Alcohol Policy

General Information

Kalamazoo College’s alcohol policy is consistent with state law regarding alcoholic beverages and its commitment to helping students be responsible adults. Students twenty-one years and older who choose to use alcohol should do so in a responsible manner and in accordance with state law. Irresponsible drinking may adversely affect academic performance, interfere with personal relationships, or result in illness, injury or death. Drinking should be a considered choice that displays respect for oneself and for the community. Information about the impact of alcohol and treatment of substance abuse can be found in the materials sent to each student annually under the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.

Summary of Michigan Law

It is illegal to purchase, consume, or possess alcoholic beverages unless one has attained the age of twenty-one. It is illegal to provide alcoholic beverages to or provide false identification for a person under the age of twenty-one. (Refer to state statutes for the most complete explanation of the laws of Michigan.)

Kalamazoo Alcohol Policy

  • Persons under the age of twenty-one may not possess or consume alcoholic beverages, or host drinking in their rooms or on campus..
  • No alcoholic beverages shall be provided to persons under the age of twenty-one.
  • Regardless of age, no person may consume alcoholic beverages or carry open alcoholic beverage containers in the public areas of the campus. (Exception as noted in number eight.) Public areas include, but are not limited to, residence hall hallways, lounges and kitchens, campus buildings, athletic fields and facilities, and campus grounds. Residence hall suites and living/learning housing units are considered private residential rooms.
  • Students aged twenty-one and older may choose to drink alcoholic beverages in the privacy of their residential rooms, providing they do not infringe upon the rights of others in or around the residence.
  • Underage persons may be present when drinking occurs in a private residential room as long as a legal-aged resident of that room is present. It shall be the responsibility of the legal- aged resident to see that alcoholic beverages are not served to or consumed by underage persons.
  • Single source containers (e.g. kegs) and “beer bongs” are prohibited.
  • Intoxication and/or disruptive behavior related to substance use are prohibited.
  • Outside of the residence halls and houses, alcoholic beverages may be served on campus only under the following conditions:
    • A College office or department must sponsor the event.
    • A College official must register it at least two weeks in advance with the Dean of Students.
    • The distribution of alcoholic beverages must be served and monitored by a Dining Service bartender or a member of the sponsoring department.
    • Only persons of age may be served.
    • Non-alcohol beverages and food must be served.
    • There shall be no direct or indirect charge for the event and no donations and collections shall be taken at the event.
    • Extra security coverage, at the expense of the host, may be required.

Policy Interpretation

The following interpretation is included to clarify understanding what is and what is not permitted under the alcohol policy:

Persons twenty-one and older:

  • MAY drink alcohol in their own residence hall rooms.
  • MAY drink alcohol in another residence hall room if the host is twenty-one or older and is present.
  • MAY carry unopened containers of alcohol on campus.
  • MAY provide alcohol in their own residence hall rooms to others aged twenty-one or older.
  • MAY NOT drink alcohol in the residence hall outside of a private residence room.
  • MAY NOT drink alcohol in a residence hall room that has no resident of legal age or in which the legal age resident is not present.
  • MAY NOT provide alcohol to others under the age of twenty-one.
  • MAY NOT charge in any way for alcohol consumption by others.
  • MAY NOT possess single source containers.
  • MAY NOT permit underage persons to bring in or consume alcohol in their residence rooms.

Persons under the age of twenty-one:

  • MAY be in private residence rooms where legal drinking is occurring.
  • MAY NOT possess or drink alcohol.
  • MAY NOT permit underage persons to bring in or consume alcohol in their residence rooms.
  • MAY NOT carry opened or unopened alcoholic beverage containers anyplace on campus.
  • MAY NOT provide alcohol to anyone.

All residents of a room, suite, living/learning housing unit will be held responsible when a violation occurs in that space unless excused from responsibility by all other involved students.

Note: Students who seek appropriate help for others who are intoxicated or otherwise adversely affected by alcohol abuse are considered to be acting in the best interest of the student in need. In most cases, if the person seeking help for another is in violation of the College alcohol policy, they will be exempt from formal disciplinary action because they are acting in the interest of another. The College desires to exempt the student seeking help from formal disciplinary action; however, as every situation is unique, these matters will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine if extraordinary or unusual circumstances alter the desired practice.

Terms and Conditions of a Room Search

Residential Life staff have the jurisdiction to investigate the potential use or presence of alcohol anywhere within the college residential system, including individual student rooms, if they suspect that a violation of the College’s alcohol policy is occurring. Elements that may lead a staff member to have a reasonable suspicion include sounds, smells, visual cues, and erratic or disruptive behavior that indicate the presence of alcohol. A search may be initiated by a Resident Assistant involved if the above suspicions are met.

A search is considered to be a prompt for the resident(s) to open things that may be concealing alcohol, along with probing questions revolving around suspected alcohol use, from the staff member in question. The search will always be done in conjunction with the resident(s) of the room and they bear the right to consent or not consent to the search. As such, they may refuse to open closed spaces or answer questions. However, this refusal may result in Residential Life professional staff and/or Campus Safety becoming involved. This refusal will also be reflected in any reports filed and and may add suspicion to the likelihood of a policy violation. 

Each situation is unique and extenuating circumstances may warrant different responses. All considerations will be taken into account by the recipient of the report. The ultimate discretion belongs to the student conduct officer.