Laws and Policies Regarding Alcohol on TN College Campuses

There have been several recent changes and/or proposals for change regarding alcohol on Tennessee college campuses.  This year, a law was passed to allow for the sale of alcohol at sporting events on Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and Tennessee State University (TSU) campuses.  Now, the University of Tennessee is considering policy changes to allow for alcohol to be permitted on the previously dry campus.

While MADD is not (and has never been) against adults 21 and older drinking alcohol, we do support the 21 minimum drinking age to keep youth healthy and safe, and we urge all adults to keep alcohol out of the hands of youth.  Therefore, regarding alcohol on college campuses, MADD recommends:

  • that students, faculty, deans and administrators all be involved in the development of responsible beverage service policies.
  • that campuses have a policy that limits the times and locations of parties on campus where alcohol is served, and limits attendance to students age 21 or older.
  • that all campus parties be registered in advance with a written contract specifying the responsible beverage service serving policies to be implemented with emphasis on the procedures for assuring that students under 21 are not served alcohol.
  • that the management of any on-campus facility which serves alcohol be required to file a responsible beverage service plan with the administration. This plan must demonstrate that the management will avoid special alcohol promotions and insure that their staff training and sales policies are designed to prevent sales to underage persons and obviously intoxicated patrons.
  • that trained servers over 21 be required at all campus events or facilities where alcohol is served or sold.
  • that organizations sponsoring events at which alcohol is served be required to obtain liability insurance.
  • that the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks is required at campus events or facilities where alcohol is lawfully served.
  • that because of the difficulty of controlling service, keg parties be banned.
  • that on-campus pubs be avoided because they increase the availability of alcohol and are likely to encourage heavy drinking and underage drinking.
  • that alcoholic beverages should not be sold or served at any college athletic or sporting event.

In addition to these on-campus recommendations, to protect youth against underage drinking at off-campus events, MADD supports the requirement that all kegs and other large containers of alcoholic beverages be registered at point of purchase in order to facilitate identification of those who purchase illegally or provide to youth under age 21.

We ask that Tennessee State legislators and any college/university administrations considering adopting policies to allow for alcohol on-campus, abide by MADD’s recommendations to best protect students and the public against underage drinking and impaired driving.