As most are well aware, Cal Poly does not allow students to drink on campus. University policy says Cal Poly is a dry campus. However, exceptions can be found for special events, university housing and programs.
Vice president of administration and finance Larry Kelley wrote in an email that Cal Poly is a dry campus, meaning no one is permitted to have alcohol without a specific license or permit.
Campus Catering, University Police Department (UPD) and University Risk Management are the three departments that review each request for alcohol at a special event, he wrote. These events include receptions, dinners and activities for other purposes. That request is then sent to him for consideration.
The event is evaluated for its location, number of attendees and university purpose and benefit, he wrote.
“The approval process was established to ensure the event meets campus requirements and each signature in the process indicates an evaluation of some aspect of the criteria,” Kelley wrote. “The same criteria are used to evaluate all events requesting use of alcohol.”
Alcohol service requires the service of food and non-alcoholic beverages as well, supervision and or service by Campus Catering at events held on university property as well as special event insurance, Kelley wrote.
UPD is another campus department required to sign off on the event. Sometimes UPD will work special events because of alcohol and the number of people, commander Lori Hashim said.
Certain events will require the hiring of an officer. This officer is not taken of regular patrol, she said.
“For the most part, people are pretty cooperative,” Hashim said.
On occasion, people get so intoxicated they vandalize or start a fight and the police will intervene, she said.
“We typically don’t have that many problems from sponsored events,” Hashim said. “They pretty much monitor themselves.”
Hashim said UPD’s biggest priority is to keep people safe. If a student has been drinking off campus and they return stumbling or unable to stand, UPD will take them to county jail for four hours to detox. Hashim said UPD doesn’t want them back in their room with alcohol poisoning and vulnerable or volatile.
“Our priority is to keep the person and those in the area safe,” Hashim said.
Another exception to the alcohol policy exists in on-campus housing.
For on-campus housing, the community standards policies state “possession, distribution, consumption, or being under the influence of alcohol beverages, vaporized alcohol, or beverages labeled as a nonalcoholic substitute, is prohibited in or around the immediate area of any on-campus housing facilities.”
However, in Poly Canyon Village (PCV), alcohol is allowed in individual apartments if all occupants are 21 or older, associate director of house and director of residential life and education Carole Schaffer said.
These students must meet with the coordinator of student development and go over the guidelines for alcohol safety and responsible usage before they can be given approval, Schaffer said.
“It’s all about education and responsibility,” Schaffer said. “We err on the side that students are responsible.”
According to Schaffer, 35 PCV apartments have occupants who are all 21 or older, translating to approximately 140 students out of 2,700.
This policy does not extend to the residence halls or Cerro Vista Apartments, however. Nearly 100 percent of the students in Cerro Vista Apartments are under 21, Schaffer said.
“The No. 1 thing we have to consider is the state law,” Schaffer said. “We really don’t have an option in all other housing areas because there are very few over 21.”
All PCV community space and students lounges are dry areas, Schaffer said.
Alcohol is also not permitted in fraternity or sorority houses, adviser of fraternity and sorority life Renoda Campbell said.
Panhellenic sororities also don’t allow alcohol at their events unless there is a third-party vendor, meaning bartenders to check identification, Campbell said.
Most of the panhellenic organizations are independent groups that follow a higher policy from their national organizations, Campbell said.
The situation is slightly different for cultural fraternities. Because these organizations aren’t overseen by a national organization, they follow the Cal Poly policies. If they do have events off campus, they follow the third party vendor rule.
“It’s definitely a policy students follow,” Campbell said.
When it comes to club events held on campus, university risk management has the responsibility to sign off on those events, coordinator of clubs and organizations and club sports Everette Brooks said.
University programs must also follow specific guidelines, no matter their department. The Cal Poly wine and viticulture program released a flyer titled “Pop the Cork,” advertising a wine sale, which ended Oct. 16. The flyer indicated wine could be delivered to a professor’s office or car. Adrienne Ferrara, a lecturer in the wine and viticulture program, said delivery could be to an office but the wine was “not for consumption on campus.”
University events are not conducted with a purpose to serve alcohol, Kelley wrote. According to Kelley, Cal Poly has not had a practice of holding “per plate” fundraising dinners.