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The right to choose, not to booze

No alcohol policy could mean big changes

By Aaron Cleavland, Times Managing Editor
On February 11, 2013

A day before he presented his case to the District Student Senate, Dr. Trevor Kubatzke, vice president of Student Services, spoke his piece with the MATC Times on the subject of his proposed alcohol policy.

     Ultimately, it was Kubatzke's decision to sign off on the "No Alcohol" policy which will disallow any student organization to consume or provide alcohol at any event, on or off campus, including out of state trips. 

Before Kubatzke signed off on the policy, he gave the Student Senate the belief that they could dissuade him by providing valid arguments as to how alcohol enhances extracurricular meetings and outings for clubs and organizations.

Kubatzke explained his point of view. "As colleges have grown, society has changed also, so the risk factors that a college takes on when they have alcohol at college events have also increased. What we [the administration] have to do to make it happen is huge; so we began talking about what alcohol at an event adds to the student experience." He added that MATC is the fifth school he's worked at and it's the only school that doesn't have an alcohol policy like this. 

Kubatzke went on to say, "When we're planning events that are educational in venue, or a learning experience, alcohol doesn't bring anything to the table. We shouldn't be planning events where the focus is alcohol so, where we are today, there really isn't a need to have alcohol at our student events."

Kubatzke is fully aware of the way this policy will be perceived, "People are going to see this as a violation of their rights. Students are going to feel like they're having something taken away from them, and we fully understand that, we really do. But, as an institution the size of MATC, we do have to put policies in place to improve the educational environment for our students. If we are having events that should require alcohol to be successful it's not an event we should be having." 

Kubatzke then candidly added, "It's like if you were going to your grandma's house and she didn't drink. You're probably not going to go in there with a case of beer."

On a larger scale, an article in The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs titled "Magnitude of Alcohol-related Mortality and Morbidity Among U.S. College Students Ages 18-24," states that, "Approximately 1,400 alcohol-related deaths, 500,000 alcohol-related unintentional injuries, and 70,000 alcohol-related sexual assaults or date rapes occur each year among college students aged 18 to 24 years."

It is true that this isn't a subject to be taken lightly; but to what extent does the policy need to be implemented? 

Rebecca Lechmaier, a member of Student Senate, opened dialogue at the Student Senate meeting, speaking from a service industry point of view, saying that vendors are willing to give great deals and perks such as extra space or comped food, knowing they will make money back in liquor sales. 

There's little in the way of profit moving in the direction of a restaurant or venue if no one is allowed to buy alcohol. It also leaves nothing in the way of tips for servers working an event, thus, creating little motivation

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