CSU Prohibits Alcoholic Beverages at Campus Athletic Events

To strengthen current policy that promotes the legal and responsible use of alcohol, the California State University system has issued a new order that prohibits all 23 CSU campuses from engaging in any sale of alcoholic beverages at any intercollegiate athletic events held in university owned or operated facilities. This policy will also limit alcohol advertising of beer and wine at all campuses.

This policy became effective Dec. 23, 2005, throughout the California State University system.

“The CSU believes that service of alcoholic beverages at intercollegiate athletic events in university owned or operated facilities is contrary to its systemwide alcohol policy and to its purpose of promoting a safe and healthy learning environment for all members of the university community,” says CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.

With the new policy, all sales of alcoholic beverages at intercollegiate athletic events held in university owned or operated facilities are prohibited. Several CSU campuses currently have contractual agreements that include the sale of alcoholic beverages, and those existing contracts may not be renewed.

Until these existing contracts expire, the sale of any alcoholic beverages at intercollegiate athletic events held within university owned or operated facilities must comply with the following guidelines:

  • Sale of alcoholic beverages must be conducted in accord with all the local and state laws under the auspices of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC).
  • Policies must be established on each campus that ensure appropriate training for servers of alcoholic beverages, place limitations on the number of alcohol beverages than can be purchased at the point of sale, and adopt cessation of sales prior to the end of the event (i.e., at the end of half-time at football and basketball games, etc.).
  • Promotion of alcoholic beverages should not encourage any form of alcohol abuse or place emphasis on quantity and frequency of use.

“I believe this policy is the logical and appropriate next step for the CSU to take,” says John D. Welty, president of California State University, Fresno and chair of the CSU Alcohol Policies and Prevention Programs Committee. “This policy is consistent with the purposes of our system alcohol policy and with the efforts of the National Collegiate Athletic Association to reduce the emphasis on alcohol at intercollegiate athletic events.”

The CSU system believes that students under the influence of alcohol cannot perform at their full potential. The policy recognizes that abuse of alcohol in any form detracts from the mission of the campus and does not make a positive contribution to the learning environment or to the public image of the institution.

The CSU Board of Trustees adopted a systemwide, comprehensive policy to curb student alcohol abuse at its 23 campus in July 2001. The policy, which was first in the country to be adopted by an entire university system, calls for consistent enforcement of polices, additional education on alcohol issues, intervention, treatment, a limit on alcohol vendor advertising, and $1.1 million in support funding from the CSU Chancellor's Office.

One of the key recommendations in the policy is the use of the social norms approach, which uses information campaigns to correct student misperceptions of peers' drinking habits. It also advocates for peer education programs through which students encourage their fellow students to develop responsible habits and attitudes regarding alcohol and related issues.

One of the keys to the policy's success is the flexibility provided to each of the 23 campuses to tailor an approach matching its unique campus situation, since each campus varies in size, student body makeup, local community, and residence provisions. The policy also provides for sharing of successful programs and a family of similar approaches. For instance, although campus variations exist, the majority of CSU students do not live on campus and are of legal drinking age, which requires a persuasive rather than a prohibitive approach.