Drinking is a major problem on campuses, and no college wants to make it easier for students to get their hands on alcohol. But the College of Southern Idaho board of trustees may have overreached last week when it voted to keep alcohol off campus under all circumstances.
At issue were requests by off-campus groups that use CSI facilities to be permitted to serve alcohol at special events they hold on campus. The school receives about five such requests a year.
Last fall, trustees denied Festival of Trees organizers permission to serve drinks at their December event. Organizers of the festival — a fundraiser for the St. Like’s Magic Valley Foundation — made the same request earlier this month, prompting the board’s discussion of whether alcohol should be on campus for any reason.
It seems to us the better course would be to permit beer, wine or liquor on a case-by-case basis.
Adults are forever cautioning young people to use alcohol responsibility, but leading by example is a better approach. The Festival of Trees has included alcohol for years, and there’s never been serious problem.
There’s a difference, it seems to us, between permitting alcohol to be sold at selected community gatherings and allowing beer sales at basketball games or rodeos.
After years of debate, the Twin Falls County Fair Board voted to allow beer sales on a trial basis at this summer’s fair. Based on the experience of other Magic Valley county fairs that permit beer sales, we’re guessing the experiment will be relatively trouble free.
In extending the ban on alcohol, the CSI board cited liability worries. Those concerns are legitimate, but liability is an issue with all the events CSI hosts — even without alcohol. It’s not possible to make the public’s use of campus facilities risk-free.
Rent paid by off-campus groups for events is a significant source of revenue for the school, but beyond that the campus is a center for the community. From Independence Day fireworks to car shows to civic events, it’s where Twin Falls gathers.
CSI’s administration and its trustees, it seems to us, are capable to making sound decisions on an event-by-event basis about whether alcohol is welcome.