With a relaxation of the rules surrounding campus gatherings, Slippery Rock University (SRU) has issued double the number of alcohol permits compared to the previous year.
So far, SRU has issued 23 alcohol permits in 2021 with a majority approved since the beginning of the summer. Last year, the university issued 11.
2020 also saw a shutdown of the campus in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight of the approved permits were for events to be held after the shutdown.
The Rocket received the permits for 2020 and 2021 from the university through records requests. Records going back to at least 2018 could not be provided by the university.
Alcohol permits are provided to faculty and staff for events at no cost with individuals from outside the university having to pay $10.
According to the permits, many of the staff-hosted events that serve alcohol revolve around alumni functions.
This past homecoming weekend saw six approved permits for alumni events totaling more than 700 expected guests. While not every permit application disclosed the exact amount of alcohol to be served, most said they would have enough to serve one to two drinks per person attending.
Along with different events across campus providing alcohol, SRU hosted its regularly scheduled tailgate for The Rock Football home game. The university has its own policy when it comes to tailgating.
Those participating in tailgating activities can only do so three hours prior to the start time and will be charged $10 per vehicle. Pedestrians wishing to tailgate will not be charged a fee but must have their alcohol in a cooler.
Participants are only allowed to drink beer or wine from 12-ounce cans or cups. Liquor, kegs and devices such as beer bongs are not allowed. Selling and reselling of alcohol is not allowed either.
Inside Mihalik-Thompson Stadium, alcohol consumption is not allowed except in the area known as the President’s Tent. Run by the University Advancement Office, the tent provides food, along with beer and wine.
“The (President’s) Tent provides the university president with a place to entertain guests and donors of the Rock Athletic Club,” said Dennis Washington, vice president of university advancement.
Donors of $500 or more are provided with access to the tent and tickets to the game. Food is provided by Aramark, the university’s vendor for the campus.
As for the beer and wine provided, that is paid for by donations, according to Roberta Page, the athletics chair. The department works with Slippery Rock’s North Country Brewing Company to provide beer, said Page. She was unaware of how much the department spends on alcohol or receives in donations for those purchases.
The athletics department does receive funding through the Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SRSGA) but, according to SRSGA Vice President of Finance Sydney Rezzetano, none is used for the tent. SRSGA policy also prohibits the use of funds for alcohol, Rezzetano said.
Despite allowing those with a permit to host events and serve alcohol, SRU prohibits students, even those of legal age, from possessing or consuming alcohol unless at permitted events. Students caught with alcohol on campus will receive a written warning and have to attend an alcohol and other drug (AOD) program. A second offense would result in disciplinary probation and again attending the AOD program. The third violation would result in suspension from the university for at least one semester.
A review of Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities’ alcohol policies found only two allow students to drink in their dorms.
Clarion University allows those of legal age to drink in its Reinhard Villages. Those dorms allow for two or four students to live together.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania also allows students to drink in their apartment style residence halls.
Both universities state that it is against its code of conduct to share alcohol with those that are not of age.
The University of Pittsburgh also allows students of legal drinking age to possess and drink alcohol in their dorm rooms.
Slippery Rock University was able to provide some data on student alcohol violations. Data provided by Patrick Beswick, director of residence life, showed the university had issued 288 furnishing alcohol to minors violations since 2013. During that same period, 712 underage violations were issued.