The University of Tennessee has a long and curious history with alcohol, ranging from fraternities regulating themselves to become alcohol-free by 2001, to the Princeton Review coincidentally naming UT the top party school in 2001. While we are no longer ranked as a top party school, there is still a strong party atmosphere around campus.
A more detailed history of UT and alcohol can be found here.
At the end of last May, the SEC lifted their long-standing ban on alcohol sales at athletic events, prompting a renewed discussion concerning alcohol sales on campus. In mid-August, the University announced that it would start selling alcohol at Neyland Stadium on Sept. 7, the day of the BYU game.
The announcement set Vol Nation on fire, with some fans vehemently opposed to the devil’s drink being sold at such a sacred venue, while other long-time fans celebrated being able to do what they had only dreamed about – drink a beer in Neyland Stadium.
Drinking a beer adds up quickly, with most beers selling for $12 and some for $13. Over the course of eight games, the University sold $1.46 million in beer. For those concerned about higher alcohol infractions, only three arrests and 12 ejections occurred during the season, as opposed to the four arrests and 15 ejections in 2018.
UT is still strictly a dry campus outside of the stadiums, with penalties for those caught with alcohol. However, there is a bright side for students. The Good Samaritan Policy allows students that are inebriated to contact appropriate officials (UT staff, police, 911, etc.) to report themselves or others that needs medical attention. As long as the students have not engaged in more serious violations of University policy (think vandalism, etc.), they do not receive any disciplinary action for their inebriation.
The University of Tennessee is slowly moving towards a safer campus for all students, however in order to reach that, our new administration (Chancellor Plowman and the new vice Chancellor of Student Life) need to take a hard look at the past and set a new path going forward.
Emma Boyle is a senior majoring in political science. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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