Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Wiley defends union hours at ALRC

UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley defended the union’s alcohol policies before the Alcohol License Review Committee Wednesday, denying that the Memorial Union Terrace bar contributes to alcohol abuse on campus.

Union officials have recently come under attack from local tavern hours for their extended fall semester hours, which will leave the Union bar open until 2 am.

Wiley, long known for his vocal stance against binge drinking, urged the committee to focus more specifically on the issue, and reiterated earlier statements that he is not opposed to drinking in general.

“The problem is not just drinking,” Wiley said. “It’s abusive drinking and irresponsible service.”

Wiley again condemned drinks such as the Long Island Iced Tea, which he said, “disguises alcohol content” and “sends kids to the emergency room.”

Wiley defended the new late hours of the union, which bar owners say will draw customers from them.

“They complained before because students would leave from the terrace half drunk and then puke on their floors,” he said.

Dick Lyshek, owner of Bullfeather’s and member of the ALRC, told Wiley bars are struggling to compete with the terrace.

“The only real way we can compete with this fabulous facility is with drink specials,” he said. “It’s the only position we have to compete with you.”

Wiley disagreed.

“I would encourage you to attract clients by other ways than high volumes of cheap alcohol,” he responded.

Tensions arose between the two when Wiley rebuffed Lyshek’s suggestion that union officials look into alcohol-free weekend nights at the terrace.

“You’re not putting your money where your mouth is,” Lyshek said.

“Let me tell you we are putting plenty of money where our mouth is,” Wiley said. “We’re spending a bloody fortune dealing with this problem.”

Union Director Mark Guthier said the majority of the almost 1,000 Union events are non-alcoholic.

Terrace workers also scoffed at the idea of banning alcohol on a weekend night.

“That would be the worst thing ever,” said Union Employee Justin Brown. “No one would come.”

UW’s Union became the first student union in the U.S. to offer alcohol in 1933, about 100 universities have since joined the ranks.

The meeting was the latest in a series of discussions between university officials, city council members and bar owners on how to combat binge drinking.
“I don’t think there is any one thing that’s going to solve the problem,” Wiley said. “We’re doing the best we can and taking it one step at a time.”

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