EDITORIAL & OPINIONS
Alcohol seems to be giving the University Students’ Council a perpetual
hangover this year.
In September, the USC was forced to eliminate the Wet/Dry Program after a
couple underage students were caught drinking in The Wave by the Alcohol and
Gaming Commission of Ontario.
The new year has brought with it another problem, one that likely affects
more students. After looking for a new insurance package (as student unions
are doing at many other universities), the USC found one, but it is stuck paying
twice the amount for insurance as it did last year while getting a lot less
Unable to get full liquor liability coverage, council is forcing clubs to
hold any events involving alcohol at The Spoke or The Wave (the two on campus
bars it owns, which for the organization is perhaps the one convenient part
of this mess) unless the clubs can get their own event-specific insurance coverage
or coverage under another venue’s policy.
Clearly, something has to be done.
Clubs are not interested in only having alcohol-related events at The Spoke
or The Wave, and we would not be surprised to see a lot of events go underground.
USC general manager Mark Sellars warned club presidents yesterday that organizers
of any unapproved alcohol-related events would be held personally liable if
anything were to go wrong. But when one president asked what the consequences
would be if a club held a dry event at a bar and someone had a drink, it was
obvious what his real question was: how can we get around the rules?
It is difficult to attack the USC for this problem. Sept. 11 and a bumpy economy
have wreaked havoc on the insurance industry, and insurers aren’t interested
in providing alcohol liability coverage to (high risk) student groups.
It is much easier to blame lawyers and the court system. If we didn’t
live in a society where a venue or organizer of a party gets blamed after some
moron drinks and drives and gets killed, this wouldn’t be an issue. In
an ideal world, individuals would be responsible for their own actions.
But this isn’t an ideal world. And further, not everyone follows the
rules. The more “underground” events get, the more dangerous they
If something bad does happen because a club circumvents the Alcohol Policy,
it will likely be because someone didn’t want to be bothered trying to
get event-specific insurance or jump through the bureaucratic hoops.
The Gazette is calling on the USC and the university to do everything they
can to deal with the situation. We also call on club organizers to jump through
the hoops until the situation betters itself, unless you’d like to risk
your own bank accounts (and more) on throwing an unauthorized pub.