There are multiple outlets to search for events on campus and in the Tampa area for students. Of these sources, the master calendar on ut.edu is by far the easiest to access. However, this calendar has displayed hypocrisy by advertising alcohol related events that contradict the school’s strict alcohol policies. The two events that caught my attention were Cigars and Mojitos and the Tampa Bay Alumni 1920s Speakeasy Event that were both held on Friday, March 20. This was the last thing I expected to see on the school’s student calendar since generally most of the events posted relate to student organizations and other important academic dates.
The alcohol policy on campus has many different aspects that students may not be aware of. The resident assistants in each dorm briefly review the alcohol policy with their floors at the beginning of the year depending the dorm is considered “wet” or “dry.” However, not every detail is covered in this meeting and this can set students up for failure when they don’t thoroughly understand it, for instance, if certain roommates are of drinking age but others are not. The only way to know the alcohol policy in its entirety is to study Article 9 in the Student Code of Conduct or have it read to you at a conduct meeting when it’s already too late.
Furthermore, the university is strict with the alcohol policy in regards to event planning. I’ve learned through my experience that even sponsorship from an establishment that sells alcohol can be a topic of debate; the official rule being that any restaurant or bar cannot make over 50 percent of their profits from alcohol. To serve alcohol at a school event isn’t even an option worth mentioning.
The Cigars and Mojitos event is being held for the Board of Fellows and counselors but is open to the public with the event being held off campus. However, the Speakeasy event is geared towards their University of Tampa alumni and their friends taking place on campus.
Since Cigars and Mojitos is an open event held off-campus, I can understand why it is acceptable. Although if a student organization tried to host even a “Cigars and Mock Mojitos” event, I think it would be a much harder sell. On the other hand, the Speakeasy event is being held on campus in Rathskeller, a location well involved in the alcohol discussion. After contacting the Alumni Office, I discovered that the event was only open to UT alumni and their guests. I find it wrongfully placed on the master calendar rather than simply in circulation within the alumni organization.
In the midst of student-run homecoming week, an alumni barbecue, which serves alcohol, is held in front of the Sykes College of Business in plain view of many passing students. This barbecue is not promoted through the Homecoming board but instead through the Alumni Office that lists the week’s festivities. Though the interest in homecoming events increases each year, any attempt or even mention of alcohol at any other event planned by students would be improper, yet this event is held each year for all to see.
While the school continues to deter any student alcohol consumption on campus, they continue to hold and sponsor events for non-students involved in the university community revolved around alcohol. If the school would let student organizations host events similar to the speakeasy, closely monitored and in accordance with university policy, I think it would be best for both the university and students alike.
Student organizations host events all the time but are limited due to the school’s restrictions. Even for fraternity and sorority formals, they have to jump through hoops to try to get alcohol approved even after following a school-required care monitor training session to learn how to safely host an event with alcohol.
If the university created simpler, more effective rules to monitor alcohol consumption at school-sponsored events, it would deter students from breaking the rules and increase responsibility.
Katie Drake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org