Editorial: Alcohol in the Student Union
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Numerous students have wondered about the mysterious sign on the Quad that reads, “Student Union”. With nothing to go on but a poster and a dream, last year’s students voted yes and left it up to the administration to make it happen.
The 21 and older crowd who may be here to see this Student Union come to fruition, or for those who will be of age to drink by then, have shown much concern over the anti-alcohol rules for this building.
At the ‘Chicken Wings with the Chancellor’ event last month, students projected their feelings for alcohol being served in the Student Union as a way for students to have a safe place to drink on campus. Chancellor Koch opposed the suggestion from the older students.
In the Academic Staff Handbook it says, “Alcoholic beverages must be sold, served and consumed in a physical setting that is conducive to control and reasonable privacy.” The Student Union is a place in which this rule can be implemented because of the rules and regulations that can be put into place for age identification and other guidelines. This physical setting would be conducive to a controlled environment.
If the university administration would allow for alcohol to be served in the Student Union, it would essentially give of-age students the opportunity to drink alcohol at a place that is on their campus. This could prevent students from packing into a single car and driving off campus to one of the downtown bars, which are approximately 15 minutes away. This initiative can very well decrease the likelihood of students driving under the influence.
The proposed eating area of the Student Union that could possibly serve alcohol would have every right to regulate drinking and card every student that requests alcohol. If the administration is afraid of a rowdy campus with alcoholic drinkers and partiers in the Student Union, there can be rules put into place such as two or three drink maximums.
According to the university’s alcoholic beverages policy, “alcoholic beverages shall be limited to the use of participants in conventions and conferences, or in cultural or educational activities.” According to the Office of the Chancellor, “a similar process occurs on the other U of I campuses as well.”
Students of age drink on campus anyway; why not give them a safe place to do it?
As stated in the “Campus Regulations for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages” under the Academic Staff Handbook, it states under the locations where alcohol can be sold and delivered at UIS, one specific location is, “The Student Center: The areas of the Student Center in which alcoholic beverages may be sold, delivered, possessed or consumed include the gymnasium, recreation center and lounge areas.”
Although, it is referring to different student areas around campus, the Student Union will soon be the student hub on campus for students to socialize, similar to the Stars Lounge and the Student Life Building, therefore, the consumption, sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages should be allowed here as well.
Students will not always feel the need to have a great time drinking, of age, with their friends off campus or packed into their houses if they have the opportunity to drink on campus and can walk back and forth to their apartments and townhouses safely.
It would be great to see students gathered together for sporting events in the Student Union, drinking and not, and having a great time in a central location on campus after hours. It would provide students with a safe, positive environment to come, have fun and drink responsibly.