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Alcohol Policy

Hampshire College’s alcohol policy is guided by and abides by laws regarding such matters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the town of Amherst. The acquisition, possession, transportation, consumption, and distribution of alcoholic beverages is governed by statute and regulation. For the full text of the law, please see chapter 138 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

The following outlines the policy including application of the policy for students who are of a legal drinking age:

  • A person must be 21 years of age or older to purchase, possess, consume, and transport alcoholic beverages.
    • Any alcoholic beverage found in the possession of someone under 21 years of age may be confiscated. 
    • For students residing in College housing, alcohol may be stored only in the private rooms of those who are of legal age to drink alcohol, and those individuals may store only their own alcohol for private use.
    • Alcoholic beverages may not be stored in common spaces in College housing, except for those common spaces of campus apartments where all residents are 21 years of age or older.
    • Students transported to the hospital or assessed medical attention for over consumption of alcohol, whether of legal age or not, may be in violation of the alcohol policy and may qualify for Alcohol and Other Drug Amnesty.
  • Purchasing or delivering a drink to anyone under the legal drinking age is a violation of law and of Hampshire policy.
  • The possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages in public violates Hampshire College policy and Amherst town law. Possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages outdoors and in common areas of the College is prohibited in the absence of a registered social event. The private rooms and offices of community members 21 years of age or older and the residence common spaces of campus apartments where all residents are 21 years of age or older are the only exceptions to this.
  • It is a violation of Hampshire policy and Massachusetts law to willfully misrepresent one’s age or the age of another person in order to purchase or receive alcoholic beverages.
  • No person may serve an alcoholic beverage to a person who is obviously intoxicated.
  • No alcohol may be served at a social event after 1 a.m.
  • Possession of kegs of alcohol is permitted only with a permit from the town of Amherst. A town permit must be applied for from the Amherst police chief at least one week prior to the event.
    • Beer kegs are not permitted on campus without the prior approval of the area coordinator for the area for parties in student residences and the appropriate student life professional for all campus events. In all cases, a copy of the completed permit must be provided to campus police prior to the event.

Events with Alcohol
A person, group, or organization may not sell alcoholic beverages, or charge admission to an event where alcoholic beverages are served, unless a license is obtained from the local licensing authority, the Amherst Board of Selectmen.

  • A social event on the Hampshire College campus is considered to be any gathering at which more than 15 people are in attendance.
  • The availability of alcohol may not be contained in the off-campus advertising, including postings online, of any event. On-campus advertising may indicate alcohol may be served to persons over the age of 21, but amounts of alcohol may not be publicized. Alcohol should not, in any context, be the central focus of any event, and may not be advertised as such. No advertisement may contain the offering of free alcohol at any time.
  • At all social events where alcohol is served, nonalcoholic beverages and food must be provided by the sponsor of the event in adequate proportion to the alcoholic beverages on hand, and must be available for as long as alcohol is served.

For more information on sponsoring an event with alcohol on campus please visit Campus Leadership & Activities (CLA) or speak with an area coordinator to discuss registering an event with alcohol in a student residence.