Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Panel probes alcohol issues

[media-credit name=’YANA PASKOVA/Herald Photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]capitolneighborhood_yp_416[/media-credit]A three-person panel of city and University of Wisconsin officials spoke to Capitol neighborhood residents and members of the Madison community about alcohol prevention Thursday.

The panel — comprised of Mary Schauf, Madison Police central district captain; Joel Plant, Madison alcohol policy coordinator; and Susan Crowley, Policy, Alternatives, Community and Education, or PACE, director — addressed current problems and possible solutions concerning alcohol-related disturbances in the Capitol area.

"Over-consumption [of alcohol] … brings noise, vandalism and, in some cases, serious crime," Capitol Neighborhoods Program Coordinator Michael Bridgeman said.


The panel primarily focused on the issue of liquor-licensing density in downtown neighborhoods.

Schauf said that after extensive research, the high population in downtown neighborhoods could correlate with alcohol-related problems.

"We do know that crime and disorder is related to alcohol density," she said, but added, "There are only so many resources to deal with liquor density."

According to Schauf, the current density of city liquor licenses is approximately one license per 500 residents.

She also revealed a more drastic number: downtown taverns have the capacity to serve more than 12,000 people at one time.

"That's more than the population of these small towns around us," she added.

From a business perspective, Kimia Lounge bar owner Kami Eshraghi said many businesses would like to work with the neighborhood officials to deter alcohol-related disturbances.

"We can work with the police to make it a safe neighborhood," he said. "I'm sure we can have the neighborhood back without taking away from the colorful aspect that makes it a great place to live."

Plant encouraged the neighborhood to work with everyone, including city agencies, the chancellor's office, PACE and others, to brainstorm solutions to the neighborhood's concerns.

"We need to improve and summarize the issues in this neighborhood," he said. "It's a broad problem, and we need to bring all the players to the table."

Plant suggested making improvements in alcohol education to Madison residents and said that adding better enforcement in alcohol-related incidents could curb problems.

"There's no magic bullet to solve alcohol-related problems," he said. "We need to enhance the prosecution efforts so it is more likely that people with this behavior will … get punished."

As director of the campus-orientated PACE project, Crowley addressed alcohol issues related to students on campus.

"If Madison wasn't a college community, we wouldn't have these issues," she said. "We'll give students the understanding that this isn't going to be a big party school."

With a university binge-drinking rate that is nearly 20 percent higher than the national average, Crowley emphasized a need to provide alternative activities that students will actually want to attend.

Schauf also added that the police department is working to prevent student house parties from getting out of control.

"We don't want you paying your rent month to month by having a house party," she said. "We need to take away all the parts of having a house party that makes it appealing."

After the meeting, Jamie McCarville, chair of the Alcohol Issues Committee for Capitol Neighborhoods, was extremely pleased with the audience turnout.

"I'm thankful people came. Substance abuse touches everyone's lives," she said. "It's dangerous and it scares me to see people passed out on the street."

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