Student Government: SG asks USF to reconsider ‘O’ Brady’s alcohol policy

Student Government took a stand against USF’s new alcohol policy Tuesday, suggesting the University take substantial student input into consideration before deciding any additional policies regarding the sale of alcohol on campus.

SG senate passed a resolution Tuesday aimed at opening dialogue between the student body and the University administration concerning the school’s alcohol policy. The resolution represents the opinion of the student body, its co-author Sen. Ralph Reid said.

A controversial decision by the administration to limit when alcohol can be served at the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s on campus has spurred protest from some students.

The resolution states that because Florida law does not ban selling alcohol on a college campus — and because other Florida universities serve alcohol on their campuses — the administration should reconsider its decision. According to the document, the alcohol policy is directed toward the faculty and staff, not the students.

USF spokesman Michael Hoad said the policy is directed toward both students and employees.

The statute states: “No employee/student is to report to work/class while under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. Any University of South Florida employee or student determined to have violated this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action for misconduct.”

The resolution’s stance accurately represents the student body, based on comments on the Oracle Web site, e-mails from students to senators and the popularity of a Facebook group advocating a petition against the policy, Reid said.

The resolution is a vehicle for compromise on the alcohol policy, he said.

“To pick an arbitrary time without any student input is unfair,” Reid said. He added that he hopes this resolution will prompt SG and the administrators to discuss a more appropriate time to start serving alcohol.

So far, the administration has been unavailable to discuss the issue, Reid said.

Hoad said the University has received a request from SG to discuss the issue and plans to respond.

When ‘O’ Brady’s opened in the Marshall Student Center on Aug. 20, it could serve alcohol all day. On Sept. 2, President Judy Genshaft restricted the sale of beer and wine on weekdays to after 6 p.m.

Genshaft made the decision in accordance with USF’s alcohol policy, which does not allow students and faculty to drink before work or class.

Last week, former SG employee James Callihan sent an e-mail to Genshaft stating that he had started a Facebook petition against the decision. SG used the popularity of this group to support its stance on the policy.

Hoad said Student Affairs Vice President Jennifer Meningall is writing a response to Callihan.

SG’s resolution passed with a 27-7 vote, but some senators argued against the idea.

Sen. Charles Sherrard said serving alcohol should not be a part of USF’s prestige.

“When we talk about the qualities of our University, it shouldn’t be about when we serve beer,” he said.

A Facebook group isn’t an accurate representation of student opinion, Sen. Willie Wright said, since it has only about 2,000 of the more than 46,000 students enrolled at the University.

“You can’t base all your information solely on (a social network),” he said.

Other senators said their support of the resolution is based on principle. Sen. Daniel Shelnutt said the University is not treating students like adults.

“It’s not (their) responsibility to be our babysitter,” he said. “It’s not (their) responsibility to tell us when to drink.”

Sen. Benjamin Brown said the policy is “misguided, misdirected and misinformed.”

The next step is to bring this resolution to the administration to discuss a different restriction time, Reid said.