ABC says bringing alcohol to tailgating illegal

Mai Hoang

On most days, 20-year-old Nick Bryan wouldn’t think of drinking alcoholic beverages on campus.

But, before the Homecoming game against Indiana State Saturday, Bryan was standing on the lawn of McLean Hall drinking Hooch, a fruit and alcohol drink, from of a plastic cup.

“It’s just the tradition of tailgating,” he said. “Going to a football game, having a few beers. It’s all fun and games.”

Although he is underage, Bryan said he isn’t concerned about being disciplined by campus police or university officials.

“They’re not out here carding, so I’m out here drinking,” Bryan said.

Other students like Bryan said rules about alcohol and drinking on campus are not enforced during tailgating activities.

However, according to state officials, Bryan and other students like him who drink during tailgating – both underage and 21 or older – are breaking the law.

What the state says

A representative from the state department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said anyone who brings alcohol onto a college campus, rather than buying it from an authorized vendor at the event, would be in violation of state statute.

Dan Gahafer, Deputy Commissioner at the Kentucky ABC Department, said state statute KRS 240.020 states that no one is allowed to bring or consume their own alcohol in areas that aren’t licensed. Any non-licensed area is considered a public place and people are prohibited from drinking alcohol in those areas.

“Western does not have a license,” he said. “So it’s a public place and they can’t drink there.”

However, President Gary Ransdell sees it differently.

He said Monday that people may bring alcohol and consume it on university grounds during tailgating as long as they are of age and they aren’t drinking from an alcoholic container.

Western’s food service provider, Aramark, is licensed to serve alcohol. The company can serve alcohol at authorized events at the Faculty House, Alumni Center, the Kentucky Building, South Campus and in tailgating tents were alcohol sales were authorized. DUC South Lawn as a whole is not an authorized area.

General Counsel Deborah Wilkins said Wednesday that while she does not dispute state law, she said Western is not breaking any rules.

“Tailgating goes on at every college campus in the state and most of them in the United States,” she said. “And I