Keefe Campus Center

Amherst College Party Policy

NOTE: The last day to have a registered party approved for the current semester is May 2, 2015.  Spring semester parties registered to be held after this date will not be approved.

Amherst College’s Party Policy is designed to help students host safe, successful, and respectful parties. The Policy encourages forethought and responsible party management on the part of student Party Sponsors, ensures sufficient coordination time for necessary facilities, support services and security, and adheres to Massachusetts state law.

When do I have to register a party?

All student parties must be registered if any of the following conditions apply:        

a.) College collected funds are used.
b.) Public space (including residential common spaces) is used for a gathering with amplified music/dancing/diminished lighting.
c.) Alcohol (beer and/or wine) is being consumed in a common public space, including residence hall common areas.

Do I have to register parties in my private space (e.g. room, social suite living room)?

No. However, residents are expected to make a responsible effort to maintain safety for guests at private parties, including managing safe attendance levels and addressing unsafe intoxication of guests. All residents who hold private parties (including all members of a suite) are subject to the same disciplinary consequences as registered party hosts.

What are the different options for a registered party?

There are four party options from which to choose. Click the link for each option to read a description of the party parameters:

Keep in mind parties with >99 guests trigger the requirements of the state of Massachusetts Crowd Manager Law. See requirements for Party Options 3 or 4 for more information. 

How do I register a party?

Party registration is simple. 

  • First, you need to reserve a public venue through an RC for a space in a residence hall, or through an administrator for non-residence hall spaces. See How to Reserve a Room for details.
  • Next, you need to complete an online Party Registration Form.
  • The form will be reviewed by a member of the Student Activities Office or Dean of Students Office.
    • For Option 1, you must submit the Party Registration Form by no later than 9 a.m. Thursday for a party on Fri/Sat/Sun or two business days in advance for a party on Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs. Staff will contact you via email to approve your party—or, if the registration form is incomplete to gather more information from you.
    • For Options 2, 3, 4, you must submit the Party Registration Form at least 5 business days in advance. Student Activities Office staff will confirm a meeting time to review the party details and plan for the hiring of Student Security, Crowd Manager and/or TIPS certified servers.

What are the general expectations of Party Sponsors?

Party Sponsors must make a responsible effort to manage parties safely and show respect for facilities and staff. At minimum this includes:

    • At least 1 Party Sponsor per 50 expected guests
    • Be in attendance for the duration of the party
    • Remain sober
    • Manage safe attendance levels
    • Address unsafe conditions at party, including unsafe intoxication of guests, overcrowding, and any guest behavior that creates a risk for other guests
    • Request AC police assistance to address unsafe conditions that develop outside of your reasonable control 
    • Be available to interact and cooperate with AC Police Officers if necessary
    • Clean up the registered party space adequately by noon the following day (for residential halls) or by the end of the night for other public spaces
  • Specific expectations for the four different party options are detailed in Party Options.
  • Safety is the college’s first priority. Students should call ACEMS and/or AC Police for support whenever the need arises, with the understanding that this will be taken into consideration in any student conduct meetings that may result from unsafe conditions at a party.

What happens if I sponsor a party and fail to meet the expectations of a Party Sponsor?

Given the importance of maintaining community safety and respect, there is a set of tiered consequences for Party Sponsors who fail to make a responsible effort to manage parties safely and show respect for facilities and staff.

  • The first incident will minimally result in a warning and a meeting with a member of the Dean of Student’s office.
  • A second incident may result in college probation and/or an assignment of campus community service.
  • A third incident may result in further community service, housing penalties (losing a point on one’s room draw score), housing relocation, or removal from housing.
  • As before, incidents may result in cleanup costs and potential fines.

What happens if there is dorm damage at the party I sponsor?

Per current policy, if any damage of facilities or equipment occurs during your registered party, those identified as being responsible will be charged for the cost of repair or replacement. If the person(s) responsible for the damage cannot be identified, the Party Sponsor(s) will be charged for all damages and fines.

Will I be recognized for hosting safe and respectful parties?

Yes! Every time students sponsor a registered party in a public space without violations, unsafe conditions, and cleaned up adequately, the Party Sponsors will be entered into a monthly raffle for a $100 purchase order for refreshments at your next party! (Sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs)

Who can help me plan a party successfully? 

Students may seek party planning guidance from the Student Life Office staff and/or the Residential Life Area Coordinators for their residential areas.

What are Massachusetts Law, Town Policy, and Amherst College Policy in relation to the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages?


a.)  A person must be at least 21 years of age to purchase/possess or be served alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts.

b.)  Possession of an alcoholic beverage by a person under the legal drinking age or any arrangement with another person to procure such drinks is a crime punishable by a $300 mandatory fine.

c.)  Willful misrepresentation of one's age or the age of another person in order to purchase or receive alcoholic beverages is a crime punishable by a mandatory $300 fine.

d.)  Any person who purchases for or delivers a drink to someone under the legal drinking age commits a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or by imprisonment of up to six months or both.

e.)  No person may serve an alcoholic beverage to an individual who is obviously inebriated.

f.)   No alcohol may be sold after 1:00 am.

h.) A Wine and Malt (Beer) license is mandatory when wine and beer are being served and there is an admission charge, donation to enter or any other attempt to raise money.


a.)  A keg license is required for the possession of a keg containing malt beverage (beer), and for the dispensing of a malt beverage from a keg. Under town policy, failure to secure a keg license is an arrestable offense.


a.)  College-collected student activities and social fees and other College collected funds may not be allocated for the purchase of alcohol.

b.)  Party Sponsors should employ a method to identify under-age persons and to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not served to such persons.

c.)  All Party Sponsors should provide an appropriate amount of equally accessible, nonalcoholic beverages when alcoholic beverages are available.

d.)  Advertisements and posters for the party may not mention or imply the availability of alcohol.

e.)  Kegs and alcohol of any type are not permitted in first-year dorms. Students who are found in violation of this regulation will be subject to a $100 fine and seizure of the keg(s). If the keg is unlicensed there is an additional $100 fine.

f.)   No hard liquor is permitted at public parties with the rare exception of some senior parties sponsored in association with the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs.  Drinking games, funnels, ice-luges, and similar devices are prohibited

g.) Party Sponsors must follow Party Policy. For Party Option 4, no one under the age of 21 shall be allowed access to the 21+ room. Student Security will check identification at the door of the 21+ room.  Amherst College Police Officers will monitor the 21+ room periodically to make sure that no one under 21 has entered it. Student Security will also insure that students do not leave the 21+ with alcohol.

NOTE: If any of the above policies are violated, Amherst College Police may close down the party immediately. Amherst College Police will shut down parties which are the cause of noise complaints by local residents. Violators of the Town's noise ordinance may receive summonses from the Town Police and may be subject to fines and possible arrest.



Keefe Campus Center