When UW Chancellor John Wiley clashed with bar owners July 10 at
an Alcohol License Review Committee meeting, he continued to bash
drink specials and defend the Union’s extended late-night hours and
$1.34 million annual alcohol sales. He reaffirmed his stance
against downtown drink specials, debating with Bullfeathers owner
Dick Lyshek, chastising bars for selling cheap liquor and failing
to provide additional entertainment besides alcohol.
This attack on drink specials and the Union?s late-night hours
is counterproductive. Banning drink specials and over-regulating
bars may only encourage more students to cram into unsupervised
house parties, which have a higher risk of injury or assault.
Still, while later hours at the Union do mean increased alcohol
sales, they also mean there will be two more hours of late-night
events for students and greater opportunity to consume and have fun
Instead of fighting over bar regulation, UW, the city and bar
owners need to start looking at different solutions — especially
ones such as providing additional entertainment venues where
drinking is not the only activity and enacting social-norm
campaigns that help dispel the notion that everyone drinks at
However, with the university and downtown bars bickering rather
than working with each other, nothing is going to get done to help
solve this campus’ drinking-related problems. And, as thousands of
new freshman start arriving with wild notions and new freedom, UW
and the city need to remember whom they are trying to help.
Freshman are the first ones who will arrive on campus with the
idea that everyone drinks at UW, and in an effort to fit in they
will be the first to pack into house parties, not know how much
they can handle and be the ones most likely to hurt themselves or
others late at night.
The university and the city meanwhile need to remember that
students are coming back in August. The ALRC’s move to put off any
decisions regarding alcohol policy until students return was a good
first step. Now UW and the bar owners need to stop fighting and
start working together to look at solutions that will actually
start to improve this campus’ drinking culture. The students need
to do their part, get involved and let UW and the city know that
just the regulation of bars is not the solution.