Background and Context
Monash Residential Services (MRS) exists to provide a living and learning environment in which residents will always act with the best interests of fellow residents in mind. Tolerance and respect for others and their rights and freedoms should be a primary concern, as should their health and personal safety.
MRS respects the rights of residents who are over the age of 18 years to consume alcohol within an MRS accommodation complex or whilst at MRS functions or events in a responsible and legal manner, on the understanding that the consumption of alcohol will not have a detrimental effect on the individual or the residential community.
See the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)'s alcohol guidelines.
MRS endorses a procedure of:
- information for residents;
- proactive procedures and behavioural guidelines; and
- structured and consistent response to alcohol abuse in residences.
Residents are expected to exercise maturity and community consciousness and accept personal responsibility for their own alcohol consumption and show care and consideration for other members of the residential community impacted by their alcohol consumption (please refer to the MRS Conditions of Residency).
Residential Support Teams and MRS in general will, through formal programs and communication, seek to ensure that residents are aware of the procedures surrounding alcohol and are informed about the harms associated with excessive drinking. MRS will actively promote the safe consumption of alcohol to residents through procedure implementation, awareness training and other means.
From time to time, MRS (or individual residents) may organise or promote activities where alcohol is consumed. These may only take place under a BYO (Bring Your Own) arrangement or where alcohol is supplied by a licensed venue.
The MRS Alcohol Procedure has been formulated to cover:
- The consumption of alcohol purchased and/or supplied by residents and/or their guests at approved Functions held within MRS accommodation complexes;
- The consumption of alcohol at offsite events approved by MRS (for example, events organised by Hall societies and/or social committees);
- The consumption of alcohol by residents outside any formal or endorsed residential programs whilst in MRS accommodation.
(1) The MRS Alcohol Procedure rests on the following principles:
1. MRS seeks to ensure, as far as possible, that the benefits it provides are available to all residents on an equal basis.
2. MRS acknowledges that there is a general social and legal tolerance of responsible drinking of alcohol by adults. MRS also recognises the harmful physical, behavioural and social effects of excessive alcohol consumption.
3. MRS accommodation Site Managers and/or Heads are authorised to determine where, when and if alcohol may be consumed by any person [including residents and their guests] in any area outside a resident's own private bedroom. This includes but is not limited to: communal areas, kitchens, dining areas, corridors, passageways, gardens and grounds, car parks, etc.
4. MRS requires individuals to accept responsibility for their behaviour and actions when they choose to drink, including when intoxicated.
5. Residents and/or their guests must not be subjected to any pressure to drink, nor to drink more than they judge to be reasonable. Nor should they feel compelled to drink alcohol because no reasonable and attractive alternative is offered.
6. At an MRS event, participants (including residents) should not ‘subsidise' the cost of alcohol consumed by others.
7. Residents who display behaviour indicative of alcohol dependence and/or alcohol abuse may be required to participate in educational programs and discussions regarding the effects of alcohol use and abuse, in order to continue living in residence.
8. Residents and/or their guests must not engage in binge drinking and must refrain from promoting and/or participating in and/or encouraging drinking games.
9. Residents must not possess or consume alcohol if they are under the age of 18 years.
10. Residents over the age of 18 years must not supply alcohol to any person under the age of 18 years.
11. The following items are not permitted at any time within an MRS accommodation complex:
- Alcoholic punch;
- Any form or variation of drinking games;
- Any type of alcohol drinking apparatus which enables a person to consume large quantities of alcohol quickly.
12. Intoxicated residents must not be supplied with more alcohol or permitted to consume more alcohol whilst at an MRS function.
As part of this Alcohol Procedure, MRS has also adopted regulations regarding the consumption of alcohol at functions held within an MRS accommodation complex which are aimed at minimising:
- harm to the person who is drinking;
- harm to persons around the person drinking;
- damage to the property of individuals and of MRS; and
- damage to the good standing of MRS in the University and the community.
(2) Regulations regarding alcohol at Functions held within an MRS accommodation complex
The following Regulations must be complied with at all times when alcohol is permitted and present at a Function held in an MRS accommodation complex:
1. An event where alcohol is permitted at an MRS accommodation complex that is open to all residents may only be held if the Head first approves the event as a Function. The event is then an MRS sanctioned Function and is subject to these Regulations.
2. The guiding principle of the MRS Alcohol Procedure applies, to ensure that excessive amounts of alcohol are not consumed at any Function.
3. The amount of alcohol present (i.e. brought by residents) should directly relate to (i) the numbers attending the Function that are eligible and likely to drink alcohol, (ii) the alcoholic content of the drinks and (iii) the time allowed for the Function. MRS has prepared a "standard drink" calculator which can be used to assist in determining the appropriateness of the volume of alcohol brought into a Function (by one or more residents). See "standard drinks calculation form"
4. Alcohol should be consumed without the drinkers becoming intoxicated (i.e. achieving a blood alcohol level greater than 0.05).
The Australian National Medical and Health Research Council Guidelines state that::
Guideline 2: Reducing the risk of injury on a single occasion of drinking
On a single occasion of drinking, the risk of alcohol-related injury increases with the amount consumed.
For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four (4) standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.
5. Residents attending a Function are not permitted to bring in or consume more than four (4) standards drinks of alcohol per person.
6. Alcohol must not be consumed by under-18 year olds and there must be a system in place to verify that drinkers at all such functions are not under-18 years of age.
7. The Head has responsibility for monitoring resident compliance with these Regulations by:
a. Arranging for at least one Residential Support Team Officer to be present at all times whilst the Function is in progress. The RSTO will monitor the consumption of alcohol to check consumption adheres to these Regulations.
b. Nominating at least two residents who have completed Responsible Service of Alcohol training who agree to abstain from consuming alcohol throughout the duration of the function. These nominated residents will assist the Head in ensuring adherence to the MRS Alcohol Procedure.
8. ALL persons supervising the collection/storage of ‘BYO' alcohol (if applicable) must have attended and completed a Responsible Serving of Alcohol training session.
9. All alcohol ‘brought in' by residents must be in pre-packaged containers that clearly stipulate the number of standard drinks contained therein (no ‘homebrew', ‘home-mixed' spirits, ‘alcoholic punch' or the like). The standard drinks stipulated on the package are the primary means of determining the number of standard drinks consumed by individuals.
10. An adequate and appropriate amount and type of food must be provided, having regard to normal mealtimes.
11. An adequate and appropriate amount and type of non-alcoholic drinks and/or soft drinks that are an appealing alternative to alcohol must be supplied at the Function.
12. Drinking water must be available at all times during the Function.
If the above Regulations are not adhered to at all times during the Function, the Head must take appropriate action to either rectify the non-compliance and/or stop the Function. There is to be proactive enforcement of MRS procedures at Functions (being MRS sanctioned events on MRS premises) and not simply a reactive response to a breach.
(3) Regulations regarding alcohol at events organised or endorsed by MRS and not held in an MRS accommodation complex
It is understood that from time to time, MRS or an individual residential community may hold an event offsite from MRS property where it is proposed alcohol will be available. Where the Head approves such an event to be held at a location situated outside an MRS accommodation complex and immediate environs, the following rules apply. The Head will only approve the event if it is held at a venue with a current and valid liquor licence.
Examples of events held offsite may include but are not limited to: College Heads' Balls, Residents' Balls, dinners, trivia nights and activities organised by Hall societies/social committees which are endorsed/supported by the College Head.
The following Regulations must be complied with when organising an event held outside of an MRS accommodation complex:
1. The guiding principle of the MRS Alcohol Procedure applies, to ensure that excessive amounts of alcohol are not consumed at any Function.
2. The excessive consumption of alcohol is not to be used or promoted as a draw card for the event, i.e. unlimited alcohol, cocktail nights (without entertainment), etc.
3. The Head will only approve an event held outside an MRS or Monash University accommodation complex if it is held in a venue which has a current and valid liquor licence. The Head must take reasonable steps to verify that the venue has a valid and current liquor licence before granting approval.
4. The lawful and responsible serving of alcohol at these events is the responsibility of the holder of the liquor licence at the venue or location. This includes ensuring persons under 18 years of age are not served alcohol.
5. Participants (including residents) should not ‘subsidise' the cost of alcohol consumed by others.
6. The behaviour of residents at an MRS approved event will be treated as behaviour ‘whilst in residence' and fall under the MRS Conditions of Residency.
7. The Head has responsibility for monitoring resident compliance with these Regulations by:
- Arranging for at least one Residential Support Team Officer to be present at all times whilst the Function is in progress. The RSTO will monitor the consumption of alcohol to check consumption adheres to these Regulations.
8. The Head has the responsibility for completing and adhering to the MRS Off Campus Activity Procedure
(4) Other consumption of alcohol by residents at MRS
MRS respects the rights of residents who are over the age of 18 years to consume alcohol within an MRS accommodation complex in a responsible and legal manner on the understanding that the consumption of alcohol will not have a detrimental effect on the individual or the residential community.
The consumption of alcohol in common areas of MRS at an organised event or party may only take place as either an approved Function (see part 1 of this procedure) or an approved party (see section 4.6 of the MRS Conditions of Residency).
The consumption of alcohol outside of these approved activities is the responsibility of the individual residents and must comply with the MRS Conditions of Residency.
It is the responsibility of the Head to ensure that any identified or reported breach of the MRS Conditions of Residency and/or MRS Alcohol Procedure which results from residents consuming alcohol or being intoxicated at an MRS accommodation complex are dealt with efficiently and appropriately as per the CIMPs manual.
Residents who display characteristics of alcohol dependency/abuse will be dealt with giving due consideration for the welfare of the individual and Hall community.
(5) Other information and Definitions:
Level of Usage - Standard Drinks (STD): The use of standard drinks (STD) can help people to monitor their alcohol consumption and exercise control over the amount they drink. A standard drink is defined as one that contains 10 grams of pure alcohol. Different types of alcoholic drinks contain different amounts of pure alcohol. See information on what is a standard drink.
Keep in mind that the "standard" size of drinks served in some hotels may be bigger than the standard measure of one unit of alcohol. Large wine glasses can hold two standard drinks or even more. Drinks served at home often contain more alcohol than a standard drink. Cocktails can contain as many as five or six standard drinks, depending on the recipe. See Reference.
Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council - Alcohol guidelines: Reducing the health risks
Alcohol has a complex role in Australian society. Most Australians drink alcohol, generally for enjoyment, relaxation and sociability, and do so at levels that cause few adverse effects. However, a substantial proportion of people drink at levels that increase their risk of alcohol-related harm. For some, alcohol is a cause of significant ill health and hardship. In many countries, including Australia, alcohol is responsible for a considerable burden of death, disease and injury. Alcohol-related harm to health is not limited to drinkers but also affects families, bystanders and the broader community.
NHMRC intends ‘Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol' to establish the evidence base for future policies and community materials on reducing the health risks that arise from drinking alcohol. It is about helping you reduce the risks to your health from drinking alcohol. Of course, how much you drink is your choice. But we hope these guidelines will help you make an informed choice and also help health agencies guide the community in reducing health risks.
"Function" or "function" means: An event open to all residents and held within an MRS accommodation complex for which approval for the consumption of alcohol has been given by the Head. A function does not include:
- an event sanctioned by the Head which is held at a venue which has a current and valid liquor licence;
- an informal or impromptu gathering of residents in a residence;
- an approved gathering for a ‘party' for a specific group of residents and guests (as per section 4.6 of the MRS Conditions of Residency).
4.6 (c) ... [Residents must] obtain permission from the Head (which may or may not be granted at the Head's absolute discretion) prior to having a party or gathering and if granted, pay all costs associated with the party or function, including costs incurred by MRS where MRS' costs may include but are not limited to items such as security, personnel, cleaning, rubbish removal, repairs, etc ...;
"Head" means the person occupying or acting in the position of College Head of an MRS accommodation complex from time to time, or his/her nominee.
"Residential Support Team Officer" means a person who holds the position of a College Head or Deputy College Head or Residential Support Assistant within an MRS accommodation complex from time to time, or his/her nominee.
"Resident" or "resident" means anyone occupying or at any time staying in (whether it is for one night or longer) any MRS accommodation complex and without limitation, includes students, staff, guests, visitors, conference delegates and other persons.
Last updated: September 2019