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Alcohol policy to expand

The Board of Governors approved to extend policies on the use and sales of alcohol on campus at Missouri Western.

Instead of just adding a few more locations to the existing policy, the Board of Governors decided there may be allowances for the use and sale of alcohol across the entire campus in any facility except for in the parking lots and in the residence halls.

Western had been a dry campus up until April 29, 2008. At that point, alcohol could be served in the Fulkerson Center, the Enright Room of the Spratt Hall and the Kit Bond Incubator.

Following that, the alcohol policy was amended on June 24, 2010. This change allowed serving of alcohol at the food court tent and the Kansas City Chief’s VIP hospitality areas, as well as at special events and practice during the Kansas City Chiefs training camp.

Two months later on Aug. 26, 2010, the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex was added to that policy.

That was the last time any changes have been made to that alcohol policy document, despite more and more requests to fulfill people’s wishes to serve alcohol at special events, President Dr. Robert Vartabedian.

One such reason is that former board members are being invited to an event called “The Board Emeriti Reception and Reunion.”

“We have about 40 surviving members of the past 30 or so years who are no longer members, but still very interested in the university,” Vartabedian said. “We thought we would invite them back for a nice dinner and perhaps serve wine, then possibly have them view a planetarium show to experience some of the fruits of their labors over the years as board members.”

They want to have this event in the Remington Atrium. Currently that is a location where alcohol is not allowed.

In an attempt to get this issue resolved, the alcohol policy was brought up at a recent board retreat. Five new areas were asked to be added to the current policy.

“At the board retreat, they said they would rather leave it more open-ended than that,” Vartabedian said. “They would like to recommend any facility on campus, other than parking lots and residence halls, could under proper conditions have alcohol for primarily 21 and older events as long as they followed the proper procedure.”

That procedure involves sending a request 30 days ahead of time, going through an approval committee and ultimately going through Vartabedian before final approval is given.

Vartabedian pointed out that in the four and a half years alcohol has been allowed on this campus, there hasn’t been a single incidence. That could have made the board feel a bit more comfortable with opening up the alcohol policy.

Renovations to the Stadium Club are needed and those renovations really have a lot to do with alcohol being sold or served, Vartabedian explained.

“It’s certainly not as nice a facility as most of the other MIAA schools have for a stadium club or VIP suite press club,” Vartabedien said.

In order to get companies interested in making large investments to Western and purchase new suites, Vartabedian said it would be a lot easier by saying that the board has already approved alcohol use. So if your company wants a luxury suite and is willing pay the money to get it, the board has already approved alcohol use, he said.

“It’s not necessarily the money we are going to generate from alcohol that is going towards building those suites,” Athletic Director Kurt McGuffin said. “The idea is that most places that have suites or clubs in sporting arenas or stadiums offer alcohol for those patrons who can afford to have suites and clubs.”

The Board of Governors’ plans are to entice large companies to invest money in luxury press-type boxes at sports events.

“Most of the time these suites will be on an annual basis between $7,500 and $10,000 a year,” McGuffin said. “Our plan is to build 12 suites, a total of 200 club seats.”

In addition to the policy generating funds for the suites, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeanne Daffron feels that amending the policy will be a positive thing for the campus and not something to make the university appear unprofessional.

“The alcohol’s very controlled and not for students, it’s not like there is going to be big keg parties,” Daffron said. “It’s not that kind of environment at all. So I do want to be sure, that if there is a potential of people not understanding, then it definitely needs to be cleared up.”

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