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Council to Weigh in UMD’s Proposal for Alcohol Sales at Sporting Events

At tomorrow’s worksession, the City Council will discuss and possibly take a position on the University of Maryland’s proposal to sell alcohol sales at sporting events.

The plan calls for university dining services to begin beer and wine sales at athletic venues, including 54,000-seat Byrd Stadium and the 17,950-seat Xfinity Center.

The SGA, the Graduate Student Government, and various other student organizations endorsed the recommendation, as did the UMD Police Department
and the Division of Student Affairs. A subsequent online forum elicited 1,000

But the plan generated opposition from public health advocates, including the co-directors of the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, a state-funded initiative addressing campus alcohol use.

“From the perspective of public health research, this is not a good idea,” said co-director David Jernigan, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. “It is a common fantasy that if we just make it more generally available, there will be fewer problems. This fantasy has not been upheld in research.”

In an April letter to Loh, state Del. Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, a Democrat who represents parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, expressed her “strong opposition” to the plan.

“I don’t see why it makes sense to go forward temporarily. Why even open that door?” Pena-Melnyk, who chairs a Health and Government Operations subcommittee on public health, said Wednesday. “It’s basically not responsible when we are trying to build a university that is a class-act university, that is respected. A lot of parents have been expressing their concerns.”

Let me know what you think about the proposal.

[Source: Office of President Loh, the Baltimore Sun]



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  1. Mike

    I think it is alright to sell alcohol at a game, and here is why. For football, there is a “tailgate” culture where people drink before the game. Often times it is people drinking heavily because they know by the time the game starts, they cannot drink. I actually think that if people know they can purchase a beer at the game, there won’t be this pre-game binge drinking and people will be able to drink in a more responsible manner.

    Also, the funds from the alcohol sales look to be going to support services for UMD students regarding counseling, and other related matters, so I see this as a win/win because a lot of student services go under-funded at major universities.

  2. On a personal level, this doesn’t alarm me. I think 18 year olds should have access to all aspects of adult life, and that includes the right to drink. So I’m really not concerned that some kids might end up with the occasional handed-off beer. It might boost attendance at events, and the University has plenty of resources to deal with students who imbibe excessively.

    From a City viewpoint, the University entering the alcohol-sales business interferes with one of the prime city business sectors. I think the City should oppose any change to the business environment here that would negatively impact existing City businesses. It’s difficult-enough to get a business to come here, without supporting their competition, especially a competitor as large as the University, that would not result in a positive financial impact on the City.

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