Guidelines for the Service of Alcohol on the SMU Campus

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Message from the President

Dear Members of the SMU Community:

The United Methodist heritage that guides our University provides us with strong values of civic responsibility and concern for the welfare of our students. In keeping with the principles and values expressed by SMU's founders, we aim to provide the best possible environment for learning and enrichment, not only among our students, but also among members of the community who gather at SMU for special events. Toward this end, I urge all members of the SMU community to consider the presence of alcoholic beverages on campus with responsibility, prudence, and moderation.

The Purpose of this Guide for Service of Alcohol on the Southern Methodist University Campus is to provide you with the policies and procedures for serving alcohol at SMU as well as background information as to why our particular policies, in addition to state laws governing alcohol, exist.

I encourage you to read this guide thoroughly prior to submitting a request for approval to serve alcohol on-campus. Please direct any questions related to this Guide to the Vice President for Student Affairs, at


R. Gerald Turner

Please review the below for detailed information on the guidelines and procedures for the service of alcohol.

Alcohol Policy
University Policy Number 1.15

The  Board  of  Trustees  of  the University  has  affirmed that  abusive  use  of  alcoholic  beverages  and the corresponding effects upon persons constitute one of the more serious problems in our nation. In  keeping  with  the  University’s  heritage  as  an  institution  affiliated  with  the  United  Methodist Church, the Board of Trustees has urged all members of the University community to consider use of alcoholic beverages with responsibility, prudence, and moderation. As  a  University  community  which  espouses  the  value  and  worth  of  persons  in  an  environment  of free  and  open  inquiry  and  expression, it is  recognized  that individuals  must  be  free  to  follow  their own  conscience  regarding  the  use  of  alcoholic  beverages;  provided,  however,  that  such freedom does not imply license to violate the law or University policy. The  possession  and  consumption  of  alcoholic beverages  in  public  places  on  campus  on  property owned or controlled by the University is restricted subject to the provisions set forth [in this policy].

[link to policy]

Alcohol Sponsorship Policy
University Policy Number: 1.16

It is the policy of the University to endorse the United Methodist Church's position of abstinence from the use of alcohol, realizing that this recommendation of abstinence is not a new legalism nor a moralistic prohibition but a matter of conscience and personal discipline (The Book of Discipline, ¶ 162L). At no time shall the University, through sponsorship or agreement, give the impression of endorsement or provide a forum which suggests an institutional posture affirming the use of alcoholic beverages.

[link to policy]

Procedures for the Sale and Service of Alcohol

Pursuant to Southern Methodist Policy 1.15, Alcohol Policy, the University adopts the following Procedures for the Sale and Service of Alcohol.

Service of alcohol on campus is limited to beer, wine and champagne, except for those locations that have received exceptions in writing for the service of liquor and/or mixed beverages. Kegs are not allowed on campus at any location.

A. For the sale and service of alcohol to occur on the SMU Campus, SMU Catering must receive the following documents no later than 10 business days prior to the event:

  1. For SMU events, a signed copy of the alcohol authorization form from the Vice President for Student Affairs and the address, floor plans, and areas in the event space designated for alcohol service. This diagram must show location of bars, buffets, rounds, etc., plus the location of entrances and exits.
  2. For non-SMU events, a copy of the Certificate of Insurance ("COI") applicable to the event, naming SMU as an additional insured, as approved by the Office of Risk Management is required. Only SMU Catering may service non-SMU events where alcohol is sold and served.

B. The following procedures must be observed at all events where alcohol is sold and/or served.

  1. All outdoor events are required to have a fenced perimeter when serving/selling alcohol. Entrances and exits must be staffed by trained personnel to ensure that no alcohol enters or exits the area.
  2. All ID checkers must have a current, active, and valid training certification through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission ("TABC"). For all student events there must be at least one certified ID checker per every 100 guests. All students who are 21 years of age or older are required to have an event specific wrist tag throughout the event.
  3. All bartenders must have a current, active, and valid training certification through TABC. There must be a minimum of one certified bartender per every 100 guests. This is in addition to the ID checker.
  4. The service of alcohol is limited to 3 1/2 hours including a reception and dinner. Alcohol service must end by 1:30 a.m.
  5. SMU Catering must remove any unused alcohol from the venue after each event. Event sponsors utilizing SMU Catering are not allowed to remove unused alcohol from the venue. If an outside caterer provides the alcohol, they are responsible for its removal.
  6. Alcohol billing will be person/drink, not by consumption. A variety of packages will be available.
  7. Cash bars are permitted but SMU Catering must service them. Any exception to this must be requested in writing from the Vice President for Student Affairs. If another caterer is utilized, they must adhere to the same processes and procedures that SMU Catering follows.
  8. Outside caterers must provide proof of appropriate liability insurance listing SMU as an additional insured and SMU's Office of Risk Management must receive a copy of the outside caterer's permit for the specific event to review at least 10 business days prior to the event.
  9. The Associate Vice President of Campus Services or his/her designated representative will serve as the point of contact for outside caterers to ensure that all processes and procedures are followed.
  10. An SMU Department may provide its own alcohol, but SMU Catering must service the alcohol.
  11. A sufficient amount of non-salty foods and non-alcohol beverages must be served at events where alcohol is served. The amount of food and non-alcoholic beverages must be in proportion to the expected attendance.

For SMU Athletics Events

SMU Catering/Aramark is the only organization which can sell and serve alcohol in Moody Coliseum and Ford Stadium. The procedures for the service of alcohol in Moody Coliseum are outlined in "Appendix A - SMU General Procedures and Guidelines for Alcohol Sales and Service in Moody Coliseum," and for Ford Stadium in "Appendix B - SMU General Procedures and Guidelines for Alcohol Sales and Service in Gerald J. Ford Stadium."

For Student Events

For any student or student organizations wishing to seek approval for the service of alcohol on campus, which includes but is not limited to parties, alumni events, academic events, parent events, and the Boulevard, please see the Dean of Students website for the specific process for approval of the event.

Approved Locations for Alcohol Service

  • Collins Executive Education Center (Common Area and Dining Room)
  • Cox School of Business (Dean’s Parlor, Ernst and Young Gallery)
  • Dedman School of Law
    • Karcher Auditorium
    • The Pit – Underwood Law Library
    • Lawyers’ Inn, Carr Collins
    • Law Quad
  • DeGolyer Library (Stanley Marcus Reading Room, Texana Room)
  • Embrey Engineering Building (Huitt Zollars Pavilion)
  • Fincher Building (JP Morgan Parlor)
  • Hughes-Trigg Student Center (see Hughes-Trigg Student Center website for specific information.)
  • Legacy Campus (Office Suites, Auditorium)
  • Letterman's Hall
  • Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom and Patio
  • Meadows School of the Arts
    • Dean's Suite Lobby
    • Bob Hope Lobby
    • Taubman Atrium 
  • Meadows Museum
    • Founder's Room and South Lobby
    • Red Room, Jones Hall
    • Permanent Collection Galleries
    • South Plaza
  • Prothro Great Hall
  • Simmons Pavilion
  • SMU Faculty Club
  • Moody Coliseum
  • Ford Stadium
  • “The Boulevard” (Home football games only)


Alcohol request forms are now integrated into STABLE under the Events and Room Requests section and the appropriate Event Support widget. Event planners must complete alcohol service requests at least one month in advance of event allowing time to process the request prior to submitting to the TABC.

  • Please review and understand the Policies and Procedures for Events on Campus.
  • ARAMARK/SMU Catering provides and serves alcoholic beverages for campus events.
  • Fees charged by TABC are passed to department sponsoring event.
    • $300 for applications received by TABC nine to seven business days before the event
    • $500 for applications received by TABC six to four business days before the event
    • $900 for applications received by TABC three to one business day before the event
  • Finally, by completing the Event Support request at least one month in advance of event, you affirm that you have read and understand the guidelines for the service of alcohol found here.

This submission is separate from any approval(s) that may be required by SMU Risk Management (Certificate of Insurance (COI) Request), the Office of Campus Services or the Office of Legal Affairs related to your event.

***University policy requires that food be served whenever alcohol is being served. ***