Last Revised: Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Responsible University Administrator: Vice Chancellor, Business & Finance
Responsible University Office: Business & Finance
Policy Contact: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance
This policy applies to all University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
There are three categories of events where the service of alcohol on the UNL campus may be allowed. They are:
1. private social events where attendees are not directly or indirectly charged for the alcohol served;
2. events at which the attendees are not limited to a specific guest list or any event where attendees are charged, directly or indirectly, for the alcohol served, and
3. an academic course in which the consumption of alcohol is part of the learning curriculum.
These categories and related rules are more fully discussed below. All three categories of events require an application for UNL approval, as will be discussed, and Category #2 events also require a Special Designated License (“SDL”) issued by the municipality within which the event takes place.
Exception: Category #2 events held at the AKRS Nebraska Champions Club, NIC Conference Center, and/or Wick Alumni Center fall under standing alcohol licenses at these facilities and do not require an SDL. Further, such events at these venues shall not require an application for UNL approval when the sponsoring organization is an outside or non-university organization. University-sponsored events shall still require an application for UNL approval.
In addition to this policy, any service or dispensing of alcohol on the UNL campus shall also comply with the Nebraska Liquor Control Act and any applicable local liquor ordinances. This includes, but is not limited to, a prohibition against any alcoholic beverage dispensed to or consumed by an individual under the age of 21, at any event covered by this policy.
Category #1 Events
Category #1 events shall be those private events where guests do not pay for alcoholic beverages, food, or admission to the event. Private events will be defined as those events in which a pre-identified and pre-existing group of individuals are invited to a specific event, the event is not advertised, nor is the event accessible or open to the public. No individual may attend such an event unless specifically invited in advance, except for UNL or caterer’s employees working at the event. Category #1 events shall not include serving alcohol to students during scheduled classes or other experiences that are required as part of a degree program, whether or not all students are over the age of 21 (with the exception of courses that fall under Category #3).
- For Category #1 events, any alcoholic beverage served must be provided by the Event Sponsor. The alcoholic beverages shall remain the property of the Event Sponsor and shall be removed from UNL property immediately upon conclusion of the event.
- Those persons responsible for ascertaining which guests may legally consume alcoholic beverages (e.g., checking IDs, overseeing alcohol service or entrance) must be employees of the Approved Caterer, or in extraordinary pre-approved circumstances when an employee of an Approved Caterer is not used, the department chair/head or designated tenured professor. The consumption of alcohol is not permitted by any person while he or she is engaged in those duties related to ascertaining which guests may legally consume alcohol.
Category #2 Events
Category #2 events are those events for which there is no specified, identifiable guest list, or any event at which the cost of alcoholic beverages is directly or indirectly assumed by the guests in attendance, regardless of the way such charges are levied.
- Category #2 events require a Special Designated License (SDL) that must be obtained by the Approved Caterer from the municipality in which the event is held.
- Exception: Category #2 events held at the AKRS Nebraska Champions Club, NIC Conference Center, and/or Wick Alumni Center fall under standing alcohol licenses at these facilities and do not require an SDL.
- The Approved Caterer must provide all alcoholic beverages served in accordance with the SDL issued pursuant to the Nebraska Liquor Control Act, any regulations promulgated in relation to the Act, and any applicable ordinances of the municipality in which the event is held.
- Persons checking IDs or checking alcohol service, entry, or minor identification must be employees of the Approved Caterer and shall not consume alcohol while on duty.
- Category #2 events that are outdoor on the day of any University of Nebraska – Lincoln home football game are limited to the AKRS Champions Club and/or Wick Alumni Center (City of Lincoln Municipal Code 5.04.064).
Category #1 & #2 Event Guidelines
- The approved UNL Alcohol Services Permit shall be prominently displayed where the alcohol is being served.
- Actual service of the alcoholic beverages shall be provided only by an experienced bartender hired through an Approved Caterer.
- Designated Locations: UNL has designated certain campus buildings for event rentals (see list of Designated Facilities). Campus departments are strongly encouraged to use only these approved venues. Locations used outside of this list must be approved by UNL Police, and an attachment must accompany the permit that includes the location address, a sketch of the licensed area, and maximum capacity. No alcohol permit will be issued in academic buildings where undergraduates or minors under the age of 21 will be in attendance except in rare circumstances and with prior Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance approval.
- Non-alcoholic beverages and some food service must also be provided.
- 75% or more of the attendees must be over the age of 21, and effective methods for ascertaining which guests may legally consume alcoholic beverages must be implemented.
- For events without a sit-down meal and with more than 150 attendees, the Approved Caterer and/or Event Sponsor shall provide one security person for every 150 attendees. Security personnel, whether paid or volunteer, shall have no duties other than maintaining order and enforcing all liquor laws and license conditions, including prohibiting minors and intoxicated attendees from consuming or possessing alcohol. All security personnel shall be dressed in distinctive clothing with visual markings identifying them as security personnel. This requirement may be waived or modified by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance by showing that such is not necessary for the promotion of health and safety.
- Alcohol may only be served and consumed in the areas listed on the UNL Alcohol Services Permit.
- Alcoholic drinks must be served in containers distinct from those in which non-alcoholic drinks are served. Non-alcoholic drinks must be served in transparent containers.
- The number of attendees in the event venue may not exceed maximum occupancy, as determined by the Nebraska State Fire Marshall or Lincoln Fire Department.
- All law enforcement officers with jurisdiction, including UNL Police, must be allowed access for inspection without restrictions to all areas listed in the UNL Alcohol Services Permit.
- Alcoholic beverages may not be served before 12:00 noon or after 12:00 midnight on Monday through Friday. For Saturday events, alcoholic beverages may not be served before 10:00 a.m. or after 12:30 a.m. (the following Sunday morning). On home football game day Saturdays, alcoholic beverages may not be served more than three hours prior to kickoff, or after 12:30 a.m. (the following Sunday morning). For Sunday events, alcoholic beverages may not be served before 10:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m. UNL’s hours of service may not exceed hours of service permitted by applicable law but may be more limited.
- The Event Sponsor and UNL Facility Administrator shall not consume alcohol while on duty and shall be in attendance for the duration of the event and the immediate post-cleanup period.
- Outdoor events: Unless otherwise approved by UNL Police, outdoor events must be contained within a 6’ wall or chain link fence, a double row of plastic or wood snow fence materials, or an approved equivalent. The double row of fence materials shall be at least 4’ apart. Sufficient toilet facilities and garbage disposal must be identified for or provided at outdoor events. Event Sponsors are encouraged to work with UNL Police before submitting a UNL Alcohol Services Permit to ensure that the proposed event venue complies with the Nebraska Liquor Control Act and any local liquor laws. The requirements in this paragraph may be waived or modified by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, if in the discretion of the Vice Chancellor, the Event Sponsor has clearly demonstrated that the requirement is not necessary for the promotion of health and safety.
Category # 3 Events
Category #3 events shall be those where the evaluation of beverages, such as wine tasting, is an integral part of academic courses and research and where such activity has been approved by the responsible dean or director to be part of the curriculum for the courses or where the consumption of alcoholic beverages is part of a research project.
Faculty teaching courses or conducting research involving alcoholic beverage tasting must file a UNL Alcohol Services Permit four (4) weeks prior to each term in which the courses are offered or before the research project begins. The cost of alcoholic beverages consumed as part of an academic course shall be covered by a special course fee paid by the students and not from tuition or state appropriations. The student fee and associated expenses for the course must be retained in a unique UNL cost object within UNL’s accounting records. The cost of alcoholic beverages consumed as part of a research project must be paid for by the research project. In no event shall alcoholic beverages be served before 12:00 pm. or after 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or before 10:00 a.m. and after 10:00 p.m. on Saturday.
All students enrolled in the courses or participating in a research project must present identification (valid driver’s license or equivalent age verification which has a photo identification on the face of it) verifying they are at least 21 years of age by the sixth day of the term. The identifications must be copied and maintained with the course records or research project records. If students are participating in a UNL-sponsored class outside the State of Nebraska, the laws of the state or country where the student is present govern the legal drinking age and shall be enforced. Students must sign and submit a waiver and hold harmless agreements before they can participate in courses with an alcoholic beverage tasting component (Alcohol Student Waiver). The signed agreements must be maintained with course records.
- For designated courses, at least one lecture preceding the alcoholic beverage tasting session(s) will cover responsible consumption.
- Actual service of the alcoholic beverages shall be provided only by the head or chair of the department offering the course, the full-time faculty member teaching the course or an Approved Caterer. For research projects, actual service of the alcoholic beverages shall be provided only by the research project’s principal investigator or by others associated with the research project with written permission by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.
- For each alcoholic beverage being evaluated, each student will be poured no more than a one-ounce sample. No more than four beverages (four samples) will be evaluated in a two-hour laboratory class, nor may any student participate in more than one class session in a 24-hour period.
- Food and water must be available to students during the beverage tasting session(s) to mitigate the effects of consumption.
- Alcoholic beverages that have been opened, but not served, must be properly disposed of immediately following the alcoholic beverage tasting laboratory or class (i.e., poured down the drain). Unopened alcoholic beverages must be stored in a locked cabinet and in an office that is always locked. The location of this locked cabinet must be provided to UNL Police.
- A monthly inventory of alcoholic beverages must be completed by the academic department with dual signatures of the department head and college dean.
Food and Beverage Caterers
Event sponsors (whether an individual or organization) of most Category #1 events and all Category #2 events shall select an “Approved Beverage Caterer” from a list of beverage caterers approved by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance. Approved Beverage Caterers must have the necessary licensure from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission and appropriate liability insurance, as determined by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance. Approved Beverage Caterers must have no less than five years of experience in beverage catering and no confirmed violation(s) of the Nebraska Liquor Control Act or local liquor ordinances for the three years prior to UNL approval. Approved Caterers will be removed from the list and their eligibility to serve alcoholic beverages at UNL revoked, if UNL determines that they have engaged in any activity, on or off campus, which would constitute a violation of the Nebraska Liquor Control Act or local liquor ordinances. Approved Caterers must also demonstrate sufficient financial resources to serve as beverage caterers at the type of events held at UNL. Within the limits imposed herein, the process for inclusion on the list shall follow UNL procedures for contracting with outside vendors.
Due to health safety concerns, in accordance with UNL’s Food & Beverage Service policy, all food served on campus must be furnished by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln contracted food caterer or from the list of approved food providers (maintained by Risk Management and the Nebraska Unions). Approved food providers must have a Lancaster County Health Certificate and appropriate liability insurance, as determined by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.
Reason for Policy
To provide direction to the UNL community regarding when and where alcoholic beverages are allowed, pursuant to Board of Regents Policy 6.4.1. Dispensing Alcoholic Beverages on University Property.
Obtaining a UNL Alcohol Services Permit and/or a Special Designated License
A sponsor of any of the three categories of events, regardless of where or in which UNL facility the event takes place, must first complete an Application for a UNL Alcohol Services Permit.
UNL Alcohol Services Permit Process, Approving Officials, Permit Posting
- The UNL Alcohol Services Permit approval process begins with the individual event sponsor or an authorized representative of the event sponsoring group (“Event Sponsor”) completing and signing the UNL Alcohol Services Permit. The administrator directly responsible for the facility proposed as the event venue, or that administrator’s designee (“UNL Facility Administrator”), shall review the UNL Alcohol Services Permit to ensure that the proposed event is consistent with the policies of the Board of Regents, the UNL campus and the proposed event venue. If the UNL Facility Administrator determines that the proposed event is so in compliance, he or she shall sign the UNL Alcohol Services Permit. The signed form is then forwarded to the cognizant Dean/Director for review and approval or disapproval. If the Dean/Director approves the event, the UNL Alcohol Services Permit is then forwarded to the cognizant Vice Chancellor, or the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee for review and may be approved, if the reviewer determines the proposed event is consistent with all institutional policies relating to the service of alcohol.
- Finally, all UNL Alcohol Services Permits must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance. Should the UNL Alcohol Services Permit applicant be a line report to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, then the Chancellor, or the Chancellor’s designee, must also approve the event. For Category #2 events, the Approved Caterer is responsible for obtaining the SDL from the municipality in which the event will be held. The approved UNL Alcohol Services Permit should be obtained prior to and included with the Approved Caterer’s SDL application for events within the City of Lincoln.
- For Category #2 events, the Approved Caterer is responsible for obtaining the SDL from the municipality in which the event will be held. The approved UNL Alcohol Services Permit should be obtained prior to and included with the Approved Caterer’s SDL application for events within the City of Lincoln.
- The UNL Facility Administrator shall post the approved UNL Alcohol Services Permit at every event and verify that the Approved Caterer has publicly posted the SDL at each Category #2 event.
Category #1 Events - The final approval of the event must occur no later than one week prior to the time and date of the proposed event.
Category #2 Events - Considering the time necessary to secure the required Special Designated License (SDL) from the municipal government, the UNL Alcohol Services Permit must be received by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance at least four (4) weeks prior to the scheduled event.
Category #3 Events - Faculty teaching courses or conducting research involving alcoholic beverage tasting must complete the UNL Alcohol Services Permit and receive all required approvals no less than four (4) weeks prior to the start of each term in which the courses are offered or the beginning of the research project.
Category #1 Event: Private social events where attendees are not directly or indirectly charged for the alcohol served, the event is not advertised, nor is the event accessible or open to the public. No individual may attend such an event unless specifically invited in advance, except for UNL or caterer’s employees working at the event.
Category #2 Event: Events at which the attendees are not limited to a specific guest list or any event where attendees are charged, directly or indirectly, for the alcohol served.
Category #3 Event: An academic course in which the consumption of alcohol is part of the learning curriculum.
- Alcohol Policy Matrix
- Approved Beverage Caterers
- Designated Facilities for Events with Alcohol
- Definition of Alcohol Permit Signers
- Sample Application for a UNL Alcohol Services Permit
- This policy was reformatted in 2020. No content edits were made.
- The contact email and email for questions was updated to email@example.com and the firstname.lastname@example.org email is no longer active.
- A reference to Lincoln Municipal Code was added regarding outdoor events on UNL home football games. Procedures were updated to ensure that the UNL Alcohol Services Permit is obtained prior to and included with the SDL application to the City.
- Policy was updated to combine requirements for category #1 and #2 events, where duplicative, to reduce length of policy for clarity. Guidance added for locations with standing SDLs and the requirement for a UNL permit. (Aug 2023)