Alcohol Policy, Prohibited Items and Clear Bag Checks

Policy on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs

The College of Charleston observes a strict no-alcohol or other drugs policy prior to and during the commencement ceremonies. Ceremony participants, graduation candidates and guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages or other drugs onto the premises or consuming alcoholic beverages during the ceremonies. Any person determined by College personnel to be impaired will be removed from the premises and prohibited from participating in the ceremony. Policy on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs  

All graduates planning to participate in the commencement ceremony must acknowledge by their signature that they have read and understand the policy as well as the consequences for violating the policy prior to receiving tickets to commencement. The audience will be reminded prior to the ceremony that any student determined to be impaired will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.

In support of the policy, a "no alcohol or other drugs zone" for Cistern commencement ceremonies that includes Cistern Yard, Randolph Hall and the block bordered by St. Philip, George, Coming and Calhoun has been established. For December commencement, a similar “no alcohol or other drugs zone” encompasses TD Arena and Johnson Center. 

  • Within this zone, alcohol or other drugs will be confiscated.
  • There will be a bag check for graduates entering ready line-up rooms (Maybank Hall in May and Johnson Center and TD Arena in December). Please read the Prohibited Items and Bag Check page for information about our clear bag protocol. 
  • Secure storage for personal effects will be provided in the line-up rooms, but you are advised to bring as few personal belongings as necessary. No bags will be allowed on stage. 
  • No outside food or beverages will be allowed in the line-up rooms (exception for documented medical necessity only).
  • Once admitted to line-up rooms and ceremony venue, graduates will not be permitted to exit this area and return. Staff will monitor entrances and exits with support from Public Safety.
  • Impaired or inebriated students will be removed from the ready room area, pulled from line, or removed from the stage prior to walking.
    • Using a predetermined protocol, public safety officers and EMS will evaluate students believed to be impaired or inebriated.
    • If it is determined that a student is unable to participate in the ceremony, the student will be escorted from the ceremony and transported to a local hospital by EMS if deemed necessary or turned over to a responsible party (family member or friend).

Bag Check Protocol (Clear Bags & Small Clutches Only)

In order to expedite entry and provide a safe and secure environment for our student, faculty, staff, guests and visitors, the College of Charleston has implemented a Clear Bag Protocol for its ticketed events, including Commencement. 

Attendees will only be able to carry the following approved style and size bag, package or container into the ticketed Commencement venues (TD Arena and Cistern Yard).  Below that, you will find a list of prohibited bags and items as well as an FAQ section. 

Clear Bag Protocol

Approved Bags

  • Clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags that do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12" – A logo no larger than 4.5" x 3.4" can be displayed on one side of a permissible clear bag.
  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar)
  • Small clutch bags no larger than 4.5" x 6.5" – approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap
  • Medically necessary items (after proper inspection)

Prohibited bags include, but are not limited to:

  • Purses larger than a clutch bag
  • Camera Bags
  • Backpacks
  • Fanny Packs
  • Cinch/Drawstring Bags
  • Luggage of any kind
  • Computer Bags
  • Diaper Bags
  • Binocular Cases
  • Briefcases
  • Non-approved seat cushions, which include large traditional seat cushions that have pockets, zippers, compartments or covers

Prohibited Items

  • Purses larger than a clutch bag (4.5" x 6.5"), briefcases, backpacks, and cinch bags of any kind, fanny packs, luggage of any kind, computer bags/cases, camera bags/cases, binocular bags/cases or any bag larger than the permissible size (12" x 6" x 12")
  • Coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans, flasks
  • Food of any kind
  • Video cameras, tripods, recording devices, detachable camera lenses over 6", selfie sticks
  • Weapons/Concealed Weapons-SC Open Carry Law does not apply to College of Charleston Campus
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Containers of any kind
  • Aerosol and Spray Cans
  • Mace/Pepper Spray
  • Animals (except service animals)
  • Laser lights, Strobe Lights and Pointers
  • Irritants such as artificial noisemakers
  • Fireworks/Explosives
  • Inflatables (beach balls, etc.)
  • Flags and Flagpoles, unauthorized banners or posters
  • Strollers
  • Illegal Drugs
  • Drones

Bag Check Protocol  |  List of Prohibited  |  FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the College of Charleston adopting a clear bag protocol for all Commencement?

The safety and security of our students, staff, faculty, guests, and all visitors along with the overall guest experience is our Number one priority. This proactive measure will enhance the safety inside and out of all venues and speed up the screening process. This protocol also supports Homeland Security's "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign.

What happens if I arrive to the event and do not have a clear bag?

Guests that do not have a clear bag will have the opportunity to purchase a bag from any campus store. Be sure to leave your non-clear bag in your vehicle.

The College of Charleston Campus Store will make clear bags available at all events when possible. Clear bags can also be purchased online at The College Locker Room. Also, you are welcome to purchase clear Ziploc-style bags from nearby drug stores (ex: CVS at the corner of George St. and St. Phillips St.) or clear bags from area retail stores (ex: Oops on King St.). 

What happens if I show up at the gate with a bag that is not permitted?

Guests with a prohibited bag will not be permitted inside the venue. Guests with prohibited bags will need to return their bags to their vehicle, and transfer their belongings to an approved clear plastic bag before entering the venue.

How does this expedite my entry into the venue?

This protocol enables us to move guests through our security checkpoints faster, allowing staff to be more efficient and effective in checking bags that are brought into the venue. In short, shorter lines mean fewer hassles, all while guests enjoy an improved sense of safety.

Are other universities/venues limiting bags?

Yes. More and more college institutions are adopting the NCAA, NFL, local and state adopted Clear Bag Protocol . Some universities have taken more far-reaching measures and do not permit any type of bags. 

How many bags can each person bring into the venue?

Each ticketed guest can carry one large clear bag – either a one-gallon Ziploc-style bag or the 12" x 6" x 12" clear bag – plus a small clutch purse (4.5" x 6.5"). The small clutch must be carried into the venue outside the clear bag and is subject to search.

What about diaper bags?

Diapers and non-medically necessary items for babies and young children must be carried in a clear bag. Each member of a family, including children, would be allowed to carry an approved clear bag and a clutch purse into the stadium. Diaper bags and other bags are permitted in our non-ticketed, alternative viewing locations.

Can I carry cameras, binoculars, phones, or tablets separately from what I put in a clear bag?

Yes. Guests can continue to carry permitted items in their pockets and/or hands such as keys, phones, wallets, makeup, etc. if you choose not to put them in a clear bag or clutch. Prohibited items have not changed. Camera and binocular cases will not be allowed. 

Are clear backpacks permitted?

Yes. Clear backpacks that do not exceed the 12" X 6" X 12" clear bag protocol are permitted. Any type of clear bag that does not exceed the clear bag size is permitted.

What about bringing blankets in cold weather?

Guests will be able to bring blankets by tossing them over a shoulder or arm as they arrive the gate. These items can be screened easily.