Social Host Guidelines


The University of the South supports practices that emphasize a host’s responsibility to plan social gatherings in a way that provides a safe setting for an event and makes a conscientious effort to uphold the alcoholic beverage laws of the State of Tennessee and the policies of the University. Furthermore, hosts, whether individuals or organizations, are held responsible for taking measures to discourage alcohol abuse at their social functions. Finally, hosts should plan social functions in a manner that takes into account concern for the maintenance of proper decorum at the event and consideration for the community in the vicinity of the event.

The Deans of Students have formulated a set of guidelines that are intended to help hosts understand more specifically what their responsibilities are. While the University will provide advice and other forms of assistance to undergraduate hosts of parties, the responsibility for providing an appropriate and safe atmosphere for parties falls on the person(s) sponsoring the event. Therefore, it should be noted that the guidelines listed below are intended to benefit the host and should be incorporated into party plans in the spirit of host responsibility and not simply followed in order to comply with the letter of the law. Accordingly, hosts may wish to complement these guidelines by adding other measures for protecting the safety of their guests.


General Guidelines

Events must be registered. Parties can only be organized for Fridays and Saturdays, with some allowance for smaller functions on Thursday evenings. Students who host or facilitate unregistered, unapproved parties (such as parties on Sundays-Wednesdays) will be held responsible through the conduct process.

Fraternities and sororities, as well as other social groups and individual hosts, are responsible for upholding state law and University policy and for establishing a reasonable, safe, and non-abusive atmosphere for party settings.

All student events where alcohol will be present must be registered by the host with the Assistant Dean of Students for Student Organizations. Events are registered using Engage.

Event Registration

All events hosted by student organizations or Greek organizations must be registered in Engage. Any individual or group hosting a party on campus at which alcoholic beverages may be present must complete and have approved an event registration form found at the web address noted above. It includes information about the place, time, type of event (BYOB, BYO, Dry), persons responsible, type of entertainment, and size of crowd expected (which should not exceed the reasonable limits for the space). Please see the web form for other important information about the timing involved in scheduling and requesting approval for events. 

It is an accepted tradition at Sewanee (but not policy) that most social functions of the College are “open” to students, guests of students, faculty, and staff. Students are responsible for any guests whom they invite to or permit to attend these functions. However, not all functions must be “open”: formals, special dinners, BYO events, and other events an organization hosts to celebrate itself can and should be closed affairs. (Organizations should not be expected to open catered dinner parties to the entire campus, for example.) Students should be encouraged to follow the basic social principle that if one is not invited to a private party, one should not attend.

The social host individual or organization must never sell alcoholic beverages.

Common sources of alcohol are generally not permitted at events sponsored by undergraduate students or undergraduate student organizations at Sewanee. “Common sources” include, but are not limited to, kegs, bulk quantities of canned or bottled beer (greater than 6), bulk quantities of wine, bulk quantities of hard liquor and bulk quantities of alcoholic punch. Exceptions to the “no common sources” policy may be considered on an individual basis. (See “Additional Notes below.”)

Types of Events (BYOB and BYO)

It is strongly recommended that beer be the only alcoholic beverage brought to a “bring your own beverage” event. Guests should not be allowed to bring more than one six pack of beer per person for a party of three or more hours. For parties of less duration the formula of two beers per person of legal drinking age (21) per hour should establish the maximum allowed. (If an individual brings liquor or wine to a BYOB (beer only) event he/she will be given the choice of leaving the event immediately with his/her alcohol OR relinquishing the liquor or wine to the social host or University police officer.)

If the social host decides to allow guests to bring other types of alcoholic beverages (for example: liquor or wine) the host must register the event as a BYO event, which includes additional expectations. (See BYO Event Expectations below)

Standard expectations

  • Expectations for Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

At all parties where alcohol is present, a comparable supply of non-alcoholic beverages and food must be furnished which is openly displayed and readily available, spending no less than $1 per person on food and $0.50 per person on non-alcoholic beverages. BYO events have a $5 per person minimum.

  • Safe and Reasonable Environment

Glass bottles are not permitted at fraternity and sorority parties or at other social events unless it is a registered BYO party where liquor and wine bottles are permissible. At such parties, the bottles must be immediately checked in with a bartender upon arrival at the party or event.

No outside cups or secondary containers are allowed at parties and drinking contests are prohibited. 

  • Host and Event Staff Responsibilities

A group of trained and responsible representatives of the host must agree to monitor the party. Trained monitors should be provided at the rate of 4 for the first 100 guests and 1 more for each additional 50 guests; these monitors should circulate among the guests during the event. Monitors should make reasonable efforts to encourage moderation by their example and by confrontation when necessary. They should make reasonable efforts to see that inebriated persons do not consume additional alcohol and are not allowed to drive. Monitors must be assigned on the Event Registration web form; it is the responsibility of the registering host to ensure that Monitors have read and understand the Rules and Guidelines for Social Hosts. Monitors must be full members of the host organization (no Greek pledges may be assigned to monitor an event). It is the responsibility of the host and the monitors to assure that the general atmosphere of the party does not become abusive.

The host must designate a single door for initial entry into the party. At this door identification will be checked and stamps will be issued to those of legal age. Monitors should be attentive to all other doors to allow people in with alcoholic beverages only if those individuals have been stamped previously. Individuals checking identification and issuing an appropriate and unique mark (for example: stamp, unique symbol, wristband, etc.) must be full members of the host organization (no Greek pledges may be assigned to check identification). Individuals checking IDs must be assigned on the Event Registration web form; it is the responsibility of the registering host to ensure that ID Checkers have read and understand the Rules and Guidelines for Social Hosts.

The following types of events require one University police officer for every 100 guests (charged at the rate of $50 per hour per officer):

  • Events with live entertainment (bands, DJs),
  • “Themed” events,
  • Events advertised to the campus and/or community,
  • BYO Events (that permit guests to bring any beverage with an alcohol content greater than 7%.)
  • Advertising Events

No advertisement for a party may mention alcohol except as directed below. Posters may provide the following information in small print on the side:

“Persons of legal age may BYOB–Beer only,” indicating that beer may be brought to the party by guests.

BYO Events must be closed events and therefore cannot be advertised.

  • Noise, Clean Up and Sustainability

Students must exercise proper restraint in order to keep noise at a reasonable level during social events. To avoid disrupting University academic life and to avoid imposing hardships on members of the community, the following regulations must be observed:

  • No bands or other amplified music are permitted while classes or labs are in session. 
  • No amplified music whether live or recorded may be situated outside the building where the party is taking place. Speakers for amplified music should be inside the room or building in question, not aimed out windows or doors, nor set on a porch or balcony. In certain locations and at certain times, outdoor entertainment may be appropriate. Arrange exceptions with the Associate Dean of Students.
  • No loud music or large band parties are allowed from Sunday through Thursday nights. Loud music or an unacceptable level of noise is that which can be heard beyond the immediate premises. On rare occasions when permission is given for parties on Thursday nights, the party and its accompanying noise must conclude no later than 11:00 p.m.
  • Bands, amplified music, and any other loud party music should stop at 1:00 a.m. on weekends, and guests are required to leave by 2:00 a.m. On rare occasions, exceptions can be made; arrange with the Associate Dean of Students. Failure to “close” a party at the designated time and violations of the restrictions on noise during nights before schooldays are punishable by the schedule of fines outlined below.
  • Parties and accompanying loud music must be avoided on nights preceding vacation days which are work and schooldays for other members of the community.

It is the responsibility of the social host to ensure proper clean up by 7:00 a.m. in the area around a building where a party is held.

All hosts should make a good faith effort to ensure that aluminum cans left at the party are recycled. 



BYO parties must be designated as closed social events for a specified group of students and their dates and/or parents and/or alumni. Typical events include formals, dinners, alumni and parent receptions or other formal occasions. Typically, events are limited in duration to 2 hours. Typically, organizations are limited to two such events per semester.

BYO Events must comply with all social host expectations noted above in addition to the following:

Bartenders, ID Checkers, Police, and Monitors

Each hosting organization will be responsible for hiring the following:

  • At least two University-approved ID checkers (hired from the bartender pool; no undergraduates).
  • At least two ‌University-approved bartenders for every fifty attendees of legal drinking age. (Note: undergraduates will not be allowed to serve undergraduates.)
  • At least one University police officer for every 100 guests expected.

Each person hired is expected to arrive 30 minutes before the event to assist with set-up and must stay for the duration of the event (until all the remaining alcohol is packed up and secured with the police).

In addition, the hosting organization(s) will identify an appropriate number of student “party monitors” who will agree to remain responsible and assist with the management of the event. There must be a minimum of four monitors at each event and one additional monitor for every 50 attendees for events with over 100 attendees.

The Physical Bar

The bar must be a physical barrier between the students and the bartender, and no one will be allowed behind the bar but the bartender.

Food and Mixers

The hosting organization must provide an adequate quantity of food and non-alcoholic beverages for the appropriate number of people attending and for the duration of the event. The host must spend a minimum of $5 per person attending the event on food and non-alcoholic beverages.

ID Checking and BYO Process

A single point of entry must be identified where the hired ID checker(s) will screen individuals attending a BYO Event. The ID checker will appropriately and uniquely mark those of legal drinking age. The ID checker will be the only person at the event with the authority to give such a mark.

Individuals of legal drinking age are allowed to bring only one six-pack of beer or one bottle of wine or liquor, not to exceed 26 ounces. A typical bottle of wine is 25.4 ounces and a fifth of hard alcohol is 25.6 ounces. The alcohol must be taken immediately to the bartender who will label it with the appropriate person’s name.

Event Staff Responsibilities

Bartenders will serve only beer, wine, mixed drinks or non-alcoholic beverages. Mixed drinks must have only one ounce of liquor per drink and shots of liquor are strictly forbidden. The organization will also provide plastic cups for all drinks, as glass containers are also not permitted.

The bartenders, party monitors, and University officer(s) will monitor the flow of people at the bar throughout the night and stop individuals who are clearly intoxicated from obtaining more alcohol. Party monitors, the ID checkers, and police will reasonably monitor that those approaching the bar or holding a drink have the appropriate mark on their hand.

At the end of the BYO event, the bartender and a designated party monitor must pack up any remaining alcohol under the supervision of the police officer; the alcohol will be delivered to the trunk of the officer’s patrol car to be secured at the police department. Individuals can claim their alcohol the next business day at the police station. They must show their ID to claim their bottle; no one may pick up alcohol for any other person, and no one under 21 can pick up alcohol. Bartenders should offer police, event hosts, and the deans critical feedback on their collective efforts to create a safe environment.

Violations of BYO Policy

An organization that violates these expectations will at a minimum lose the opportunity to host future BYO events for the year in addition to other appropriate sanctions.

Social Host Policy.