Students react to legislation intended to limit liquor sales

By Liam Rinehart

After two years of information gathering and debate, the Liquor Advisory Commission came to the Champaign City Council on Tuesday with suggestions to revamp Champaign’s liquor laws. If they are adopted, it will change the way many campus bars sell their products. With the proposed legislations, it will take two people to buy a pitcher of beer, “buckets” will be limited to 64 ounces, or five beers, and the 1.5 liter size of wine bottles will be illegal to sell in bars.

The proposed shift was the result of public health and safety concerns from the Liquor Advisory Commission and the University about “Wine Night,” a weekly special at a campus bar.

However, those on campus seem to have a different outlook on the issue.

“Adding more rules won’t necessarily help because a lot of the time existing rules are not exactly enforced,” said Valerie Enriquez, a University alumna.

The real problem seems to lie in the enforcement of laws already on the books.

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    “Granted I’m 21, but for example, sometimes I don’t get carded when I order drinks,” Enriquez said.

    John Nguyen, senior in LAS, agreed.

    “What they need to work on is enforcement of the existing laws,” he said.

    Those on the Champaign City Council seem to have a grasp on the problem. Speaking to Sgt. Scott Friedlein of the Alcohol Enforcement Unit, Councilman Tom Bruno expressed wishes that alcohol issues were not as big of a deal on campus. He said that, were it not for the alcohol problems, the sergeant could be reassigned to something of bigger importance like the muggings and burglaries around town.

    “The solution to every problem is not more legislation,” said Bruno.

    Students were in agreement with the council, which voted down much of the proposed legislation but will have to look at it again since two councilmembers were absent.

    “People will always figure out ways to get around the laws,” said Enriquez. “I mean, if people want to get drunk, there will be little to stop them.”

    Speaking in front of the Council, KAM’S owner Eric Meyer echoed similar sentiments.

    “We need to see that (the laws) are followed,” he said. “I don’t think we need to kill the atmosphere.”

    Another issue raised by the Liquor Advisory Commission was the existence of ‘shot girls’ and the potential for problems with pre-made shots.

    “I can see about the shot girls because they come to you,” said Jason Goodpaster, senior in Engineering. “But when you buy a pitcher you still have to go up to the bartender. There is at least a connection there.”

    Overall, many felt that the proposed legislation was just another attempt to control the drinking habits of college students.

    “Champaign should not infringe on our privilege to drink when we are of age,” said Nguyen. “If you’re legal it shouldn’t matter.”