Alcohol on Campus

The sale, service, and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the UC Merced campus is permitted in limited circumstances. See the following frequently asked questions about UC Merced policies and procedures.

Does UC Merced have a policy on alcohol on campus?

Yes. The Alcohol Sales & Service procedure applies to UC Merced employees, official campus units that sponsor on- or off-campus events, campus Affiliated Organizations that occupy space on the campus, and non-University persons/groups who sponsor events on campus, and visitors. Chapter X of the Student Handbook contains the policy that applies to UC Merced students, student governments, and registered student organizations.

In what circumstances can alcohol be served?

The serving of alcoholic beverages is only permitted at sponsored events for which a UC Merced Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages has been approved by an appropriate Permit Approval Authority.

Who approves the Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages?

The Permit must be approved by the Chancellor or by one of the following Permit Approval Authority designees per Campus Delegation of Authority 095:

  • Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Vice Chancellor for Development & Alumni Relations
  • Vice Chancellor for Business & Administrative Services

In addition, the Vice Chancellor for Business & Administrative Services may approve a Permit if any of the other designees listed above is not available and for events sponsored by non-UC persons or groups.

Where can I obtain the Permit?

For events approved by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Permit is located in Chapter X of the Student Handbook. For all other events, the Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages​ is online.

Can alcohol be served anywhere on campus?

No. Alcohol may only be served in the location specified on the approved UC Merced Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages and only after approval of a facilities use request or agreement.

Do I need a Permit if my event is off campus?

Yes. All University sponsored events held off campus must comply with the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy and therefore require an approved Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages.

What kind of information do I need to provide on the Permit?

The Permit requests information about the type of event, the location of the event, the type of alcohol being served, who is serving and providing the alcohol, and the source of funds used for the alcohol.

How far in advance of the scheduled event do I need to submit the Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages?

The completed Permit must be received by the appropriate Permit Approval Authority at least fifteen (15) working days prior to the date of the scheduled event. This allows staff time to research the requirements for the event and ensure compliance with policy and laws.

What do I do with the Permit after it has been approved?

As the event sponsor, you need to make the approved Permit available at the event. Any law enforcement officer, University official, or officer of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has the right to inspect the Permit to assure that the event is being conducted as described. The event sponsor is responsible for being in attendance at the event and for compliance with state law and University policies and procedures for alcohol service. You are also responsible for seeing that the conduct of the event does not interfere with classes or other University activities.

If we provide our own alcohol, can we serve it ourselves at the event?

Alcohol may only be served under the direct supervision of Campus Dining Services or an approved and insured caterer with a valid liquor license. All servers must be at least 21 years of age and have undergone responsible beverage service training such as TIPS or equivalent.

Can we sell alcohol at our event?

Yes, but only pursuant to a valid liquor license or a special one-day event permit issued by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as detailed below. State law prohibits any State agency, including the University, from being licensed to sell alcoholic beverages (see below for the definition of sale of alcohol). No license to sell liquor may be issued in the name of the Regents or University. Only independent entities with their own non-profit tax IDs may be issued a liquor license.

  • If you are a campus department, you may only sell alcohol through an approved and insured caterer eligible to acquire a valid liquor license for the event. You may not obtain a liquor license or one-day permit on your own. Your options are:
    • Do not sell alcohol at your event, or
    • Find an outside non-profit group to co-sponsor your event and obtain the one-day permit to sell alcohol.
  • If you are a non-profit entity or other third party entity holding an event on campus and you will not be using a caterer with a valid liquor license, you may only sell alcohol after you have obtained a special one-day event permit to sell alcohol issued by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

What constitutes as "sale" of alcohol

Exchanging any consideration for alcoholic beverage service constitutes a sale. “Consideration” includes money, tickets, token, or chits that have been issued in exchange for money or anything else of value. The imposition of a uniform per person admission charge for the event, however, does not constitute a sale, provided the admission ticket or other evidence of payment is not exchangeable for alcoholic beverages.

Can we serve alcohol at our event if we are charging an admission price or soliciting donations?

Yes, provided you have an approved Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages. The imposition of a uniform per person admission charge for the event does not constitute a sale, provided the admission ticket or other evidence of payment is not exchangeable for alcoholic beverages.

Are there any restrictions on where alcohol can be served or sold?

No. Alcohol can be served or sold at any location specified on the Permit to Serve Alcoholic Beverages form as approved by the Permit Approval Authority.

Where can I find the list of approved and insured caterers?

The list of approved and insured caterers is on the How to Buy page on the Campus Purchasing website.

Do we have to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages at our event?

Yes. Food and non-alcoholic beverages must always be available at an event at which alcohol is being served.

What other rules must we adhere to when serving alcohol at our event?*

The liquor licensee and/or event sponsor must adhere to the following:

  • No person under the legal drinking age of 21 years shall be sold, served, given, or possess any alcoholic beverages;
  • Persons who, in the judgment of the server and/or event sponsor, are obviously intoxicated shall not be sold, served, or given an alcoholic beverage;
  • Servers are prohibited from consuming any alcoholic beverages at the event;
  • Kegs, beer balls, and other common source containers as well as devices designed for the rapid consumption of alcohol (e.g., beer bongs, funnels, etc.) are prohibited;
  • The event shall not include any form of “drinking contest”, “drinking games” or any activity that encourages the rapid consumption of alcohol;
  • Individuals are prohibited from bringing their own alcoholic beverages to the event.

What is the alcohol policy in the residence halls?

Students living in residence halls must adhere to the alcohol guidelines in the UC Merced Housing & Residence Life Handbook​.

Where can I direct specific questions about alcohol at my event?

  • Questions about this procedure, the alcohol permit, alcohol risk or insurance: Risk Services, 228-4763
  • Questions about security: Department of Public Safety, 228-8273
  • Questions about approved caterers: Campus Purchasing​, 228-4070