New alcohol policy to take effect

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The Spectrum

A new policy was passed by the Student Association Tuesday, allowing clubs on campus to serve alcohol at their events upon approval by the SA and UB administration.

With growing concern among campus organizations regarding the previous alcohol ban that prohibited the serving of alcohol at any club event, SA decided that a new policy was necessary.

"As the number of under-the-table events with an open or cash bar rose, we decided to propose an alcohol policy with the university that would outline the regulations under which a club can serve alcohol," said Ernesto Alvarado, SA president. "Discussions went on during the year to determine a concrete plan. It will now be part of SA's internal policy controls."

Under the new policy, alcohol can only be served at formal and semi-formal receptions, where additional security and transportation is to be provided. With the exception of Holiday Gala, Spring Gala and Commencement Celebration, all alcohol is to be served from a cash bar.

"Our major concern was that clubs were going to find ulterior ways to get past the alcohol policy and serve alcohol without the knowledge of the administration or SA," Alvarado said.

In addition to the policy, SA will work with Student Affairs to develop a list of approved banquet facilities for clubs to choose from, because clubs that desire to hold after-parties at bars or nightclubs will not be approved by SA.

The new policy will require clubs that desire to serve alcohol to submit a proposal by the second week of October, which will then be reviewed by the SA and the UB administration for approval.

According to the previous ban, alcohol was prohibited at every SA and club event, with the exception of Holiday and Spring Gala. This greatly affected clubs that held fundraisers at bars.

"I know a lot of clubs were really upset about [the ban] because [events with alcohol] brought in a lot of money, and it also dropped interest levels in their clubs," said Elyse Brown, a junior history major.

Brown does not understand the point of allowing alcohol at some events, such as semi-formal and formal gatherings, but not others.

"They're cutting an entire group of people from doing [bar] fundraisers," Brown said. "Either remove alcohol from being … allowed or allow it."

Some organizations have encountered financial difficulties since the ban was put into effect this past year, so many club leaders are thankful to hear that the complete ban on alcohol has been removed.

"We, as a club, can be responsible when it comes to alcohol … and I'm sure there are other clubs that feel the same way about this," said Aurora Abousaid, secretary of the Organization of Arabs. "I'm glad the alcohol policy got passed, because this will help us a lot for the upcoming year, in terms of being able to fundraise and perhaps increase our club's budget … We were not able to have as many events or do as much as we wanted because it was financially difficult [with the ban]."

A junior member of the SA Environmental Network, who asked to remain anonymous, is a part of an organization that does not participate in formal or semi-formal gatherings, so she remains unaffected.

"I know it stunk when they [put the ban] into effect…[Our club] did bar fundraisers a couple times a year, and we made decent money from that, " said the member. "It won't affect [our club] now because we still can't fundraise [that way]."

The junior member understands that safety is a major concern, which is another reason why alcohol is being limited to cash bars at large events. However, in her experience, formal and semi-formal events pose a more serious safety threat when it comes to drinking and driving.

Alvarado believes the policy will increase club participation and strengthen the relationship with alumni, who contribute donations and invest in the school. He also believes the policy will establish a better relationship with UB officials.

"I think this is a great common ground that was reached by UB administration and the Student Association," Alvarado said.

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com

Additional reporting by Jennifer Harb, Life Editor