Classic Signals: ‘The Club’ quickly gets shut down

Every week, Features Editor Lily Firth hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

Throughout the College’s history, there have been places for students who are of age to socialize and drink alcohol on or close to campus, including the Rathskeller — nicknamed “The Rat” — that closed down in May 2015. This summer, a new sports bar will be opening in Campus Town where students will have a safe place to drink and mingle — legally, of course. In January 1986, the College attempted to create a place, dubbed “The Club,” that would be a centralized area for students of all ages to enjoy themselves. “The Club” was shut down soon after its opening, as it ended up strengthening the divide between underage students and students 21 and over.

The College attempts to create a social space for all students.

The idea of having a place where those who are of legal drinking age and those who are underage can get together and socialize is very noble. But the plans need to be well thought out and practical, down to the last detail, in order to work out best for all concerned.

Thursday night showed that the Club is neither.

Think about it this way. If the Club is sectioned off into two parts, one where there is the band, the dance floor, and the alcohol, and the other where there are a few pool tables and video games, where will everyone be? The answer is obvious.

But what about those in the under-21 group, who are supposed to benefit from this plan, but end up stuck in the back?

Not much can be done about their not being able to legally drink alcohol there. But, from the back of the room, they cannot see the band, cannot talk to those in the “legal” group, and cannot dance on the dance floor.

This is hardly “socializing together.”

Later in the night, the rules at the door changed, no one under 21 was allowed in, and the entire room was open for alcohol. Those under 21 do not seem to be “benefitting.”

Dean of Student Life Bill Klepper, whose idea this was, and Gilbert, who supported it all the way, had better make up their minds. Is it their plan to really do something for those students under 21?

Or was this the only way to get the Pub to re-open, so that it could be used as the bait in Klepper’s package of Student Center/Phelps Hall renovations?

Student leaders were promised, when Klepper presented his plans, that the Pub would be re-opened if it and the Student Center renovations were passed.

That’s like offering candy to a baby.

As for Klepper’s keeping his promise, and Gilbert states, what happened to the promise of having the Club open with alcohol last semester, and on a regular basis beginning this semester? That was part of the candy in Klepper’s original plan presented last summer.

I want to see the Pub/Club re-opened as much as anybody. But I don’t want to see it done with lies and deceptions. Proposals such as these should be brought up and evaluated on their own merit.