Student-Hosted Event Policy - Fall 2021

Approved events for the remainder of the semester

Student-Hosted Event Policy 

Amherst College’s Student-Hosted Event Policy is designed to help students host safe, successful, and respectful events. The Policy encourages forethought and responsible event management on the part of student event hosts, ensures sufficient coordination time for necessary facilities, support services, and security, adheres to the Student Code of Conduct and Massachusetts state law. 


The College’s public health guidance related to Covid-19 supersedes this policy. Students are expected to prioritize the health and safety of the campus at all times. Updated Covid-19 expectations can be found here


Student-Hosted Event - any event or activity that is attended by twenty (20) or more individuals. Alcohol may or may not be approved. Proposed events that do not include alcohol and with an anticipated attendance of fewer than 20 persons may be requested in accordance with this policy, but it is not required (students may appreciate the opportunity to reserve space for club meetings or other small gatherings). Event requests are submitted via Virtual EMS. 

Event Host - For events at which alcohol is approved, hosts must be 21 or older and are expected to be sober (not under the influence of alcohol or other drugs that have not been specifically prescribed to the student), physically present at the event venue, and accessible by phone at all times during the event. For events at which alcohol is not requested or not approved, hosts’ ages are irrelevant. Hosts should be vigilant for situations that may endanger the health, safety, or welfare of individuals and promptly obtain assistance from the College if there are any concerns. Hosts must be trained by the Office of Student Affairs (60-minute Zoom training) prior to being eligible for requesting the reservation of space in the residence halls. All hosts must be in compliance with the College’s Covid-19 Testing Program. 

Space Usage 

The College has identified the following residence-hall (and Powerhouse) event spaces that are permitted for reservation by students for the current semester, and that are of a basic nature (not requiring enhanced staffing or setups). Some halls’ residents have requested that at least one of the Event Hosts must be an assigned resident of the hall that contains the requested venue. All other residence hall venues not listed in the table below are unavailable for student-hosted events (20+ people) unless organized by College staff, such as Residential Life student or professional staff. Unauthorized events will be immediately dispersed and the students present may be subject to adjudication.

Name of Venue

At Least One Host 

Must Reside in this 

Residence Hall

Occupancy Limit 

of Venue

Drew Living Room 


50 (living room) + 25 (foyer)

Cohan Large Basement Common Room



Ford Hall Function Room 




Large Common Room




Common Room


40 (living room) + 40 (dining room)

King First Floor 

Common Room



Lipton Basement 

Common Room 


Large Common Room





Mayo-Smith Common 




Morris Pratt First Floor 

Common Room








28 (library) + 25 (living room)



99 (unless partnering with Student Activities, then up to 125)





  • Students must request an Event Reservation, via the Virtual EMS system, at least 3 days (by noon) in advance of their planned event and no more than 14 days in advance. For example, an event request for a Thursday night must be submitted by Monday at noon. This registration will be reviewed by members of the Office of Student Affairs and if the event is approved, the requesting student(s) will receive an email confirmation. 
  • Events cannot be registered during the first two weeks of a semester or when classes are not in session. Events will not be approved during J-Term.
  • Approved events with alcohol may be held only on Friday and Saturday starting no earlier than 8:00 pm ET and ending no later than 1:00 am ET. 
  • Approved events without alcohol may be held on any day, starting no earlier than 6:00 pm ET and ending no later than 1:00 am ET. 
  • Approved events (with or without alcohol) may not be longer than four hours.
  •  No more than one event per space per night. 
  • Student Affairs retains discretion to determine an appropriate number of daily approved events based on available staff resources. 

Host Obligations (whether alcohol is approved or not) 

  • Each event will require one host per 20 people in attendance. An event with an expected attendance of 25 people would require two hosts. An approved event with fewer than 20 expected guests requires one host. 
  • Hosts must address unsafe conditions during the event, including unsafe intoxication of guests, overcrowding, and any guest behavior that creates a risk for other guests and/or facilities. Note: Please see amnesty policies below (Section 4.4 of the Student Code of Conduct). 
  • Hosts must request Amherst College Police, Campus Safety Team, Community Service Officer, or other College assistance to address unsafe conditions that develop outside of the host’s reasonable control. All resources can be reached by calling the Amherst College Dispatch Center at 413.542.2291.
  • Hosts must return the event space to the same condition in which it was found prior to the start of the event by the next morning. When the next morning is not a class day, the deadline for cleaning is noon. When the next morning is a class day, the deadline is 5:00 am ET. 
  • Hosts will be required to check in with a Student Affairs representative (usually a member of the Community Safety Team) at the beginning of their event. Hosts will likewise be responsible for remaining at the event venue for the duration of the event and for checking out with a Student Affairs representative at the conclusion of their event. 

Event Attendees 

  • Events generally should be open to the Amherst College community. Attendees should be able to produce their AMherst College ID. However, a host should deny entrance of prospective attendees at an event to ensure fire and safety protocols, egress, and adequate social distancing. Reminder: At the time of this policy’s activation, Covid guidelines prohibit persons who are not Amherst College students from entering any part of any residence hall at any time. Keep yourself informed of current guidelines.

Alcohol-related Guidelines 

  • Only attendees who are 21 years of age or older may consume or possess alcohol.
  • Only beer, wine, and other lower-alcohol concentration beverages may be consumed. No unregistered kegs, hard alcohol (30% ethanol by volume or greater), bulk quantities, or common-source containers (e.g. beverage coolers with spigots) of alcohol are permitted.
  • Hosts may not provide alcohol in any quantity to their attendees.
  • Guests who are 21+ may bring, for their own personal consumption, a maximum of six 12 oz cans of beer OR one 750 ml bottle of wine (or their equivalents depending on the volume of their original containers). 
  • Alcohol may not be sold at events. 
  • No student group funding may be used to purchase alcohol. This includes student fee monies allocated through the AAS or Student Activities, revenue funds from previous events held, or compulsory dues that are collected. 
  • Events may not include behaviors that result in the rapid consumption of alcohol, also known as binge drinking. 

Other Guidelines 

  • Student hosts or other students may not collect money from Amherst College students for entry or participation in the event, whether there is approved alcohol or not. 
  • Event publicity cannot contain images of alcohol and the event’s primary purpose cannot be the consumption of alcohol. 
  • Participants must follow all instructions of College staff and first responders.
  • A host must have an Amherst College residence hall assignment. 

Violations of this Policy 

Events that fail to uphold the standards of this policy can be interrupted by the College and ended prior to their scheduled end time. Event hosts who fail to ensure a safe event will lose their eligibility to host future events with alcohol. Violations of this policy may result in a College adjudication under the Community Standards Adjudication Process. 

Students found responsible for the provision of alcohol to others, provision of common-source beverage containers (e.g. beverage coolers with spigots), or who are found to have facilitated or encouraged the rapid consumption of alcohol should expect suspension from the College to be considered if found responsible at the conclusion of the Community Standards Adjudication Process. 

Similarly, students who are found responsible for vandalism can expect to make financial restitution and/or should expect suspension from the College to be considered if found responsible at the conclusion of the Community Standards Adjudication Process. 

Alcohol and other Drugs (AOD) Policies from the Student Code of Conduct 

Note: Underlined text serves to draw the reader’s attention to excerpts that are particularly germane to Student-Hosted Events. 

4.0. Introduction

Given the academic, and social pressures inherent in college life, many students seek relief from stress through use of alcohol or other drugs (AOD). The abuse of AOD undermines the academic mission of the College, and it is often illegal. The use of illegal drugs and alcohol abuse correlates with a host of problems on campus, such as lowered academic accomplishment, sexual violence and vandalism. The College considers the abuse of AOD a public health problem and works to reduce AOD abuse among students. 

Amherst College provides education and counseling programs to improve students’ understanding of the risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Those students concerned about their own substance use or worried about a friend can seek assistance with complete confidentiality at Health Services, the Counseling Center, or Health Education. 

The College understands that students make their own choices about AOD. However, the College will not ignore violations of state or federal law or the Amherst College regulations elaborated in this policy. When a student violates the policy on AOD or the law, a member of the Office of Student Affairs meets with the student to discuss the student’s behavior, College policy, and expectations and to determine appropriate sanctions. The Office of Student Affairs may communicate with other College officials as appropriate regarding a student’s violation. 

Students are reminded that Massachusetts law prohibits the purchase or consumption of alcoholic beverages by those under the age of 21. The purchase, sale, or consumption of many drugs is also prohibited by law, and violation can result in prison sentence. 

Any student under the influence of intoxicants or drugs is fully responsible for their acts. All provisions of the Student Code of Conduct, including the full range of possible sanctions, will be applicable in these cases. A plea of mitigating circumstances due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs will not be accepted in disciplinary hearings. 

The following policy outlines AOD violations of Massachusetts law and Amherst College policy and summarizes the range of possible sanctions for such violations. The College generally interprets more than three violations of the policy on AOD as indication that the student is unwilling to abide by College regulations. Violations of the policy on AOD result in sanctions such as exclusion from participation in educational programs, fines and parental notification, and may include denial of campus residence or a Housing Selection consequence. In some instances, violations may result in suspension or referral to the Community Standards Review Board for adjudication. 

4.1. AOD Under Massachusetts Law 

4.1.1. A person must be at least 21 years of age to legally purchase alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts. 

4.1.2. Purchase of an alcoholic beverage by an underage person or any arrangement with another person to procure such drinks is a crime punishable by a mandatory $300 fine. 

4.1.3. Willful misrepresentation of one’s age or the age of another person in order to purchase or receive alcoholic beverages (i.e., the use of a fake ID) is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $300 or by imprisonment of up to three months or both. Amherst College Police Department is mandated to report violations of this law to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. 

4.1.4. Any person who purchases for or furnishes a drink to someone underage commits a crime punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 or by imprisonment of up to one year or both. 

4.1.5. No person may serve an alcoholic beverage to anyone who is obviously inebriated. 

4.1.6. For operating a motor vehicle under the influence of AOD, the state of Massachusetts has set the legal limit for alcohol concentration in the blood at below .02 for anyone under 21 and .08 for anyone 21 and over.

4.1.7. Federal, state, and local sanctions for unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs range from probation and forfeiture of property to fines and imprisonment. For example, the sanctions against an individual for distribution of, or possession with intent to distribute controlled substances can be from a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment to a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines up to $4 million. Sanctions can increase for repeat offenders or for offenses resulting in death or serious bodily harm and can be doubled for each of the following occurrences: distribution to persons under 21 years of age, distribution within 1,000 feet of a college or university or employing someone under 18 in the distribution. Attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime can be treated as severely as the intended offense. As of Sept. 1, 1989, conviction for violation of any state or federal drug law can lead to ineligibility for any federal benefit (including grants and loans). 

Note: Any person who violates state or federal law is liable for their own actions and may be subject to civil or criminal complaints. Amherst College does not intervene on an individual’s behalf with campus, local, or state law enforcement authorities. 

4.2. AOD Under the Town of Amherst Bylaw 

General Bylaws of the Town of Amherst are found at: 

4.2.1. Keg Licensing Enforcement: A Town of Amherst bylaw requires a keg license, which can be obtained at the Amherst (Town) Police Department, for the possession of beer kegs anywhere in the town. There are substantial monetary penalties for violating this bylaw (Special Town Meeting – May 20, 1990). 

4.2.2. Open Containers of Alcohol: No person shall consume any alcoholic beverage nor possess or transport any open can, bottle or other container containing any alcoholic beverage outdoors on any town street, sidewalk, way and public property including, but not limited to, parking lots, parks, school playgrounds, recreation areas or conservation areas (Special Town Meeting—February 26, 1986 – Art. 51). 

4.3. AOD Under the Amherst College Student Code of Conduct 

4.3.1. If the Dean of Students, the Director of Community Standards, or designee learns that a student has been convicted of driving while intoxicated at any time between first enrollment at Amherst and graduation, whether in the vicinity of campus or anywhere else, that student will be denied parking privileges, and thus the capacity to keep a car on campus, for the remainder of their stay at Amherst, in addition to other possible sanctions (see Section 14, Sanctions and Corrective Actions). 

4.3.2. Kegs are prohibited from first-year residence halls. Kegs are permissible in other residence halls only upon the issuance of a keg license as described in Section 4.2.1, Keg Licensing Enforcement. 

4.3.3. Hard Alcohol: Hard alcohol (30% ethanol or greater) in any volume may only be possessed, stored, or used in bedrooms assigned to persons who are 21 or more years of age. Consequently, hard alcohol is not permitted for possession, storage, or use in lounges, hallways, or other parts of residence halls or other buildings on campus except when the College has expressly authorized it. Examples of exceptions include College-organized tent parties and other College-sponsored events. 

4.3.4. Possession of drug paraphernalia (pipes, bongs, hookahs, etc.) and alcohol paraphernalia associated with the dangerous consumption of alcohol (funnels, beer pong tables, etc.) is prohibited. 

4.3.5. All prohibited substances and paraphernalia will be confiscated and destroyed by campus authorities.

4.3.6. Smoking cannabis, tobacco, e-cigarettes, or other related devices that create smoke or vapor in campus buildings is prohibited. 

4.3.7. It is the responsibility of individuals and student groups to ensure that legally possessed alcohol is not stored in an unsupervised manner in which someone underage may access it

4.3.8. No College funds may be used to purchase alcohol or to support fundraisers to raise money to purchase alcohol. Funds may be used to pay for TIPS-certified student staff required for beverage service. 

4.3.9. Students are expected to follow all posted signs and instructions of the Amherst College Police Department or the Amherst College Athletics Department concerning the use of alcohol at athletic events. 

4.3.10. Events with alcohol must follow College guidelines published by the Office of Student Affairs. 

4.3.11. Any student group who plans to sponsor an event in a public space at which alcohol is available must fill out and submit a party notification form. These forms are available at the Student Activities Office and the Office of Residential Life and must be returned there at least two weeks prior to the date of the event and before publicity begins. For registered parties, sponsoring student(s) or student group(s) are prohibited from hosting events for which funds are collected and used for personal profit. 

4.3.12. If registering a tent for an event on campus where alcohol will be served, the registrant must obtain liability insurance that includes liquor liability. For more information, visit the tent policy and registration form on the Environmental Health and Safety webpage ( 

4.3.13. No person is permitted to use alcohol or other drugs where there is increased safety risk, including but not limited to porches, balconies, stairwells, or roofs

4.4. Medical Amnesty Statement 

The health and wellbeing of our community is paramount to a vibrant collegiate experience. If a member of the community is experiencing a medical emergency or crisis, we expect others to call trained professionals for help, to stay with the person who needs help, and to cooperate with the responding officials. The College understands the hesitation to call for help if there is fear that the callers or the person who needs assistance might face consequences due to the circumstances of the emergency (e.g., underage drinking that resulted in someone falling and hitting their head, the overconsumption of cannabis edibles that results in a panic attack, or someone twisting their ankle while attending an event disallowed during times of increased social distancing). However, barring exceptional circumstances as determined by the Office of Community Standards or the Title IX Office (e.g., assaults, hazing, use of weapons, harassment, etc.), the College will apply amnesty to those who needed assistance and those who asked for that assistance. 

Amnesty allows students involved in potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct to engage in an adaptable conflict resolution process without that potential violation impacting their student disciplinary record. The goal of an amnesty-based resolution is to ensure wellness, to understand the circumstances that caused the concern, and to find the appropriate educational opportunity to improve future success. 

Amherst College also has a specific Alcohol and Other Drugs Medical Amnesty Statement, which is below.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Medical Amnesty Statement

Amherst College is concerned about the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs in our community. Alcohol abuse and illegal drug use affect the entire College community. The College’s primary concern with AOD use is the safety and well-being of our students. Students are expected to abide by Massachusetts law and College policies. For students who choose to consume alcohol, the College expects that they do so in moderation to avoid compromising personal safety. 

Amherst acknowledges there may be times when students may face medical emergencies involving AOD use. In these situations, the College expects students to request emergency medical assistance for oneself or someone who may be suffering from a serious medical condition, including alcohol poisoning. 

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning can include: unconsciousness or unresponsiveness, disorientation or confusion, slow breathing, vomiting or choking and cold or pale skin. If the affected student is on campus, contact the Amherst College Police Department (ACPD) at (413) 542-2111. ACPD will respond and evaluate the student. Where appropriate, the Amherst College Emergency Medical Services (ACEMS), an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), or a First Responder (FR) will accompany ACPD. If medical assistance is deemed necessary, the College expects the student to accept transportation to the hospital for medical attention. 

Because the safety and welfare of students is the College’s priority, the College has instituted a medical amnesty policy. This policy is applicable to the following parties:1) student requesting medical assistance for oneself; 2) student requesting medical assistance for another person; and 3) student for whom medical assistance was provided. 

When responding to such AOD violations, the College will consider the student’s decision to request medical assistance, and in most cases, view the act of seeking medical assistance as good judgment, therefore not deserving of the typical range of AOD sanctions. Thus, if it is determined that the medical amnesty policy applies to a situation, the students involved will not be subject to a violation of the AOD policy. Referral for AOD education still applies, and, in some instances, parental notification. 

This policy does not protect students who repeatedly violate College policies. Once a student receives medical amnesty, future amnesty is at the discretion of the Office of Student Affairs. The Dean of Students, Director of Community Standards, or designee also have discretion to determine that this policy does not apply in more serious situations, including criminal possession of drugs, property damage, violence, etc.