Urbana council okays campus alcohol sales

By Brittney Foreman

Urbana City Council passed an ordinance that will allow University-related organizations to hold liquor licenses. This ordinance is geared toward organizations like the Alumni Association which host events and banquets at the University. The requirement is that the organization be a certified nonprofit corporation and a University-related organization as defined in the University guidelines. According to the student code, University-related organizations include University foundations, athletic organizations, alumni associations and corporate outgrowths. According to the ordinance, a University-related organization can sell alcoholic beverages by-the-drink for consumption on University-owned property.

The board also passed an ordinance that will allow the liquor commissioner, Mayor Laurel Prussing, the “authority to revoke liquor licenses due to riotous or uncontrolled civil unrest.” This ordinance gives police the ability to call the mayor protem, Danielle Chynoweth, in the middle of the night and request the right to evoke a 24-hour suspension on an establishment’s sale of alcohol. A written documentation of the action would take place on the following business day.

Questions arose from the board about how this ordinance would relate to events like the Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day in which officials might want to pre-close an event to avoid a previously-seen problem. Assistant City Attorney Ron O’Neal pointed out the possibility for such measures, saying that the ordinance is designed to protect public welfare in a minimally invasive way. The board recognized the sensitivity with which such decisions would be made. The council also said decisions would still be made in an amount of time necessary to give the public proper notice.