Alcohol Use Policy

Making an informed decision about drinking is your personal responsibility.

No one can make this decision for you. Since the choices you make about alcohol use could be among the most critical choices of your life, please consider a few factors that might impact your decision.

What is the legal drinking age?

The drinking age for the State of California and the City of San José is 21 and older. It is against state law to consume, purchase, or possess alcohol if you are younger than 21.  Local law enforcement aggressively and consistently enforces this law.

Can I drink on campus?

San José State Universityis not a dry campus. There are limited times and locations on campus property where alcohol is permitted. In those situations, only individuals who are 21 years of age or older are allowed to consume alcohol. Those individuals are expected to do so in a responsible manner. If you are caught drinking or in possession of alcohol as a minor or if you are found publicly intoxicated you can be arrested and/or be subject to disciplinary sanctions.

Can I drink at football games?

Drinking is allowed at tailgating events at specified areas at Spartan Stadium. However, no alcoholic beverages can be brought into Spartan Stadium. All alcohol beverage consumption laws apply and will be enforced at all times. Failure to comply with the laws could result in arrest if you are a minor and removal from the stadium if you are 21 or older.

What will happen to me if I am caught drinking as a minor?

  • It doesn’t matter if you are caught by University Police, San José Police, or the Alcohol Beverage Control: possession or distribution of alcohol is a misdemeanor.
  • It is illegal for those under age 21 to buy, attempt to buy, possess or transport alcohol.
  • It is also illegal to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol.
  • When arrested, you may have to post bond, pay court costs and pay attorney fees. A report is filed with the District Attorney’s Office and your case will be presented before a judge.

What are the residential community policies?

  • University Housing policy follows state laws, therefore, any room or apartment that has a resident or guest under the age of 21 may not have alcohol in any form.
  • No possession, transportation (in plain view), or consumption of alcohol in common areas is allowed.
  • No empty alcohol beverage containers may be kept in the room as decorations.

What about drinking and driving?

  • Anyone who drives while intoxicated can be charged with a DUI.
  • California has a zero tolerance law.  It is illegal for anyone under 21 with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or more to drive a vehicle.
  • It is illegal for a person at any age to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or more.
  • If arrested for DUI, the officer will confiscate the license at the scene and may impound your vehicle.
  • For the first offense you will face
    • Driver’s license suspension for 6 months (1 year if you are under 21).
    • Up to 6 months of jail time.
    • $1,000 in fines plus assessments.
    • Required participation in a first offender DUI program.
  • Subsequent offenses carry harsher penalties, including mandatory incarceration and complete loss of license.
  • DUI convictions now stay on driver’s record for ten years.

Is it that big of a deal to have a misdemeanor on my record?

A DUI conviction will result in

  • Thousands of dollars in fines.
  • Increased insurance premiums.
  • Attorney fees.
  • Criminal records.

What about kegs?

Kegs and other “common source” containers are not allowed on campus or at any University function on or off campus.

What does it mean for an incident to be documented?

If there is an alleged policy violation, the incident will be documented in an Incident Report form. This form will go to the Office of Student Conduct & Ethical Development and University Housing for review and possible action. The students involved will be contacted regarding the incident and potential disciplinary action. All infractions of the Student Code of Conduct are serious. Potential consequences include but are not limited to:

  • Disciplinary probation
  • Educational sanctions
  • Potential parental notification
  • Expulsion from University Housing
  • Suspension from the University
  • Expulsion from the University

Can I drink at a SJSU student organization party?

SJSU policies and city ordinances apply to both on and off campus activities of student organizations. You may not drink if you are under 21 and those 21 and older should exercise personal responsibility. If your organization is considering planning a party, contact Student Involvement for details about protecting your organization and those who attend your event.

What is the Open Container Ordinance?

In the City of San Jose it is illegal for anyone to have in his or her possession, while in a motor vehicle any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed, no matter what your age is.

What about drugs and alcohol?

Alcohol is the most commonly abused and socially accepted drug in the United States.  Combining the two substances can be lethal.

How bad can it affect my body?

The use of alcohol can affect the body systems and cause problems such as gastritis, pancreatitis, fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis, cancer, heart disease, anemia, lowered resistance to infection, increased bruising, poor clotting and sexual dysfunction. We suggest you read the label on your over-the-counter or prescription drugs before taking any combination of drugs and alcohol.

Where do I go if I think I have a problem?

SJSU is concerned about its students and has many resources available for help. See below for campus departments that can answer questions and provide assistance regarding issues of alcohol use/abuse.


SJSU Campus Resources