these procedures should be made to the Director of Student Engagement and the Dean of Equity and Engagement for student groups
  • Advertising for events must follow the Posting Signs Policy in the Student Handbook.
  • Clean-up of events on campus must be completed by 8 a.m. the following morning unless an earlier time is requested in advance. 

Regulatory and Contractual Compliance

  • Bon Appetit is Rhodes College’s approved contract vendor for food and beverages. To consume alcohol in the Lair and/or Lair Patio, it must be purchased through Bon Appetit.
  • In compliance with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, possession and consumption of alcohol is prohibited at National Collegiate Athletic Association athletic events.
  • In planning of events where alcohol is anticipated, the host will work with the VP for Finance and Business Affairs (faculty and staff) and Campus Safety to plan logistics and procedures related to compliance with the law, organizational rules and by-laws, and the well-being of guests. No organization shall furnish alcoholic beverages to students on campus or at any College function.
  • Requests for exceptions to these procedures should be made to the Dean of Students for student groups or the VP for Finance and Business Affairs for other groups.

Alcohol Shipments and Delivery

It is prohibited for any student, regardless of age, to have alcohol shipped to the mailroom at Rhodes College. The mailroom will inform the Office of Community Standards if/when shipments of alcohol are received. This is a violation of the Social and Alcohol Policy.

Tennessee Law on Alcohol

The following summary is provided to promote increased awareness of the Tennessee laws concerning alcoholic beverages. This summary is not intended to be a restatement of the law nor a summary of all of the laws relating to alcoholic beverages. All members of the Rhodes community are responsible for compliance with the state laws governing the use of alcohol.

Regarding alcohol consumption, according to Tennessee law, it is illegal:

  • For any person or group of legal drinking age to sell, furnish, or provide alcoholic beverages to any person under twenty-one years of age;
  • For any person under the age of twenty-one to purchase, receive, or possess alcoholic beverages;
  • For any person to make a false statement to the effect that the individual is twenty-one years of age or older for the purpose of obtaining alcoholic beverages;
  • For any person or group to sell alcoholic beverages without a license;
  • For any person or group of legal drinking age to sell or furnish any alcoholic beverages to any person who is known to be visibly intoxicated, or to any person who appears to habitually drink alcoholic beverages to excess, or to any person who appears to be a habitual user of narcotics or other habit-forming drugs.

Regarding alcohol and driving a motor vehicle, according to Tennessee law, it is illegal:

  • To drive or be in physical control of a motor vehicle if a person is under twenty-one years of age and registers .02 or more blood-alcohol content (BAC); for individuals who are twenty-one or over, the blood-alcohol test level is set at .08.
  • To consume any alcoholic beverage or possess an open container of alcoholic beverage while operating a motor vehicle.

Partial summary of punishments for offenses related to alcohol and motor vehicles:

  • The offense of driving while impaired (.02 or greater BAC) for a person under age twenty-one (21) is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a driver’s license suspension of one (1) year and by a fine of two-hundred fifty dollars ($250). As additional punishment, the court may impose public service work.
  • The offense of driving while the driver is in possession of an open container of alcohol, or of a beverage containing any amount of alcohol, is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine to be established by the court.
  • The first DUI offense (.08 or higher BAC) is punishable by 48 hours up to 11 months and 29 days jail time, one (1) year suspension of license, $350 - $1,500 fine, and participation in an alcohol treatment program.
  • The second DUI offense (.08 or higher BAC) is punishable by 45 up to 11 months and 29 days jail time, two (2) year suspension of license, $600 - $3,500 fine, and alcohol and drug treatment program may be required.
  • The third DUI offense (.08 or higher BAC) is punishable by 120 up to 11 months and 20 day jail time, three (3) to ten (10) year suspension of license, $1,100 - $10,000 fine, 11 months and 29 days probation, and alcohol and drug treatment program may be required.
  • The fourth DUI offense (.08 or higher BAC) is a Class E Felony punishable by 150 straight days minimum jail time, five (5) year suspension of license, $3,000 - $15,000 fine, and 1 to 6 years’ probation or parole, and alcohol and drug treatment program may be required.

Violations 

Student violations of this policy include, but are not limited to, the possession or consumption of alcohol if under the age of 21, providing alcohol to underage students, or alcohol intoxication or substance-induced behavior that places a student or others at risk in terms of health and safety issues. Students in violation will:

  1. Dispose of all alcoholic beverages in their possession or the alcoholic beverages will be confiscated and disposed of by a College staff member;

Special Note: Any violation that includes drinking and driving on campus will likely result in a suspension of parking and driving privileges for the rest of the student’s college career at Rhodes in addition to other applicable sanctions.

Alcohol Awareness

Rhodes is committed to providing students with information about alcohol and confidential referrals for professional assistance if needed. An awareness of the negative effects of alcohol consumption may assist you in your efforts to make safe and responsible choices about alcohol. Educational programs will be organized and conducted annually to promote continued awareness and encourage an attitude of genuine concern and care for others. Information concerning responsible use, effective party planning, indications of abuse or addiction, and resources for assistance are available for you or someone you care about in the Student Counseling Center.