Counselor talking to a student

Student Alcohol Use Policy

Counseling Center


This policy governs students’ consumption of alcohol (defined as beer, wine, and distilled spirits) on the University of South Carolina Aiken campus and at University-sponsored off-campus events. Based on a concern for the welfare of all student members of the University community and in keeping with state and local laws, this policy is designed to promote the responsible use or nonuse of alcoholic beverages. Consistent with our institutional mission statement, USC Aiken values responsible citizenship. Students are expected to assume responsibility for their own behavior while consuming alcoholic beverages and to understand that being under the influence of alcohol in no way lessens accountability to the University and the community. Behavior and conduct by a student whose judgment is impaired due to substance abuse and which interferes with the decorum and atmosphere of the University will not be tolerated. As members of the University community, students are expected to comply with and abide by all of the laws and policies stated below.

I. South Carolina Law

It is against South Carolina law and USC Aiken policy to:
  1. purchase, possess* or consume any alcoholic beverage if you are under the age of twenty-one
  2. provide any alcohol to a person under twenty-one by transfer, gift or sale
  3. misrepresent your age for the purpose of procuring alcohol including possessing a false or altered driver’s license or ID
  4. drive while under the influence of alcohol
  5. have a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher while driving a vehicle if you are under the age of 21 (zero tolerance)
  6. have an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle
  7. be intoxicated in public
* including constructive possession which is defined as being in the immediate area of alcoholic beverages
II. Local Ordinance (City of Aiken)
It is against local ordinance and therefore University policy to consume alcohol in public within the city limits. Pacer Downs, Pacer Crossings, and Pacer Commons are located within the city limits. Therefore, consuming alcohol on apartment balconies or on the housing grounds is prohibited.
III. Statement of Policy
  1. This policy is subject to change to comply with new local, state, or federal laws or changes in University operating procedures pertaining to the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  2. Legal consumption of alcohol is permitted only at events and locations approved by the Chancellor or a designee. Consumption of alcohol is also permitted in private residences within University housing provided all individuals present are of legal drinking age and all related policies as outlined in the University Housing handbook are followed. Underage residents whose roommate(s) are 21 years of age or over may be present when alcohol is present or being consumed in their apartment, but are not permitted to consume alcoholic beverages.
  3. Students living in or visiting University housing are subject to additional policies as outlined in the University Housing guidebook (also included in the USC Aiken Student Handbook).
  4. Any containers of alcohol that are being transported must be sealed and covered while on University premises.
  5. The possession or use of an empty or full keg, party ball, or other common container of alcohol is strictly prohibited.
  6. On-campus consumption of alcohol is prohibited at all Student Activity and Student Organization events.
  7. Individuals will be held responsible for their behavior while under the influence of alcohol. Failure to comply with South Carolina State law and University policy may subject the person or group to State and/or University penalties.
  8. Students under 21 who are in the direct vicinity of alcoholic beverages may be charged with constructive possession of alcohol and/or referred for University judicial action.
  9. Regardless of the age of the student, the abuse of alcohol that results in significantly impaired behavior is considered a violation of the alcohol policy.
  10. If a student fails to comply with the request of a University Police Officer to complete a sobriety test, it will be considered an automatic admission of having consumed alcohol. 
IV. Sanctions
Individual students or student organizations who violate USC Aiken policies are subject to civil, criminal and University proceedings and sanctions. The university campus is not a sanctuary that relieves students of their responsibilities as citizens to abide by local, state and federal laws, and University regulations, policies, and procedures. Violations of this Campus Alcohol Policy will be referred to appropriate University agencies. Students and student organizations may be subject to sanctions by more than one appropriate agency. Sanctions for the violation of university policies are based on the severity and frequency of violation. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to: referral to on or off-campus alcohol assessment and/or counseling, alcohol education, community service, disciplinary probation, suspension of individual students, suspension from use of University facilities for a designated period of time, and suspension of student organization status.
V. Related Issues
  1. Students or student organizations suspected of violating federal, state or local laws may be subject to University judicial proceedings. Disciplinary action may be imposed by the University under the USC Aiken Code of Conduct, whether or not a civil or criminal conviction is made.
  2. Students, faculty or staff who serve or sell alcohol to students at off- campus events assume liability for enforcing the law and assuring appropriate behavior. In such instances, USC Aiken assumes no responsibility or liability.
  3. USC Aiken Student Activities funds may not be used to purchase alcohol for any on or off-campus event.
  4. Students who are apprehended and charged by law enforcement agencies with alcohol-related criminal conduct off campus are required to inform the Director of Housing and Judicial Affairs. 
VI. Parental Notification Policy
In 1998, changes in the law that governs the privacy of student records, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), permitted colleges and universities to inform the parents/guardians of students under the age of 21 when they determined the student violated University alcohol and drug policies. We at the University of South Carolina Aiken believe such notification can help us in educating our students. While we constantly strive to educate and empower students to make more responsible decisions about drug and alcohol usage, we know that the support of parents in this process is critical. The University of South Carolina Aiken typically exercises its right to notify parents of students under 21 in the following situations:
  • Cases involving drug violations
  • Repeat or serious alcohol violations
  • The University also reserves the right to notify parents for first alcohol violations if deemed appropriate.


The University of South Carolina Aiken does not permit possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21 and supports all state alcoholic beverage laws. 


The University of South Carolina Aiken prohibits possession, use, manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs and supports all applicable state laws. 



USC Aiken Counseling Center - The Center offers free individual, family and group counseling in a confidential environment. USC Aiken students can access services by visiting the Counseling Center in Suite 126 of the Business and Education Building or by calling 649-3609. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) - A 12-step program for those who have a desire to stop drinking. Regular meetings are held in various locations in the community; call 648-1509 for schedule and locations.

Al-Anon/Alateen – 12-step programs for families and friends of addicted individuals. Regular meetings are held in various locations in the community; call 648-1509 for schedule and locations.

USC Aiken University Police – For assistance with information, emergencies, safety and law enforcement on the Aiken campus, call 6111 from a campus telephone or 648-4011 from an off-campus telephone.

USCA Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – A resource for faculty and staff of the university. Contact the Human Resources Department by visiting Penland 116 or calling 641-3317. *See below for comprehensive listing of area resources.


Directory of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs in Aiken and Surrounding Counties

The information above was taken from the USC Aiken student handbook, and unless otherwise noted is current as of the academic year in which this page was last updated. Last updated: 5/14/2015