Alcohol returns to UNF

Julia Croston, Managing Editor

With Interim President Pam Chally’s signature, the University of North Florida has updated its alcohol guidelines to bring back tailgating and alcohol on campus starting Monday. Tailgating was initially suspended in Feb. 2018, after a student was sent to the hospital for drinking too much. Spinnaker spoke with Student Body President Selma Besirevic about the finalized alcohol guidelines.

On Aug. 23, 2018, the alcohol policies were revised to also prohibit alcohol consumption at student events. This ban included the traditional Ozzie’s Oktoberfest celebration that would serve alcohol to students 21 and older. Besirevic hopes the tradition can be reinstated because she believes it was something one of the traditions UNF was known for. 

When running for student body president, Besirevic said the other candidates believed her goal to bring back tailgating was “unachievable” and “impossible.” She started the process to change UNF’s alcohol guidelines over the summer. With Chally’s signature as proof,  Besirevic feels she has finally fulfilled her election promise to the students. 

“This wouldn’t be done without Pamela Chally as interim president. I can say that confidently because we know the previous president [David Szymanski] right before her is the one that discontinued it, alcohol on campus and tailgating,” she said.

Updated alcohol guidelines
Printed and laminated copies of the original alcohol guidelines signed by UNF Interim President Pamella Chally. (Julia Croston)

SG members have tried to bring back alcohol and tailgating in the past with no success. Students hoped Szymanski would change his mind about the ban, but the Board of Trustees approved and implemented his changes. 

“Because of the fault of a few, everyone was disciplined and everyone shouldn’t be disciplined when they were following the rules and doing what they had to do to let the experience happen,” she explained.  

Alcohol on campus was not about “drinking and getting drunk,” according to Besirevic. Instead, she views tailgating as important to the college experience. 

“It’s a college campus. You go to any other school in the state, public university and tailgating is an activity before you go to an athletic event,” she said. ”It’s a community.” 

Besirevic reached out to several UNF organizations, UPD, faculty, staff, and students to bring back tailgating. To reach her end goal, the proposal went through edits and suggestions from various sources, including the Compliance, Ethics, and Risk Oversight Committee (CEROC). Even before meeting with the CEROC, Besirevic was confident the proposal would pass after administrators told her there was a “positive consensus overall.” 

She believes the changes will benefit not just students but also the larger UNF community. Faculty and staff will also be permitted to have alcohol at office parties.

Since the guidelines were approved, students can tailgate at any athletic event starting now. Tailgating will be permitted no sooner than four hours before an athletic event. 

“It will be very nice to see this come to life again; this campus have something that we have had before,” Besirevic smiled.  

View the new guidelines here.


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