Risk Management & Insurance


Food & Drink

black and white photo of people drinking at a bar at a fancy party

Use of Alcohol

The UCSB Policy on Substance Abuse governs the use of alcohol by departments, organized research units, Registered Campus Organizations, and campus affiliated organizations at University-sponsored events. The Policy also governs the use of alcohol by non-University groups and individuals who conduct activities and events in University facilities and on University premises.

UCSB Policy on Substance Abuse

To promote an environment of academic excellence and to comply with the requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act, the UCSB Policy On Substance Abuse requires that academic and staff employees and students:

  • Shall not use illegal substances and shall not abuse legal substances in a manner that impairs scholarly activities, job performance, or student life.
  • Shall not use illegal or legal substances in a manner that violates applicable criminal or civil laws in the workplace, on university premises, at university activities, or while conducting university business.
  • Are prohibited from the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of alcohol and/or controlled substances in the workplace, on university premises, at university activities, or while conducting university business.
  • Are required, if involved in work on or for a federal grant or contract, as a condition of employment on the grant or contract, to notify the university within five (5) calendar days if they are convicted of any criminal drug statute violation for activity occurring at the workplace, at the location of any grant/contract activity, or while on university business.

The Policy (see Section VII “University Sanctions” and Section IX. “Legal Sanctions”) describes sanctions that can be levied against faculty, staff, students, Registered Campus Organizations, visitors and visiting organizations found in violation of University policies and campus regulations.

Use of Alcohol at Department Events

Campus departments and units have developed policies that augment the UCSB Policy On Substance Abuse and its implementing guidelines. Groups and individuals who want to conduct events at which alcohol will be served must comply with the review and approval procedures departments have established which govern the use of alcohol at department events. If your department does not have such review and approval procedures, please consult with, and obtain the approval of, department senior officers about how to proceed with plans to engage in activities that involve the use of alcohol. Department policy may be more restrictive than the UCSB Substance Abuse Policy, but not less restrictive. Departments are required to ensure that their policies remain consistent with the UC Policy on Substance Abuse and the UCSB Policy on Substance Abuse and Implementing Guidelines (see Appendix B. “UCSB Department Policies”) and applicable personnel policies.

Use of Alcohol by Non-Affiliates

The Regulations Governing Conduct of Non-Affiliates state that no non-affiliate shall drink or consume any alcoholic beverage, or possess an alcoholic beverage in an open container, on University property out of doors, except as an invited guest at an event or activity sponsored by the University at which the Designated University Official has approved the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Substance Abuse Counseling Services

UCSB Policy on Substance Abuse, (see Section V. Early Identification of Substance Abuse, Referral and Counseling Services), for information about University resources available to academic and staff employees, and students who seek assistance for substance abuse and dependency problems. See also, Appendix A. “Campus Resources.”

Sale of Alcohol

See UCSB Policy on Substance Abuse, Section X, Subsection D (1). “Sale of Alcohol.”

  1. It is a misdemeanor to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor within one mile of the UCSB campus. Exceptions include bona fide eating-places licensees, off-sale licensees and club licensees (California Penal Code 172, 172e, 172f, 172h).
  2. All food service providers licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in a university facility shall have a system of server training.
  3. The price of alcoholic beverages sold on campus shall not be at a level to encourage excessive consumption (e.g., progressive drink pricing).
  4. It is unlawful to issue a license to fraternities, sororities or other student organizations to sell alcoholic beverages (California Penal Code, Section 172e).

Service of Alcohol

See UCSB Policy on Substance Abuse, , Section X, Subsection D (2). “Service of Alcohol.”

  1. All individuals, groups or organizations responsible for an event at which alcoholic beverages are served must ensure compliance with applicable laws and university policies and regulations.
  2. The consumption of beer, wine, or distilled spirits shall not be the primary purpose of any event.
  3. At all events where alcoholic beverages are served, suitable non- alcoholic beverages and food shall be made available for the duration of the event. Non-alcoholic beverages shall be of comparable quality and shall be featured as prominently as the alcoholic beverages.
  4. No event shall include any form of "drinking contest" in its activities or promotion.
  5. No person under 21 years of age and no obviously intoxicated person shall be furnished, served, or given an alcoholic beverage (California Business and Professions Code 25602a, 26558a).
  6. At events where some attendees are under 21 years of age, designated servers shall restrict access to alcoholic beverages in order to avoid service to those under 21.
  7. A person may be a server of alcoholic beverages at 18 years of age if his or her primary duty is the service of food, with the service of alcohol being incidental. S/he may not, however, mix drinks or serve from the bar until s/he is 21 years of age or older (California Business and Professions Code, Section 25667).
  8. Servers and event assistants are prohibited from consuming any alcoholic beverages at the event.
  9. It is recommended that the consumption of alcoholic beverages be discontinued 30 minutes before the scheduled ending of the event.
  10. All campus entities that sponsor events at which alcoholic beverages are served, whether on or off campus, should review this policy and implementing guidelines prior to the event and ensure compliance.
  11. If an event is likely to draw in excess of 2,500 guests, the event sponsor must first evaluate its feasibility in consultation with affected groups and departments and receive approval from the Major Events Committee.

Advertising, Marketing & Sponsorship

The UCSB Policy on Substance Abuse (see Section X, Subsection E “Advertising, Marketing, and Sponsorship Guidelines”) describes under what conditions and to what extent alcohol may be used to promote, advertise, and sponsor University events.

Laws Governing Alcohol Use & University Liability

The University can incur liability when it serves alcohol at an event. It may incur liability if it causes or contributes to the intoxication of an individual whose subsequent actions cause loss or serves liquor to someone already under the influence. It is a misdemeanor to serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person (California Business and Professions Code, Section 25602). The University can incur liability if it violates alcoholic beverage laws, statues, or regulations. It can incur liability if it serves liquor to a minor. Anyone under 21 who drinks alcohol or anyone who serves alcohol to someone under 21 is guilty of a misdemeanor (California Business and Professions Code, Section 25658). See UCSB Policy on Substance Abuse, (see Appendix C, “A Sample of Applicable Laws and Ordinances”) for a list of Laws and Ordinances Governing Alcohol. NOTE: The University’s insurance programs rarely cover employees charged with criminal behavior.

Liquor Licenses on UC Premises

University Delegation of Authority 554 states, “...no individual, group, or campus acting in the name of The Regents or in the name of the University may apply for a license to engage in the sale of any alcoholic beverage, including beer...”. This prohibition is pursuant to the State Constitution, which prohibits any State agency, including the University, from being licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. Therefore, any license to provide or sell alcoholic beverages on a campus must be issued in the name of an organization such as a faculty club, food service vendor, alumni group, or other independent entity. Chancellors have delegated authority to submit a written request directly to the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control on behalf of organizations applying for licenses to serve liquor on campus and a written statement setting forth the reasons why issuance of the license would be in the public interest. Questions concerning the approval of liquor licenses in University facilities should be directed to the Policy Coordinator in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor of Administrative Services.

Reduce and/or Transfer the Risk

Alcohol is a part of American society but increasing attention is focused on its responsible use. If your department provides alcoholic beverages at any of its events it is the department’s responsibility to manage the risk. Be familiar with liquor laws and regulations and make certain your event is organized accordingly. Consider the alcohol content of the alcoholic beverages being served; control the serving size. Serve low alcohol or non-alcoholic drinks of equal quality and variety. Do not allow open bars. Locate the bar where people do not continually pass by it. Close the bar well before the end of the event. Serve food; preferably more than hors d’oeuvres.

An excellent way to reduce the risk exposure that alcohol consumption creates for the University is to transfer the responsibility of providing and serving the alcohol to a licensed and insured hotel, restaurant, caterer or professional bartender. The campus Procurement Services Office and Risk Management Office will make certain the vendor has the proper insurance, including Liquor Liability Insurance in the amount of $1,000,000. The contract with the vendor will contain an indemnity provision that, along with the vendor’s insurance, will transfer the risk associated with an alcohol-related loss to the vendor (see UCSB: Contracts for information about indemnification, insurance, and risk transfer).