May 242005
Authors: Jon Pilsner, JP Eichmiller

Nine months after Colorado State University's Hughes Stadium went dry in the wake of a student's alcohol-related death, president Larry Penley announced Wednesday that beer sales would return to the athletic arena.

Students and others attending the Rams' first regular season home game against Nevada on Sept. 24 will be allowed to buy 3.2 percent beer inside the stadium, which sits on the city's far west side .

Further, tailgaters and others who park at the stadium's parking lot will be allowed to consume any type of beer before entering the game. There are several stipulations for people who tailgate, including a requirement that drinkers show officials valid identification cards and receive wristbands.

In a press conference held at 1 p.m. in the administration building's main lobby, Penley said that drug and alcohol abuse is a societal problem and not unique to CSU. He acknowledged in his remarks that stopping beer sales at Hughes was not the answer to the problem.

"There's no silver bullet for the horrors of drug and alcohol abuse," Penley said.

The president's announcement was a reversal of his decision last fall. In September, Penley halted beer sales at Hughes after 19-year-old CSU sophomore Samantha Spady died from alcohol poising at a fraternity house following the CSU football game against University of Colorado-Boulder.

Penley's decision last fall prompted dozens of students to protest in front of the administration building. Additionally, the beer ban allegedly sparked an upswing in alcohol-related arrests at the stadium. Most of those arrested were students who were showing up drunk for the games after the ban was put into place.

The president and CSU Chief of Police Dexter Yarbrough said during the press conference that anyone found breaking the rules would be severely punished.

In addition to announcing the return of beer at the stadium, Penley explained that the decision was consistent with the findings of an alcohol task force that was established Feb. 1 to review alcohol use at CSU. The task force was the result of Spady's death, other alcohol-related deaths throughout the state and the highly publicized riots that occurred north of campus. The riots, officials believe, were the result of parties that spun out of control.

When beer returns to the stadium, Penley said there would be several new initiatives, including increased parking lot patrols by either CSU or local police officers. The president also said there would be a ban on drinking games.

Penley also announced Wednesday that he plans to established what he called a "social norming campaign," which will inform incoming students about acceptable behavior at CSU and in the community. Also, Penley said he would create a student organization focusing on alcohol poisoning and special education programs to be delivered during freshman orientation.

Also, he will create a new government position that would be a liaison between CSU and Fort Collins. The president also plans to expand RamRide, the ASCSU program that provides students a safe and sober ride home.

Penley singled out the Greek system, saying he wants fraternities and sororities to create a position he described as "hall director." The president further announced a program that would provide a "seal of approval" to fraternities and sororities that comply with the alcohol guidelines provided by the school.

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