After getting wind of the forthcoming cultural night event planned by the CSU and ASFA, members of Concordia’s administration approached the organizations with several concerns about the party’s security and legality.
A major issue for the university administrators was the fact that the event was advertised as all-you-can-drink, something Concordia’s director of media relations says is completely illegal. “The RÃ©gie des alcools makes it very clear that you will lose your liquor permit if you do that, because that is encouraging irresponsible drinking,” she said, something student representatives were unaware of. Multiple cultural nights in the past year have been advertised as all-you-can-drink events, although this is the first time Mota had heard of one.
The university also approached the student organization because “all you can drink events are extremely problematic and we have a responsibility to educate our student body,” according to Mota. She pointed out that binge drinking has been responsible for deaths at other universities.
At cultural nights last year at least one fight broke out, though there were no reported cases of alcohol poisoning.
According to Andres Lopez, the CSU’s VP of student life, the organization was also approached by the dean of students office, who had received complaints from residence administrators who had to deal with intoxicated students coming back to residence after these events.
“These events end at 11 p.m. and people go back to the res, have parties, wreck the residence, get more drunk,” he said. “So I’m guessing the RAs are the main people who are pushing towards this. They just want to control it.”
A representative from residence said “the simple fact that it’s an all you can drink, I don’t know if that’s a responsible thing to be doing,” but implied that residence officials wouldn’t comment in detail on the situation.
In response to these concerns, the CSU and ASFA will be implementing new security measures at these events, starting with the Canadian cultural night tomorrow.
Lopez said that he sat down with Jacques Lachance, the university’s acting director of security, and Luc Fillion, the security department’s event analyst, to discuss a new security policy. According to Lopez, there will be hourly patrols by campus security within the Hive to monitor the situation at the next cultural night, and three security agents have been hired to stay inside the Hive during the entire event. Lopez said that other measures to prevent over-intoxication will include enforcing the bracelet-marking system to monitor drinks, having fewer bartenders in order to slow access to alcohol, and having breaks between serving to reduce consumption and allow people to drink water.
ASFA president Aaron Green also noted that people will be carded for their age, not just student I.D. at the door, and that the door price is increasing in response to the cost of food, drinks, and increased security.
While he did admit that the increased security was a positive as it showed the CSU was taking this seriously, the representative from residence also said “I think they were supposed to be monitoring how many drinks people were having at previous events and their monitoring was less than desirable. It didn’t seem to have accurate measures and/or accounting.” He added that only time will tell how effective these measures actually are.
While these security measures are important, for Green the cultural nights themselves are equally important to the students who enjoy them, many of the one-third of Concordia’s arts and science students who study at Loyola and often live at the campus.
“I think we provide a really great service, in particular to the students who live in residences,” he said. “We’re just trying to promote student life on the Loyola campus.”
Green said that ASFA has already fought to keep the cultural nights, and will again if they have to. “The administration obviously doesn’t like [cultural nights],” he said, adding that the university would probably make it an alcohol-free campus if they could.
“But [the Hive is] student space and it’s somewhere where we are going to have to continue the fight to maintain control of our student space and hold such events.”