Champaign mayor issues rules for 'Unofficial'

Champaign mayor issues rules for 'Unofficial'

CHAMPAIGN – Mayor Jerry Schweighart on Thursday issued his annual emergency orders to regulate the flow of liquor next weekend as University of Illinois students prepare to celebrate "Unofficial St. Patrick's Day" on March 4.

As liquor commissioner, Schweighart is afforded executive powers relating to liquor sales in city stores and bars. The following orders will be in effect:

– Bars and package liquor stores in the campus area may not serve or sell alcohol before 11 a.m. on March 4.

– Bars may not host any private functions that result in special drink pricing or other privileges from 11 a.m. on March 4 until 2:30 a.m. on March 5.

– Bars may not serve pitchers of alcohol or shots of undiluted alcohol, and all drinks must be served in paper or plastic cups on March 4.

– Patron entry age for all bars in the campus area will be 21 years or older between 11 a.m. on March 4 until 2:30 a.m. on March 5.

– All campus bars must have a doorman, aged 21 or older, present and checking IDs at all entrances during the hours of operation.

– The mayor's office will not be issuing any keg permits for parties, making it illegal to possess more than one keg per residence during this event.

– For establishments licensed to sell package liquor, an Adult Responsibility Form must be completed by the purchaser and kept on file prior to the sale of 168 or more 12 ounce containers of beer or malt beverage; 24 or more one-liter bottles of distilled spirits; or one keg.

Schweighart has issued similar orders in previous years in an attempt to limit the sale of alcohol during the annual event. Champaign police officials have said recently that they plan to increase their presence on campus next weekend, as they have done in the past.

A Facebook page on Thursday listed more than 23,000 people who said they would "attend" Unofficial St. Patrick's Day on March 4. Participants traditionally drink alcohol throughout the day during the event, which was created because students typically are on spring break during the official St. Patrick's Day. A similar Facebook page for last year's event drew more than 17,000 RSVPs.

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Mike wrote on February 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm

What a great plan! Rather than having 10,000 underaged students trapped in a half-dozen or so centralized campus bars, waiting FOREVER in line to get their next beer, make them stay home in their hundreds and hundreds of individual apartments and dorm rooms where there is no supervision and not nearly the number of police officers necessary to monitor all of them. Great planning!

Surely NONE of them will be able to get anyone to purchase alcohol for them between now and then. (Hey kids, Friar Tuck is in Savoy and outside the jurisdiction of the Champaign Mayor!)

Unsupervised kids drinking bottles of vodka in hidden apartment buildings == dangerous.

Supervised kids drinking crummy beer out of plastic cups in the campus bars == still not the optimal solution, but perhaps having everybody in one place might be easier to deal with, and there might be fewer incidents of alcohol poisoning.

But what do I know...

lcoil79 wrote on February 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I'm of 2 minds on this matter.

1) I would love to see him use his executive powers to finally end this drunkfest. Stop all bulk alcohol sales (kegs and large cases) 72 hours before the announced dates and stop all alcohol sales the day of the event.

But, I know this will never happen so I would really love to see this:

2) Any bar caught serving or caught with underage persons holding alcohol in their business during Unofficial, automatically has their license revoked for next year's Unofficial. Plus, any violations throughout the year that would cause the bar to lose their license, rather than revoke it for a couple of days when the students are gone, revoke it for Unofiicial first, then subsequent violations close them down on Football and Basketball game days.

It's about time UIUC becomes known again for being an institution of higher learning, and not a place for underaged overpriveledged Chicago children to get wasted.

some_mascot wrote on February 25, 2011 at 8:02 am

What makes one stop there... let's make it so that large cases of beer are unable to be sold on any given Friday at all and after 10 am on weekends (we all know that overprivileged Chicago dolts don't wake up before noon on weekends).

More rules are not the answer. I don't know if the issue even needs an answer, the day would be better off endorsed by the community and turned into a social event instead of an underground or back-channel drunkfest which is what strict policies turn this into.

sameeker wrote on February 25, 2011 at 9:02 am

Maybe the students need to send the mayor a list of conditions that the city must follow before they spend money in the city on anything. they spend millions a year and are entitled to whoop it up occasionally.