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Alcohol Policy

Welcome to a new year at Williams! As we delight in having you on campus, we want to do all we can to ensure your safety and provide for a healthy community. To that end, we want to share with you the college’s policies related to alcohol. Our aim with these policies is about following the law, of course, but it’s also—importantly—about reducing high-risk drinking behaviors.


Here are the main elements of our campus alcohol policies and Responsible Party Standards:



Visit http://student-life.williams.edu/events/student-event-planning/basic-events/  for more details.


We also want to remind students to follow safe practices and the law when they are off campus.  In addition to following the law and your landlord’s policies on alcohol use, we encourage you not to have hard alcohol and to keep parties from becoming large and unmanageable.


Campus Safety and Security provides a key role in maintaining a safe environment.  Officers conduct checks for registered parties and will help hosts keep the party safe and in compliance.  Unless the registered party becomes unsafe, CSS will work with the host to keep the party open.


CSS Officers also conduct “hotspot” checks in areas that have exhibited patterns of unsafe/irresponsible behaviors.   If CSS comes across an unregistered party or a situation involving violations of the responsible party standards (even if it’s registered), they will collect ID information from students involved and will report the incident to the Office of the Dean of the College for their action.


Accountability and Responsibility

Violations of the Responsible Party Standards and the Code of Conduct will result in response from the Office of the Dean of the College, sanctions for which range from various types of warnings to disciplinary action including suspensions and expulsions.


For a fuller description of violations and sanctions, go to http://dean.williams.edu/policies/code-of-conduct/


The college also has a Medical Amnesty PolicyWe recognize that there may be times when excessive drinking and/or drug use becomes a medial emergency. Under this policy, if an individual seeks medical attention (for themselves or for someone else) due to such an emergency, student conduct disciplinary action will not be taken against the student for consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs.


Visit http://dean.williams.edu/policies/code-of-conduct/ for more information on the alcohol policy and for the Medical Amnesty policy.


Thank you for your support of these policies and standards. They are critical in keeping students safe and helping them to thrive at Williams.


Best Regards,


Dave Boyer, Director of Campus Safety and Security

Rachel Bukanc, Senior Associate Dean of the College

Stephen Klass, Vice President for Campus Life

Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College, Hales Professor of Psychology

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#1 Comment By anon On September 6, 2016 @ 7:15 pm

Even well into the 90s (perhaps past 2000?) students at Williams were allowed to have kegs and hard alcohol in their dorms (just sitting there without any permission). The drinking age was 20 in MA until 1984, at which time it turned 21. 18 in Vermont until 1986- with a grandfather clause. Students of all ages drank openly on campus “at will” until recently. It was a two mile drive for freshman to legally buy alcohol until 1990. A quick run to the package store or even to a bar if you liked.

Tailgating was legal. Beer flowed at sports events. In dorms, it was common to see “kegilators” in Freshman rooms back in David’s day. Even after MA turned 21.

You did not need a months notice to have a band. A whole different ball of wax in terms of monitored behavior.

This is a different time in terms of drinking.

That is because students have continually complained about drinking and acted irresponsibly.

You have no one to blame but your predecessors.

More like a prep school with these kinds of rules. The infractions are similar to what a person might find at Choate in the late 70s, early 80s. When such schools had a three strike rule for booze and pot.

Back in the day when 14 year olds were given more leeway.

Enjoy the safe spaces!

#2 Comment By anon On September 6, 2016 @ 7:18 pm

In fact, some dorms had soda machines where anyone could buy beer using quarters… and no card keys either.

How times have changed.

#3 Comment By Safe! On September 6, 2016 @ 7:24 pm

How many times can you use the word “safe” in an email?

#4 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On September 7, 2016 @ 12:15 pm

No kegs? That’s a pretty drastic change from the past. Has that rule been in place for a long time?

#5 Comment By Dick Swart On September 7, 2016 @ 2:44 pm

This is a far cry from the 50’s parties of all ages with kegs, whiskey sours in bulk, and Sunday milk punch.

I guess “House Party” is a term no longer in use.

#6 Comment By anon On September 7, 2016 @ 4:35 pm

Dick- “Safe house party.”

And of course, in your day you guys ran the show. I would guess that administration and staff only came by if they were invited. That was even true long after fraternities in the dorms for a long time.

These kinds of things only get stricter over time. At a place like Williams where dorm living is required, it sets young adults up for heavy restrictions.

#7 Comment By Eph ’20 On September 7, 2016 @ 8:42 pm

You haven’t been on campus, at least not as a student, in quite some time if you think Williams has a particularly strict alcohol policy. Campus safety doesn’t bother anyone, liquor and beer are widely available, and the medical amnesty policy is pretty damn enveloping.

The only occasional hitch is all out ragers — students packed into say, Brooks or something shoulder-to-shoulder — which will occasionally get shut down. But, again, rarely happens and no one is much miffed or seems to get into much trouble.

The above rules are for public parties and are pretty widely ignored. Also, “safe” in this context is just to emphasize the safety part of Campus Safety and Security. “Safe” is a watch-word here because the college tries to make it clear that a body can party to his heart’s content, just so long as he doesn’t burn the campus down or need to be transported.

So, worry not! Williams is as booze soaked as it has ever been. Chalk a win up for institutional conservatism.

#8 Comment By anon On September 8, 2016 @ 8:02 am

Eph’ 20 and anonymous senior-

So you can have a kegilator in your room at age 18 and no one is going to say anything if you “get caught”? Security sees it, and they do… nothing?

What happens when security finds a keg? Do they let you keep it?

I don’t think so.

It has changed a lot. That may be a good thing. But to deny that is to deny the fact that students at Williams used to be given much more authority over their own affairs when it comes to drinking.

These kinds of rules only become more widely enforced over time. That is the reality of rules like these.

Do young adults find ways to work around these rules- sure.

#9 Comment By pseudonymous On September 8, 2016 @ 9:32 am

I’m surprised the president isn’t doing party patrol himself—maybe he’s too busy policing thought on campus?

Safe campus = no hard alcohol, no dangerous thoughts. No brandy, no sherry, no scotch, no political incorrectness … Looking good!