Carolinian – Opinions
Issue: 1/27/03

“Let Them Drink Beer”
By Kevin Harvey, Speakeasy Editor

I’ve no doubt that by now almost every student has been by the new EUC. Pretty snazzy, eh? New student offices, pan-Asian food choices, a hip little coffee shop, and, perhaps most importantly, a Ms. Pac-Man machine.

But let’s not forget that new grocery store! They’ve got fresh fruit, steaks, and even bicycles! But of all the new ways we have of spending our Dining Dollars, there’s still one thing that we can’t buy:

Beer (gasp!).

Yeah, beer. Why not? And how about cigarettes? I know we live in a world that’s so conservative that even the ultra-liberals are straight-edge, but forget the taboo. Why can’t students decide whether they want to sin or not?

Here’s the argument against beer: “Over half of the campus is underage, and some of the dorms are dry, and…and…and… well, it’s just not right!” So what? The vast majority of the students who are eligible to receive the (insert trumpet fanfare) Bronze 800 Plan are juniors who are soon-to-be if not already twenty-one, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to get the ladies in that store to I.D. every person who came inside.

If that’s the argument for beer, then there is absolutely no good reason why they shouldn’t sell us cigarettes. Less than five percent of the campus is under eighteen. I’m not even a smoker and I think this is a bad idea. I mean, we do live in North Carolina, right? It’s an economic issue. W.W.G.W.D.?

Let’s get libertarian here: in this ultra-capitalist world we live in, we don’t have any “freedom from’s” to get us out of the economic loop. We’re forced to earn money to survive. We’ve traded in our “freedom from’s” for a “freedom of choice.” It’s not, “Would you care for a soft drink?,” it’s “Do you want Pepsi or Coke?” Our dear UNCG, in the case of beer and cigarettes, has made our choice for us.

Suppose that $800 is all the money I have to eat for this entire semester. Here’s Choice A: buy a meal plan or spend it off campus? UNCG decides that I might waste this money on my own and forces me to buy an $800 meal plan if I want to live on campus (that would be okay if UNCG had everything I wanted to eat for sale at reasonable prices, but I digress). Choice B: do I want to be like Jesus and drink alcohol, or should I go with the conservative flow and abstain from everything? Once again, UNCG decides for me.

If you ask me Dining Services – and all of the new, independent vendors on campus – should do everything they can (within reason and the law) to keep the student population happy, or they should get out of our pocket books.