A proposal is pending before the president and board of trustees to allow the sale and use of alcohol for special events in the new Student Center third floor banquet hall.
In addition to this alteration to the social structure of the University of La Verne, this prospect implies a school alcohol policy change, allowing for a wet campus.
Phil Hawkey, executive vice president, expects to draft an official proposal to be presented before the president before March of next year.
“The policy will be simple: It will say that alcohol is not allowed on campus except for events that receive special approval from the president or by another designated officer,” Hawkey said.
Chip West, assistant dean of capitol projects, has been working to raise the issue of alcohol in the Student Center.
“With the opening of the Student Center, the timing of the alcohol policy change is perfect,” West said.
According to West, the question of whether to integrate alcohol on campus has been discussed previously in Student Affairs, the department West served in as assistant dean of student affairs and director of student life until summer 2008.
“As of right now, the policy change would not include selling alcohol to students on campus,” West said.
Before bringing the policy change to the Board of Trustees, several accounts of safety and legality must be taken into consideration.
“First, we must have an understanding on liabilities and safety issues,” Morgan said. “Conditions that would be subject to change would include the involvement with La Verne Police regarding safety and the school’s insurance policy.”
“We don’t want to jeopardize anyone’s safety,” Morgan said.
Hawkey, who will draft the proposal sometime after Jan. 1, claimed that the insurance issue is not complicated. “It looks like we will have the latitude to make change since alcohol will only be sold in limited events,” Hawkey said.
Furthermore, the concern of licensing is a questionable area, since Sodexo is the school’s catering provider.
According to District Manager Diane Keate, Sodexo does not provide a license to regularly sell alcohol, so ULV would have to purchase a license in order to have beer and wine available at all hours in the Student Center.
However, Hawkey believes that Sodexo might modify this policy so that it would provide the license, not the school.
Another issue to address is the impact of having alcohol on campus. “We would need to find out the exact responsibilities of having alcohol on campus,” Morgan said.
Once all of the legal and safety issues are understood, West said he is optimistic that the availability of alcohol could attract more people.
“We’re hoping to host as many events at the Center as possible, drawing from within and outside the school,” West said. “It would be a good source of extra revenue.”
According to West, the Hanawalt House is another location that may possibly serve alcohol since, when its fire damage renovation is finished late spring, it will be another prominent location for University Relations events.
“People want to see the new buildings utilized,” Morgan said. “The school would have a broader appeal if it could welcome outside events.”
Presently, ULV holds a dry campus policy that has been a byproduct of the Church of the Brethren.
Morgan notes the relationship but also recognizes the changing times.
“The Hillcrest Retirement Homes in La Verne, who also have an affiliation with the Church, now serve alcohol,” Morgan said. “That bridge has been passed.”
If the proposal is approved by Morgan and the Board of Trustees, it is then a question as to when this will expand to students on the campus.
“If it’s going to be a wet campus for events, then it should extend to students,” said senior political science major Krystle Martinez. “The school might as well see the process through.”
West said he hopes that if the policy is changed, it could start a “domino effect” of progress, which one day might include selling alcohol to students.
Nevertheless, he said the incorporation of students in the picture is far in the future, as the original proposal has not even been formally introduced.
Martinez explained that offering alcohol on campus might lessen safety risks for students, since they would not be driving home from bars or off campus school events where alcohol is served.
“Students drink and sometimes do so in unsafe ways, so if alcohol were allowed on campus for students, it would be a better way to control the students,” Martinez said.
Lesley Michaels can be reached at email@example.com.