With reaction from state Board of Education members ranging from skepticism to outright opposition, University of Idaho President Elisabeth Zinser says the school will drop a proposal for now to allow beer and wine sales at its campus golf course.
"It's our feeling right now that we want to give a little more thought to it," Zinser said last week after hearing board discussion on the university's notice of intent to submit the proposal.She said she was disappointed, since school administrators believe allowing regulated alcohol sales and consumption at the golf course's clubhouse, and eventually at pregame events outside the Kibbie Dome, would help "create a microcosm of the larger community as we would want it to be."
But representatives of the state's three other four-year schools said earlier during the board's Finance Committee meeting that they want no part of alcohol sales on campus. And board members were equally cool to the idea.
"I'm not anxious to open up more opportunities for young people to consume alcohol," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jerry Evans. "How does it improve the University of Idaho? How does it improve opportunities for students?"
"It is an improvement to the community," said Jerry Wallace, acting vice president for finance at the Moscow school.
The notice of intent submitted to board members said the university golf course is the only 18-hole public facility in the area, and beer and wine sales would help generate a more stable financial base for its operation.
Sales of beer and wine at the golf course would have been handled by the university's food service vendor, Marriott.
"Extensive informal discussions with many leaders throughout the community suggest an improved food and beverage service would attract more play from the region in the form of individual play and golf tournaments," the notice said. "This potential capability and increased play is viewed as a valuable resource to the local community in serving its residents and in bringing people to Moscow."
But board member Karl Shurtliff of Boise said he had concerns about potential liability, and the impression authorizing campus alcohol sales would give at a time when the school is stepping up measures to control drinking.
"I do think that we ought not send that message," Shurtliff said. "You wanted my opinion; my opinion is no."
Despite the generally negative reaction, board President Gary Fay said the panel would have considered a specific proposal later if the university chose to submit it.