This policy applies to efforts at UW institutions to develop policies and programs to reduce harmful student alcohol use.


Due to its potential to interfere with the education and well-being of students, high-risk drinking among students within the UW System has been an ongoing matter of significant concern for the people of the state of Wisconsin. The most effective way to reduce excessive alcohol use in the university community is through the implementation of policies and programs that operate at both the individual and environmental levels. The purpose of this policy is to establish principles to aid and guide UW institutions in the development of effective alcohol policies and programs related to reducing excessive student alcohol use.

Policy Statement

The Board directs the chancellor of each institution to use the following principles for developing institutional policies and programs related to the sale, possession, and use of alcohol on UW campuses to reduce harmful student alcohol use within the UW System.

Policy and Program Development: The development of campus alcohol policies and programs should be a collaborative effort involving students, faculty, staff, administration and other segments of the university and local community. The policies and programs should be informed by alcohol prevention research, educational and supportive in nature, comprehensive in scope and consistent with state and federal laws. Institutional policies should be enforceable and consistently enforced. Efforts should be aimed at fostering an environment that supports non-drinkers in addition to the responsible and legal use of alcohol among those who choose to drink—and should include alternative alcohol-free programming. Institutions should provide support systems both for those who choose not to drink and for those who are at risk of developing problems due to alcohol use.

Research: Faculty and staff should be encouraged to develop and conduct research studies that provide the basis for improving alcohol policies and programs at each institution.

Curricular Integration: Efforts should be made to encourage faculty to develop ways to incorporate issues of alcohol education and prevention into the curriculum.

Assessment: Each institution shall develop strategies to understand the nature and scope of alcohol usage on campus and assess the effectiveness of its alcohol policies and programs.

Awareness and Promotion: Each institution shall use multiple methods and strategies to ensure that all members of the university community are sensitized to issues of harmful alcohol use among students, aware of campus alcohol policies and programs, and encouraged to participate in efforts that lead to responsible and legal choices about drinking. Students should be involved in the development of strategies that will be effective with their peers.

Collaboration: Collaboration with other institutions of higher education, school districts, community agencies, businesses, and other relevant partners should be established as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce the incidence of harmful student drinking.

Alcohol Beverage Marketing: Institutional policies should include guidelines related to alcohol beverage marketing modeled from those recommended by UW System.

The Board further directs each chancellor to periodically assess the institution’s policies and programs as part of a comprehensive effort to examine alcohol use issues and for meeting federal regulations. Finally, the Board directs UW System Administration to coordinate systemwide efforts that support and enhance institutional initiatives to reduce harmful levels of student alcohol use.

Oversight, Roles, and Responsibilities

Each UW chancellor is responsible for developing appropriate policies, procedures, and programs related to the sale, possession, and use of alcohol within the UW System. Policies and procedures shall be consistent with all federal, state, and local laws and UW System policies and regulations, including UWS 18.09, Wis. Admin. Code, related to the sale, possession, and use of alcohol on university property. Each UW chancellor shall also be responsible for compliance with the Drug-Free Schools Act of 1989 (34 CFR Part 86), and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (34 CFR 668.46), including the provisions related to the development and distribution of alcohol policies and programs as required under these Acts.

UW System Administration’s Office of Academic and Student Affairs (OASA) shall be responsible for coordinating systemwide efforts that support and enhance institutional initiatives to reduce harmful student drinking, including efforts to assess institutional policies and programs. Further, OASA shall provide support to institutions in complying with federal, state and local laws and regulations and UW System policies and administrative code regarding the sale, possession, and use of alcohol within the UW System.

Related Regent Policy Documents and Applicable Laws

  • 23 U.S.C. § 158. “National minimum drinking age”
  • 34 CFR Part 86, “Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention.”
  • 34 CFR 668.46, “Institutional security policies and crime statistics.”
  • Chapter 125, Wis. Stats., “Alcohol Beverages”
  • UWS 18.09 (1), Wis. Admin. Code, “Alcohol Beverages”


History: Res. 3332, adopted 07/12/1985, replaced RPD 72-13 with RPD 85-2. Res. 8356, adopted 05/11/2001, replaced RPD 85-2 with RPD 01-1 (subsequently renumbered RPD 9-1). Res. 11512, adopted 10/08/2020, amended RPD 9-1.