UI students open to idea of 19 for bars


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There have been heated debates, aggressive campaigns, and various statistics in the days leading up to the Nov. 5 election, when Iowa City residents will once again vote on the fate of the 21-ordinance.

The city implemented the ordinance was in 2010; it prohibits people under the age of 21 from being in bars after 10 p.m., with several establishments (mainly restaurants and music venues) having exemptions.

As the law entered its third year in 2013, The Daily Iowanwas curious about where University of Iowa students stand on the issue. While some are firm about keeping things the way they are, others push for change.

The DI interviewed 20 UI students, five from each class level. Only two believed the law should not be repealed; both are 21.


Mayson Vernon

“There are pros and cons to both sides. Right now, the ordinance is hurting businesses, so I think it should be changed to help that out.”

Jami Zangwill

“I think a 19-and-up rule would be safer for students, because when underage people leave the bars [with the current rule] they cause raucousness on the streets.”

Lauren Graeb

“I feel like students just find other places to go once the bars close at 10. People are still drinking even after 10.”

Nate Howard

“I think if it is repealed, there will be more revenue for bars and better enjoyment for people under 21. But I think 21-year-olds will be annoyed, and more enforcement will be needed downtown.”

Evan Eck

“I think that it would definitely be better for Iowa in general, and the bars would make more money. If people aren’t at the bars, they’re out at parties. Bars aren’t the only way to get intoxicated.”


Amanda Stout

 “I think people are going to get wasted no matter what the law is.”

Shawna Grittmann

“If you’re in a bar with your friends who are 21 and really drunk, and you have to get removed at 10, who’s going to be there to help your friends? If you left four hours ago, there is no longer a designated person.”

Lucas Sperfslage

“I am not too concerned about the ordinance because I don’t go to bars, ever. But if it is repealed, I think there will be more business downtown.”

Blake Robinson

“[Officials] are pretty much saying there is a maturity-level gap from age 20 to age 21, and suddenly when you turn 21, you have the ability to handle being in bars past 10. I really don’t think that gap is there.”

Katherine Forst

“It’s not like residents under 21 leave the bars and go home. They go to a house party to continue drinking. Whether we like it or not, the ‘crazy Downtown Iowa City’ atmosphere will remain.”


Lauren Aguilar

“As long as I’ve been here, it’s been in place, and I really haven’t had a problem with it. I never went to the bars until I turned 21, and I think everyone else should wait, too. There are plenty of other things to do on the Iowa campus. It’s not all about the drinking.”

Bradley Mautz

“I believe that we should repeal [the ordinance] because it forces students to go off campus, and that leads to more unsafe drinking.”

Matt Hasakis

“I really don’t think the scene downtown will change if the ordinance is repealed. It will create a safer environment for underage drinkers than house parties would.”

Michael Matthews

“[The ordinance] is a way for Iowa City cops to get a lot of revenue through tickets that they might not otherwise get. The University of Iowa appears to be more of a party school based on how many tickets there are.”

Charlie Hettrick

“Bars are a public place, and staying after 10 p.m. doesn’t make that much difference. I also think house parties have the potential to be a little rougher than the bars.”


Megan Cerney

“The biggest thing is that in a bar setting, to a certain extent, there is more regulation of alcohol.”

Nicholas Lopez

“It seems as if the 21-ordinance promotes more off-campus house parties that can lead to dangerous situations where individuals may be too scared of consequences from contacting 911.”

Sam Whelan

“The ordinance might keep underage people away from the bars, but it definitely doesn’t stop them from drinking.”

Brianna Sudrla

“I think the ordinance is fine the way it is. If it gets changed, there will be lines outside of bars, and I think that the bars will lose a lot of their older crowd. They will then gain a younger crowd who are illegally drinking.”

Genna Brierton

“Being 21 now, I don’t really mind the ordinance, but when I was younger, it was not fun. I don’t think it’s a bad idea that they’re trying to change it at all. Downtown will be more crowded, but I don’t think there will be change in a negative way.”

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