This article originally appeared in The Aquinian, St. Thomas University’s student newspaper, on February 11, 2019.Â
By: Haley Stairs
Proposed changes to the University of New Brunswickâ€™s alcohol policy is raising eyebrows instead of pitchers.
UNBÂ presented an update to the alcohol policy on campus during a University of New Brunswick Student Union council meeting on Jan. 27. One piece of the policy, called Community Standards, has been deemed â€œcontroversial,â€ said Richard Du, the president of UNBSU.
This includes two new rules: no caffeinated beverages will be sold in campus bars and thereâ€™s a two-drink maximum for each order.
Pitchers to be pitched out?
Pat Hanson, the operations manager at The Cellar, said heâ€™s been waiting for these proposed changes to come up since their lease was extended last year.
â€œThis is something theyâ€™ve been talking about for over 10 years now, and it kept getting pushed off and pushed off and pushed off,â€ he said.
He heard about the proposed changes about a month or two ago. He said he was meeting with administration on Feb. 6 to discuss it. The administration also reached out to the manager of the College Hill Social Club and the management of the Grad House.
â€œItâ€™ll be a much bigger pain in the ass for the staff, for sure,â€ he said.
â€œI just donâ€™t see the need for the university to take it upon themselves to add extra rules on top of the rules we already have in place.â€
Hanson wonders why this piece of the policy is called Community Standards.
â€œWhich I find funny, they [say] Community Standards. This is well before they talked to any of the students â€¦ what community are we talking about here? TheÂ community of UNBÂ administrationÂ or the community of the actual university?â€
Hanson doesnâ€™t think the administration should have the power to dictate what bars and other establishments can do on campus.
â€œNow it seems like the people that have the power at the university are the university administration and they just do whatever they want, right? And they expect the students and/or staff, faculty to just blindly follow along â€¦ the admin doesnâ€™t have any business telling adults what they can and canâ€™t do, that is legal activity,â€ he said.
Despite these potential changes to how alcohol is served on campus, Hanson doesnâ€™t believe his business will be affected.
â€œThe Cellar is not going anywhere.â€
The proposed rules would apply to any establishment on campus that serves alcohol. According to Du, the College Hill Social Club, Grad House and any events, like sports games that serve alcohol, will be affected by this policy change.
The UNB Alcohol on Campus policy was approved by the Alcohol Policy Advisory Group on Nov. 6, 1998 and was last updated on April 3, 2009. Du said the university started to update the policy in the summer and consulted the UNBSU throughout the process.
â€œThe way that we looked at it is, this is not an update to the policy, these are just brand new rules that were [slid] into this new policy,â€ said Du.
The Union believes these new rules could cause students to drink off-campus where there arenâ€™t resources for them like staff from campus bars, the Student Union Building, Residence Life, SafeWalk, SafeRide, Campus Patrol and UNB Security.
The UNBSU released a statement on their website on Jan. 31, saying it opposes the changes.
â€œWhile we strongly support a safe drinking environment on campus, we do not believe these proposed changes are a step forward towards this goal,â€ the statement read.
Mark Walma, the assistant vice-president student services, is the chair of the Alcohol Policy Review Task Group. The group was created to update the policy and primarily includes administration and students, like Du.
Walma said theyâ€™re pleased with the feedback theyâ€™ve received so far. He said theyâ€™ll review and modify the recommendations before they bring them to UNB management for approval.
â€˜You are not reducing alcohol harmsâ€™
Malory Forbes has been a server at The Cellar for two years and she believes the potential changes will make her job harder.
â€œIf I have a table of 20 people, I donâ€™t know whoâ€™s splitting with who, unless they tell me. They could say theyâ€™re splitting and drink it themselves, and Iâ€™m [liable]â€
â€œWeâ€™re all mature enough to drink on our own, let alone having a bar staff and SUB staff that know when youâ€™re done or need to stop serving you. Weâ€™re all trained here for a reason,â€ said Forbes.
According to Du, bar staff on campus are trained with Smart Serve, an alcohol training program for servers.
Wasiimah Joomun, the vice-president student life for St. Thomas University Studentsâ€™ Union, said she thinks the goal of reducing binge drinking is a good idea, but the changes to this policy are not a solution.
â€œThe approach is not a very holistic one. Just by eliminating features, you are not reducing alcohol harms on campus.â€
Joomun said STUSU wasnâ€™t consulted by administration when the policy draft was being written.
â€œI was a little bit taken aback that I saw that out there and we didnâ€™t hear anything from them,â€ she said.
â€œThey didnâ€™t even consult us about it.â€