Permission for an Event

Permission for the holding of an event or party is granted by the Dean, who must always be consulted beforehand.

There is an on-line process to request permission to hold an event or party. This should be completed at least five days prior to the event date. Further information on the process, including a comprehensive guidance document, can be found on the College intranet. More information about accessing the College intranet can be found here. The various approvers, including the Dean, may have questions prior to their approval of the event. These may be resolved by email if the party is ‘routine’, but will often require a short meeting. Please allow time for these to take place when submitting your request. You will receive a number of e-mails as your request makes its way through the approval process. Your event does not have permission to take place until you receive the Dean's final permission e-mail.

Please note that parties are expressly forbidden in residential rooms or staircases.

Completion of the form will assist in planning for the party, including the provision of food and drink, security arrangements, control of noise, etc.

A member of the College must be responsible for the organisation and conduct of the party. That individual must check with the Internal Events Co-ordinator about the availability of the venue, and must complete the Event Booking Process.

These requirements are laid out in the set of guidelines maintained by the Dean and agreed by the General Purposes Committee as follows:

  • Responsibility for the organisation and conduct of each event will be taken by a single named junior member of the college.
  • An event booking process must be completed for every intended event. This must be approved by the Dean who, providing all is in order, will give permission for the event to take place, and by College staff members concerned with safety, licensing etc. as noted in the guidance.
  • The venue must be booked with the Internal Events Co-ordinator beforehand. Note that College regulations forbid the holding of parties in student rooms, staircases in the College and houses on Lensfield Road.
  • The service of alcohol should normally be accompanied by the provision of food in order to regulate the rate at which alcohol is absorbed. The Dean will take a sensible view about this requirement where, for example, the event closely follows dinner. Statutory health and safety and food hygiene regulations must be observed for the service of food and drink at any event. The Internal Events Co-ordinator can advise on the regulations. This may mean that the College has to supply prepared food, in which case it will normally do so at internal rates.  The College has developed an Alcohol Policy to promote a safe and supportive environment in which students can live, study and work.  Please read and refer to this policy as well as the guidance for College Societies with regard to the consumption of alcohol and associated behaviour.
  • All alcoholic beverages will be served from a ‘bar’ or, in the case of alcohol served at a formal meal, will be served by waiting staff (except for personal wine at a meal). There must be no element of ‘help yourself’. A trained bar supervisor must be present to oversee the bar who may be a member of the College catering staff or of the Bar Committee.
  • Water and other soft drinks must be available whenever alcohol is provided at any event.
  • Attendees at an event, whether College members or not, may not bring any alcohol with them, except to Formal Hall when each College member may bring one bottle of wine to consume during the meal, for which a corkage charge will be made if not purchased from the Buttery Bar. Spirits will not be permitted at a formal-hall style event. A fortified wine such as port must always be served by waiting staff.
  • The organiser, or their representative (nominated in advance during the event booking process) should be present at the event, and keep an eye on things.

It is recommended that named stewards be identified to assist with any problems if they arise. Anyone showing obvious signs of drunkenness should be asked to leave, and should then be escorted to a College room or to the Porters’ Lodge. The Porters should be asked to assist in cases of difficulty.

Party Venue

Parties are normally held in the Party Room, below the Bar in the Butterfield Building. The maximum number attending a party in this room is 90 and parties there should normally finish by midnight.

Please note that parties are expressly forbidden in residential rooms or staircases. Of course, the Dean will apply some common sense in deciding what constitutes a party, but gatherings of more than 12 people in a room or group of rooms, with alcohol being consumed, will be deemed to be a party, and will not be permitted.

In certain cases, permission may be given for events such as receptions, cocktail parties and the like to be held in other public rooms in College, including the West Lodge and Maitland Dining Room, the Music Room, the Howard Building, the Howard Theatre and the Hall.

As for any other party, the permission of the Dean must always be sought for use of these venues and it is unlikely that this will be granted for ‘routine’ parties. Daytime parties may be permitted on certain areas of the College grounds, usually in May Week.

The above restrictions on use of rooms such as the West Lodge and Maitland Dining Room do not apply to formal dinners, provided that the catering is organised by the College. However, the event booking system must be used if alcohol is to be consumed before, during or after the meal. Such alcohol must be provided by the college. The Dean should be consulted if there is any uncertainty about this.

The person submitting the Event booking form is held directly responsible for any damage caused and may be charged for cleaning (including toilets) if the Operations Manager or, as appropriate, the Bar Committee deems it necessary.

There is a £30 hire charge to students holding private events for use of the Party Room and disco equipment. Permission must be sought from the JCR President for use of equipment and a charge may be made if any damage or loss results.

Equipment must not be removed from the room without the supervision of the JCR President or Entertainments Officer. Alcohol may not be sold at parties unless agreed by the College Licence holder (Operations Manager).

Use of the Party Room

These principles are laid out in the Party Room Rules, a document maintained by the JCR and MCR and agreed with the College as follows:

During Full Term

  • The Party Room is a DCAC Common Room. When it has not been booked for an event, Downing students have free access to the room using room keys.
  • Any potential booking must be approved by the JCR Entertainments Officer and at least two other designated members of the DCAC Committee, JCR Committee or MCR Committee, prior to confirmation of the event. The decision regarding acceptance of a booking will be made at the discretion of these three committee officers. Written proof of this acceptance must be obtained.
  • Private bookings of the room are restricted to particular weekly slots, as determined by the DCAC.
  • Outside of these weekly slots, only groups or societies which are affiliated to or are a part of the DCAC can hold parties in the Party Room.
  • Ents equipment can be hired, if available, from the DCAC through the JCR Entertainments Officer.
  • Timings of events should be agreed upon with the Dean prior to the event. The person in charge of the event is responsible for adhering to these agreed time limits.

Outside normal periods of residence

  • All bookings should be made through the Internal Events Co-ordinator.
  • The Bar and Party Room will not be available for conference booking on certain weekend dates, to be negotiated with the MCR towards the end of the preceding term, and to include, on average, once every fortnight, or more if the rooms are available.
  • Entertainments equipment can be hired, if available, from the DCAC through the MCR.

At all times

  • An Event Booking process must be completed prior to any party.
  • Before a party, the TV should be put away safely, and returned after the party.
  • During parties, the event organiser should prevent glass beverage containers being brought into the Party Room. Plastic cups could be provided at the door and/or drinks sold in glass bottles could be decanted into plastic cups prior to distribution.
  • Spillages or breakages should be cleared up as soon as possible by, or under the supervision of, the event organiser.
  • The event organiser is responsible for any problems, or additional charges incurred.
  • Sale of alcohol — please refer to the agreed contract between MCR, JCR and Bar Committee on Events selling alcohol in the party room.
  • Organisers of private parties are not permitted to sell alcohol.
  • The maximum capacity of the room is 90 people. The organiser of any event is responsible for monitoring and enforcing that limit.
  • The DCAC Ents equipment may only be set up by those deemed as suitably trained to do so; to be determined by the JCR or MCR Entertainments Officer.
  • If Ents equipment is hired elsewhere in College, transport will have to be provided by those booking the equipment.



To be paid by


To be paid to

DCAC Ents Equipment hire

Any person/group hiring the equipment (excluding the DCAC, JCR or MCR committees

£30 (hire fee) and £250 refundable deposit


Equipment set-up

Private party bookers requiring the equipment to be set up by a trained JCR or MCR Officer

Up to £40

The trained Officer who will set up the equipment.


Any event organiser, if it is deemed by the Houskeeper and/or the Operations Manager that excess cleaning has been required after the event.

£30(inc VAT)

Downing College (Housekeeping Department).

Party Room Booking

Private Party Bookers



Parties in Public Rooms Outside College

When food and alcohol are to be consumed, written permission from the Junior Proctor of the University must be presented in advance to the proprietor of the premises.

Garden Parties

Many garden parties are held in the Easter Term, especially during May Week. These often involve the provision of alcohol, and the Dean’s Regulations for Alcohol at Garden Parties must be followed. Please obtain a copy from the Internal Events Co-ordinator.


Meetings within the College are held frequently. In accordance with the Education (No 2) Act 1986, section 43, Colleges are required to issue a Code of Practice to secure freedom of speech.

Downing follows the Code of Practice promulgated by the University in the booklet entitled ‘Information for Students’. Additional copies of this booklet are available on request from the Tutorial & Admissions Office. The following is an extract from the Code of Practice:

Authority is required for meetings and public gatherings to be held on College premises, whether indoors or outdoors. Express authority need only be sought:

  • for any meeting in a private room at which it is envisaged that 15 or more persons may be present
  • for any meetings in a public room for which a booking is required
  • for any meeting to be held in College premises out of doors at which it is envisaged that 15 or more persons may be present. A request for such authority should provide full particulars of the proposed meeting or gathering and should be submitted to the Dean at the same time as the booking is made for the room.

If no booking is required, the request should be made a reasonable time in advance. Subject to the availability of suitable College rooms, authority shall normally be given. In particular, it shall not be refused to any member or employee of the College on any ground connected with the beliefs or views of that person or the policies or objectives of the body on whose behalf he is seeking authority.

The organisers of the meeting must comply with any conditions set by the College authorities in respect of the organisation of the meeting or other activity and the arrangements to be made. Such conditions may include the requirement that tickets must be issued for public meetings, that an adequate number of stewards should be available, that the services of Porters should be hired, that the police should be consulted about the arrangements, that the time and place of the meeting shall be changed and that the meeting may be ordered to be cancelled on account of a threatened breach of the peace. The cost of meeting the requirements, and therefore fulfilling them, rests with the organisers.

Music and noise in student rooms

You must not disturb others with music, whether its performance or from amplifiers, musical instruments, radios, CD or MP3 players, or from any other source.

Any sound loud enough to be heard in someone else’s room is too loud. Thus you must exercise great care to avoid inconvenience to and complaint by others.

The sound of musical instruments being played or practised can be particularly annoying. If you are a musician, you are required to keep to the following hours for practising in your room:

  • Mon-Fri 12 noon to 2.00 pm; 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm
  • Saturdays 12 noon to 10.00 pm
  • Sundays 11.00 am to 10.00 pm

Details of College facilities for music practice.

For those disturbed by noise or music, there are several options. The most simple, and most satisfactory, is to discuss the matter with the perpetrator of the noise and seek to reach agreement. But if this proves to be impossible, and if you fail to solve the problem of persistent disturbance, you can either:

  • complain to an Officer of the JCR or MCR who will try to resolve the problem but may refer the matter to a Tutor or to the Dean
  • complain to a Tutor or to the Dean, both of whom have power to take disciplinary action in the matter
  • complain to the Porters.

The College authorities take the problem of noise extremely seriously. Students will be expected to be mindful of the proximity of neighbours both within the properties and in the wider community.

Particular attention is drawn to students resident in outlying properties, which are in a non-academic environment. The College takes a particularly serious view of student misbehaviour which inconveniences other members of the College or its neighbours.