For the first time in 30 years, UWS may sell beer and wine in the YU

Pic­ture this: Walk­ing into the YU, buy­ing a beer for just 2 or 3 dol­lars. Sit­ting back, relax­ing, talk­ing with friends, and just hav­ing a good time before head­ing to class. Your stu­dent gov­ern­ment is cur­rently work­ing to make this dream a reality.

More than two dozen peo­ple showed up over the lunch hour on Tues­day to dis­cuss pro­posed beer and wine sales at the Jacket Java in the Yel­low­jacket Union. Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Gra­ham Garfield has been work­ing with Gail Archam­bault, direc­tor of the YU, in research­ing the idea.

The pro­posed area includes the booths along the side of Jacket Book and Sup­ply, along with the couch and chairs in front of the fire­place near Jacket Java. A’viands would pro­vide bev­er­age servers, trained to mon­i­tor indi­vid­ual alco­hol con­sump­tion. A radio would be pro­vided to ensure imme­di­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Cam­pus Safety in the event of any trou­ble. Alco­hol sales would be restricted to indi­vid­ual bot­tles of wine and beer, and legal photo ID’s would have to be pre­sented for every pur­chase. Indi­vid­u­als would only be allowed to buy one alco­holic bev­er­age at a time, reduc­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of some­one buy­ing alco­hol for some­one who is not of age. Hours would be restricted, from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., allow­ing cus­tomers to fin­ish their bev­er­age before the build­ing closed.

Sev­eral objec­tions were raised. The com­plaint most fre­quently voiced was that of stu­dents who use the pro­posed area for study­ing, because it is the qui­etest place in the YU. Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Gra­ham Garfield coun­tered that the Yel­low­jacket Union is designed to be a social place as opposed to build­ings that are designed for study­ing, like Jim Dan Hill Library and Swen­son Hall. A return objec­tion was made about the early clos­ing of the library on week­ends, and the dif­fi­culty get­ting into Swen­son after hours, caused by wait­ing for Cam­pus Safety to come let peo­ple in. Archam­bault responded, say­ing that cen­sus stud­ies showed the area beside the book store, and YU in gen­eral, had very low num­bers of users dur­ing the evening.

Another com­plaint raised was the appear­ance of sup­port­ing alco­hol use over the empha­sis on aca­d­e­mics, with one per­son say­ing that she would not have come to this school if she had known there would be alco­hol served on cam­pus. Other mem­bers of the audi­ence chimed in, say­ing that the other Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin schools that do have a “beer gar­den” type facil­ity also have much larger pop­u­la­tions. Direc­tor Kara Schmidt of the SGA responded that there is a large non-traditional pop­u­la­tion on cam­pus whose needs should be con­sid­ered also. Garfield stressed again that this space would be open to stu­dents of all ages, allow­ing for social gath­er­ings of a diverse range of people.

Crit­i­cisms were lev­eled at Pres­i­dent Garfield, ask­ing him why he was spend­ing his time on this project rather than the green ini­tia­tives that he cam­paigned on. Garfield replied that the campus-wide plan­ning com­mis­sion was being dis­cussed in Aca­d­e­mic Staff com­mit­tee, and that there were con­cerns about wind-generated power that he had not under­stood orig­i­nally, includ­ing per­mit processes and the direc­tion of the wind. Garfield expressed a desire to meet with any stu­dent who would like to talk about these ini­tia­tives dur­ing office hours.

Chan­cel­lor Wachter has asked that stu­dents weigh in on this deci­sion. All stu­dents are encour­aged to let their SGA rep­re­sen­ta­tive know their feelings.

Images cour­tesy of Kirsten Scheid — The Stinger
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