Wet/Dry at other campus bars
By Anton Vidgen
The double cohort has forced Ontario colleges and universities to proactively and reactively deal with a deluge of problems, but perhaps none so troubling as the rise in illegal underage drinking in campus bars.
About 10 years ago, the newly-created Wet/Dry program was seen as a progressive and inclusive model for further engaging underage students in the campus social scene, said University Students' Council President Paul Yeoman. Seeing the benefits of allowing underage students into campus bars, other Ontario universities followed suit and instituted their own programs designed to allow underagers to enjoy the campus bar scene.
Prompted by an inspection by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario which found underage students drinking in The Wave this past Friday, the USC immediately suspended its Wet/Dry program, effectively barring underagers from entering campus bars after 9 p.m..
Yeoman said the Wet/Dry program has simply run its course and that, as a result of the AGCO's inspection, the USC is now reviewing possible changes or alternatives to the underage policy, though he asked students not to throw out their Wet/Dry cards as no final decision has been reached.
Regardless of the outcome, Yeoman said efforts will continue to be made to include underagers in all events. "The USC's not going to abandon everyone who's under 19 with regards to social programming."
Other Ontario universities have felt similar pressures in accommodating underage students in campus bars.
Tyler Turnbull, the food operations manager of Queen's Pub at Queen's University, said there have been no real problems with underage drinking but attributes that to the bar's policy of banning underagers from all campus bars for three years if they are caught illegally drinking.
However, Queen's Pub was caught with an over-capacity crowd by the AGCO last St. Patrick's Day and was penalized by being prohibited to sell alcohol for 12 days in November, Turnbull added.
So far, Brock University Students' Union has had no incidents aside from turning away intoxicated students on all-ages nights from its campus bars, said liquor services manager Rob Morosin. "There could be glitches somewhere along the way," he noted.
"We're keeping a pretty close tab on the issue," said Robert Woods, operations manager for the University of Guelph's University Centre. He said a visible police presence on campus has deterred students from attempting to drink illegally.
Joseph Robertson, general manager of the Thirsty Scholar at the University of Windsor, said the strictly-enforced wristband policy has kept things in check but acknowledged underagers continue to try and beat the system. "In the pub we had maybe five or six underagers getting slipped drinks," he said.
Some universities have even resorted to capping the total amount of underagers in the bar. The McMaster Students' Union has placed a limit of 50 students per night in Quarters, a campus bar. "That's the amount we feel like we're vigilant enough to keep an eye on," said Quarters manager Ismael Viegas.