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Few Big 12 schools serving alcohol on campus

Jan. 29, 1997

By Lisa Zapata

Lariat Staff Writer

Alcohol consumption by students has been the number one problem across college campuses for many years, but the problems must not be outweighing the benefits for some universities.

Three Big 12 schools currently allow alcohol to be sold on campus, and Texas Tech University may soon become a fourth.

According to a recent article in the University Daily, Texas Tech's campus newspaper, student association officers will begin reviewing in February a proposal to open a student pub that would serve alcohol in its university center.

Iowa State, the University of Texas and Kansas State University already have places on campus that serve alcohol.

'Baylor has never considered serving alcohol on campus because it is poisonous to the body and one of the leading causes of death among college students,' said Dr. William Hillis, vice president of student life.

The University of Kansas does serve canned alcohol in its union building, but the alcohol is sold by a corporation; therefore, it is not considered to be served on campus.

'I think that it [alcohol in the union] is like an old tradition,' said Janine Gracy, Kansas' coordinator of health promotion and education. 'It's located in the cafeteria area.'

However, when the drinking age changed in the 1980s from 18 to 21, the whole atmosphere changed and many students do not drink in the union now, Gracy said.

She said that possession of alcohol is a violation of campus policy as well as city and state law. Kansas law forbids the possession of alcohol on state property.

She said some fraternity and sorority houses around the campus do allow alcohol, but some houses do not because of the problems associated with drinking.

'Alcohol is one of the biggest problems, healthwise, for students that we have,' Gracy said.

At the University of Texas, alcohol is allowed on campus at the Texas Union Tavern. The tavern has been open since the late 1970s.

The university president is the only person who can pre-approve the serving of alcohol on campus and at campus events. All alcohol for events is provided by the tavern, which has been granted special permission by the president to cater and serve alcohol, said Glenn Maloney, associate dean of students.

The tavern is open everyday for students, but Maloney said it is usually not busy.

'I don't think it [alcohol on campus] has increased student drinking at all,' Maloney said. 'Most of the student drinking takes place off campus on 6th Street.'

He said having a place to drink on campus is not a big deal to the students -- t has not been an issue, but if the president decided not to allow drinking at the tavern, students would be upset.

Iowa State is another university which allows alcohol to be served on campus.

'We do have some locations that have a liquor license,' said Dr. Charles Cychosz, coordinator of substance abuse programs at Iowa State.

Generally, the locations that have liquor licenses are in hospitality facilities. Alcohol is served at some concerts in Iowa State's coliseum. Under certain circumstances, alcohol is served in the Memorial Union, where weddings and similar events are staged, and hotel and restaurant management students sometimes serve alcohol at functions held in the tea room, Cychosz said.

He said the alcohol served at university events is very carefully monitored, and even at the concert venues, there are vigorous controls.

None of the locations that have liquor licenses would look like a typical bar, Cychosz said. The closest the university gets to a bar is the maintenance shop, where people can drink and listen to blues music.

'Tradition has a lot to do with it,' Cychosz said. 'I would not want to appear as an advocate for serving alcohol on campus, but we manage it well.'

He said the crucial point is not whether a school allows alcohol on campus but whether the provisions are hurting anyone. He added that Iowa State would pull the liquor licenses if they started causing problems.

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