Compared to other schools, Bates has a relatively relaxed drinking policy. Drinking is permitted in dorms, provided they aren’t chem-free. If security catches someone drinking outside, they’ll ask the student to pour his or her drink out and then let the student go. Several years ago, most forms of drinking were allowed on campus, but a series of alcohol-related hospitalizations caused the school to re-evaluate its drinking policy. Now, hard alcohol is prohibited (even to students who are of age), and people caught breaking this rule can be given strikes. Students who have three strikes are brought before the Disciplinary Committee. Unregistered kegs are also against the rules, and if a party with an unregistered keg is broken up, the person responsible for the party will get a strike, and everyone else will be sent home.
The original reason for Bates’ lenient alcohol policy was the belief that college students are going to drink no matter what the school does to stop them. The College wanted to discourage surreptitious drinking and ensure that students who have had too much to drink would not be afraid to go to Health Services if needed. Bates decided to change this policy in an attempt to curb the alarming number of hospitalizations due to alcohol poisoning. Security has recently started cracking down on beer pong games in the hallways, but this is more to comply with fire codes than for any other reason. Even now, Bates is far less strict than other colleges, at least in regards to alcohol. In other ways, Bates can be fairly strict. Rooms are checked over breaks, and students who forget to hide their illegal appliances or cable-stealing wires and boxes can get in trouble. Bates is also very strict about parking—illegally parked cars are nearly always ticketed, and sometimes even towed.