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Cal Poly is a dry campus — unless you’re in Krukow’s Klubhouse, having dinner at Sage, attending a reception at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center or are in another situation that falls under a number of exceptions to Cal Poly’s alcohol policy.
But that policy is evolving. In October 2013, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and university officials began considering the possibility of opening a pub on campus. Some of the president’s recent comments indicate he looks favorably on the idea.
“I think by 2022 we’ll at least be building a pub,” Armstrong said at a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) meeting on April 24.
Despite the president’s comments, there are currently no specific plans to build a pub on campus, said university spokesman Matt Lazier, who characterized the president’s comments as being off the cuff.
Though there is no official plan to build a pub on Cal Poly’s campus, the alcohol policy that would bar such a venue is currently being revised. An ad-hoc committee of campus administrators, staff, police and student representatives is currently revising Cal Poly’s alcohol policy, according to Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Jason Colombini.
The current policy revision will not make any recommendation about opening a pub, but the policy is likely to allow the possibility of one opening, should the campus decide it wants it, Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance Stan Nosek said.
Cal Poly’s current alcohol policy says “possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on the campus is prohibited.” Now, the university president may grant exceptions to this rule.
Matthew Roberts, the director of administrative compliance services, who sits on the committee, said updating Cal Poly’s alcohol policy is part of a broader effort to update the policies and procedures governing the university.
The updated policy may not have an immediately obvious effect on students, but it will change the current uses of alcohol on campus from exceptions to authorized uses, Roberts said.
For example, Cal Poly’s wine and viticulture program is currently treated as an exception to the policy. When the policy was made in the 1970s, administrators didn’t imagine Cal Poly would ever have a wine program. The alcohol policy needs to be updated to reflect and authorize these changes, Roberts said.
A basic draft policy that incorporates and authorizes all current uses of alcohol on campus has been written, and committee members have been asked to submit comments and suggestions for the new policy.
Colombini has submitted a revision to the policy that would allow students to bring one alcoholic drink from off campus onto campus, as long as they brought it with a meal. This could be the most obvious change to students who aren’t involved in clubs or planning events on campus, Colombini said.
Comments from committee members are still being reviewed, and it is too early to say what will make it into the final draft, Roberts said.
University Police Department (UPD) Chief George Hughes is representing UPD on the committee. Hughes said he doesn’t envision a revised policy resulting in more problems with alcohol on campus.
“A well-written policy will make it easier to monitor and regulate alcohol use on campus,” Hughes said.
Any revised policy will still fall under state and federal laws including not being intoxicated or having an open container in public, Hughes said.
Changing or updating a policy at Cal Poly is a multi-step process, Roberts said. First, a committee is assembled t0 create a draft policy. The alcohol policy revision is currently in this stage. Then another committee reviews the draft, making sure it is consistent with other policies and that it was created with due diligence.
After that, the policy is posted for 30 days of public comment. Lawyers also review the policy during this time, Roberts said.
Once the public comment period is over and comments are incorporated as necessary, the policy is submitted to the President’s Office for approval.
The committee will have its next meeting May 12, Colombini said, and another iteration of the draft will be reviewed then. If members are in agreement, the draft could move to the next step of review, Colombini said.
If the committee decides further discussion about the policy is necessary, another meeting will be scheduled, Colombini said.
Roberts said it would probably take six months before a final policy is created.
The revision of the alcohol policy came to students’ attention when campus officials raised the possibility of opening a pub.
A pub on campus would have to go through the standard process of review and approval that Cal Poly Corporation carries out when it adds a business to campus, Colombini said.
Though he does not have any official influence over whether a pub will be built on campus or where it would be located, Colombini did say he envisions a “Powerhouse Pub.” Colombini would like to see the currently abandoned powerhouse building, which sits adjacent to Student Services, put to use. The building is one of the oldest on campus, having been completed in the early 1900s.