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6.6 Alcohol Misuse


Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to offensive behaviour – vandalism, physical and verbal abuse and sexual harassment. In recent years it has led, directly or indirectly, to several deaths in Cambridge.

We do not wish to restrict individual freedom, and we recognize that alcohol consumption can be a pleasurable activity in moderation and important socially, and that individuals have to learn from experience. We do have to discourage, however, excessive consumption that upsets other members of the community. The College authorities have a responsibility to deal with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, to protect the rest of the community.

We want to create an environment where members of our community can enjoy themselves, adopting sensible behaviour voluntarily to make sure that disciplinary action is unnecessary. The College wishes to draw attention to the problems and dangers involved in the excessive consumption of alcohol. This can be an especially significant matter at the start of an undergraduate’s time here. Sometimes activities have focussed too much on alcohol and the idea that getting drunk is ‘the done thing’. It is perfectly possible to have a great time as a student and not be a drinker.

The following guidelines for behaviour at social gatherings, which are encompassed within the Licensing Act 2003 and its mandatory conditions, can help avoid problems:

  1. Think carefully about the types and quantities of drinks to be served.
  2. Ensure that non-alcoholic drinks are freely available.
  3. Ensure that drinks are served in appropriately sized glasses and strengths.
  4. Ensure that the identity and strength of drinks are clearly shown.
  5. Do not refill drinks too rapidly – let the guests decide when they want more.
  6. Consider providing, or arrange for, food to go with drinks.
  7. Discourage individuals who are drinking excessively and upsetting others; seek help when necessary.
  1. Try not to drink on an empty stomach.
  2. Consume sensible quantities of drink and do not risk getting into a state that could lead to offensive behaviour.
  3. Do not incite others to consume more than they would wish; in particular, do not participate in ‘games’ with this consequence.
  4. Assist the organizers in dealing with those who have drunk too much and are upsetting others, especially when this develops away from the party.

Anti-social behaviour, at a party or elsewhere in the College, is a serious matter and will lead to disciplinary sanctions. Sections 6.5 and 7.3 of the Student Guide provide details of expectations of behaviour at Formal Hall and other dinners.