Cal Poly’s alcohol policy is not as straightforward as some might think. In an effort to preserve the image of a dry university campus and still offer alcohol, Cal Poly’s alcohol policies have become increasingly flexible as time goes on.
When a random poll was conducted of Cal Poly students about the university’s alcohol policies for the past month, 140 out of 200 respondents (some under the age of 21) did not know the correct policies or in what terms alcohol was acceptable, if at all, on campus.
“Cal Poly is a dry campus,” political science senior Courtney Jensen said. “You might be able to have alcohol at administrative functions but I am not 100 percent sure.”
According to university policies, the only way alcohol can be present on campus is if it is approved by the president.
There are many events the president approves alcohol for, such as at sports games or Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) events.
Take me out to the ball game … to drink
For several years, sporting events, or other special occasions, have received approval by the president to serve alcohol. Most recently, alcohol was approved to be served in a fenced off area at the Cal Poly tennis team’s home match on March 6, 2011.
Philip Webb, the associate director of athletics, said this event included a wine tasting for booster club members only.
“This event was approved under the conditions and restrictions that apply to similar events such as: fenced off areas that only Tennis Booster Club Members can enter, all participants being 21 and up with proof of identification, etc.,” Webb said.
There were many regulations to follow in order to get approval.
Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong’s chief of staff Matthew Roberts said students were not allowed to attend the wine tasting event, only booster club members. Webb also said that, technically, membership for booster clubs is open to all. However, the cost varies based on the benefits an individual wants to receive. If a student wanted to be a booster member, they technically could. Other Cal Poly sports such as football, baseball and basketball all follow the same rules when it comes to serving alcohol.
Even though alcohol has been present at sporting events for a long time, other areas on campus are starting to serve alcohol as well.
These areas must undergo the same process that sporting events do.
“The PAC sometimes serves alcohol at specific events, but again, these events must be passed by the president,” Roberts said.
Sports and entertainment facilities on campus have always been allowed to have alcohol with the president’s approval, Roberts said; however, there are some new areas on campus that have recently changed their alcohol policies.
Welcome to the alcohol family
There are several places on campus that serve alcohol students don’t generally know about.
Executive director of university housing Preston Allen said the Cal Poly Housing office tries to offer the most diverse housing possible by keeping up with new trends and age groups.
He said when PCV was opened it was a “whole new ball game.” PCV houses everyone from freshmen to 30 and 40-year-olds.
“With such a wide range in age groups, we have to expand our offerings,” Allen said. “There are 27 apartments, out of 614, where all students are over 21 years old.”
In order to adapt to the older students’ needs, the housing office decided upon regulations for PCV.
“If all of the students in a specific apartment are 21 or older, they can choose to sit down with their coordinator of student development as a collective and discuss alcohol policies and safety,” Allen said. “They talk about outcomes, alcohol abuse, effective communication, clear behavior guidelines and choices and consequences if rules are violated.”
Aside from the normal alcohol regultions, in PCV students are not allowed to consume alcohol from any common source.
“This includes having a ‘kegger’ or a bowl of alcoholic punch,” Allen said.
Allen also said there have not been many alcohol related problems in PCV, which is why they continue to allow the special alcohol policies to exist.
PCV is not the only place on campus where students can enjoy an alcoholic beverage.
The presence of alcohol at Cal Poly’s Sage Restaurant is also relatively recent.
“Sage only serves alcohol at special events that are approved, just like everywhere else on campus,” Roberts said.
However, Campus Dining marketing and public relations manager Yukie Nishinaga contradicted Robert’s statement.
“Sage has a wine and beer menu available at dinner to absolutely anyone who is 21 or older, including students,” Nishinaga said.
With Cal Poly approving more situations where alcohol can be present, some students are starting to get frustrated with all of the pressures against drinking.
Some students are confused with the rules and regulations dealing with alcohol, and the approval process.
Cal Poly’s greek system is an example of a group of students affected by these policies.
Construction management senior Sean Jordan is the internal social chair for the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Jordan was Phi Psi’s president last year and dealt with university pressures on the use of alcohol, hazing and partying.
“It obviously has something to do with the negative stigma toward greeks,” Jordan said. “Sports and PAC events make money for the school, so it seems that they are held to a different standard.”
Jordan said he doesn’t blame the university for rewarding organizations that benefit the university, especially since they see the greek system as a huge risk.
Despite student concerns, Roberts said Cal Poly is trying to assure students it is a still a dry campus.
“I attended Cal Poly in 1979, and the rules were the same then as they are now,” Roberts said. “Cal Poly is a dry campus, especially if you compare it to other schools such as, UC Davis.”