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Should the IMU permit alcohol sales at concerts?

BY DI EDITORIAL STAFF | OCTOBER 05, 2011 7:20 AM

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Yes

The University of Iowa seems to be perpetually stuck between a keg and a hard place.

To assert that the university students' primary extracurricular aim is getting heavily inebriated in the IMU ballroom on a Thursday evening would be insulting, but to disregard their desire for merriment altogether would be a laughable oversight.

Our students are adults. The expectation is that we be treated equally, not lesser than those beyond the bounds of the campus.

Even impassioned and democratic logic fails to recognize the further advantages of alcohol sales at university-sponsored events held at the IMU. The economic advantages are undeniable. The availability of alcohol for purchase at school-sponsored events such as concerts and performances broadens profit margins, creating an immediate influx in the UI's revenue flow and available employment.

This isn't to say the IMU will suddenly transform into a pub, but the availability of alcohol will not only increase profits from those who frequent IMU events but will undoubtedly spark a rise in the popularity of such events.

Venue popularity increases, ticket sales skyrocket, and alcohol brings in additional profit. Thus, more performances, bigger acts, and in turn, even higher attendance. In time, the entire notion becomes one cyclical phenomenon, an exponentially positive equation.

With the obvious concern being student well-being, one has to consider the potential of the idea beyond solely making the easy and immediate correlation of "Iowa students plus more beer equals bad."

By making IMU events more appealing, the university would draw students into a centralized, controlled setting in which legal-age patrons could consume alcohol and everyone could party. Students look for three things when "going out": music, crowds, and alcohol. If properly policed and monitored, this would be a safe but nonetheless "cool" alternative to a bar scene that's gained notoriety as a black hole of drunken debauchery.

Our Big Ten fellow school the University of Wisconsin sells alcohol at its union and even offers catering for its bar service. Other universities, including the likes of Columbia, University of Virginia, and Arizona State, also permit alcohol sales at school-sponsored events. With the proper guidelines and restrictions, bar access at the IMU possesses real potential.

Tonight, for instance — when you're bouncing in the IMU ballroom amid a crowd of sweating Chris Webby fans — take a moment to think of how much better things could be with just a little bit of the good pass to go around.

— Sam Cleary

No

The University of Iowa is a dry campus. The university has a policies restricting alcohol at school-sanctioned events. The UI administration has come out, again and again, with a hard and strict stance against drinking. Every student is forced to take AlcoholEdu during her or his first semester at the university.

Wow, these all look really good on paper. And why not provide alcohol at university-sanctioned concerts? At least they will be drinking in a controlled environment.

That's like those parents who give their high schoolers beer while saying, "Well, I know they will be doing it anyway, so I would prefer them drinking in the house."

No matter how you spin it, you are still giving students access to alcohol, and you are still going to end up with a second-string quarterback allegedly punching out a window and reportedly blowing a .120 on a breath test.

Watch as people try to mask this issue in a smokescreen of economics or personal responsibility.

Yeah, legal drinkers have the capacity to consume their alcohol responsibly. If you want to get a quiet drink before a university-sanctioned event, then great. If you want to get a loud drink before a university-sanctioned event, then by all means, knock yourself out — I don't care.

But in either case, you are still going to a UI-sanctioned event, and you should expect the UI to follow through with its hard position against drinking.

Obviously, this would bring in more revenue to the university while budget cuts are being made. So, I ask the administration, how much do you want for your principles? What is the price tag on your integrity? I'm sure we could find a suitable buyer for you to auction off your values.

If the administration wants to switch the school's stance on the dry-campus policy, I would be the first person to support it. I think it would take away the "forbidden fruit" stigma alcohol has in college culture and would allow UI to put more effort into preventing underage drinking than defending a failing policy against all alcohol.

But if you have a policy, then you have to follow through with it. And if you are not going to follow through with it, don't act surprised when your national ranking of binge drinking is higher than your national ranking of academics. The end.

— Benjamin Evans


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