Since January 20, UFV students have been a whole lot thirstier: Casey’s, UFV’s one and only on-campus restaurant and lounge lost its liquor license until February 2 after an inspector found it was violating the terms of the license. Larry Portelance, SUS VP Social, explained: “Casey’s has what is called a food-primary license, and this means that Casey’s is a restaurant that happens to serve alcohol… when the liquor inspector made his rounds of bars and restaurants of Abbotsford in October, he noted a few minor infractions at Casey’s such as a few over-intoxicated people, active participation [dancing], and a few other things.” While the inspector noted that the establishment was well-equipped to host such events, “unfortunately, Casey’s was doing this without the proper license.” It was then fined $1000 and was forced to suspend liquor sales for ten regular operating days.
Casey’s was eerily deserted during its peak hours last week, no longer a buzzing social hub but silent and study hall-like; the occasional student occupied a table to his or herself, perhaps snacking on an appetizer while working on homework. In response to how Casey’s had been doing since the ban, server Adrianna Toews replied: “It’s not as bad as we thought it’d be,” but was interrupted by fellow server Simon Brower, who said frankly “It’s been shit.”
Portelance admitted that “there will be a financial hit due to this” but that “it is the role of the Events Committee to think of new events that will bring people back to Casey’s. Some ideas [we’ve] got going are hosting Canucks nights with prize draws for things like Abbotsford Heat tickets… singer-songwriter nights on Fridays… and working on getting digital cable boxes so that patrons can view Canucks games on SNET-Van or Premier League Soccer or other sporting events exclusive to digital cable.”
Adrianna Toews found that students were generally understanding about the ban. “[They] have been really good about it… They’re not bitching much, but you can tell they’re pissed.” One student from Baker House Residence – Faisal Elhumaida – certainly found that the lack of alcohol was affecting his social life; said Faisal, “I don’t actually drink alcohol, but I used to enjoy every Thursday… right now I just stay at home.” Without a doubt, it’s been a depressing ten days for Casey’s on Campus.
Do we need alcohol served on campus? Not only do non-drinking students like Elhumaida agree, but students like Justin Ingram believe it’s “good to have a place to come in and unwind.” Portelance stated: “Personally, I feel that University students are adults, or at least developing into adults, and part of adult life in Canada is safely consuming alcohol in social situations to help foster a sense of community and belonging. This social convention also seems to manifest itself on other university campuses as a part of the things that facilitate a vibrant campus community. Think UBC and the Pit Pub, SFU and the Highland Pub, UVic and Felicita’s Campus Pub and so on. UFV could do without a place that serves liquor, but then UFV would be missing out on another part of university life while students would just go elsewhere.”
SUS has been in the process of obtaining a primary liquor license on campus, and it seems many students believe it is time we have a true bar. “I think that [getting a primary liquor licence] might be a good idea,” said Thomas Kavanagh. In the meantime, “SUS will continue to plan events that fit within our food-primary liquor license while encouraging student organizations to plan and propose events at Casey’s that require a special-occasions permit,” according to Portelance. He encouraged any students who have ideas for on-campus events – at Casey’s or otherwise – to contact him with as many details as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday Feb 11 – after Casey’s license has been restored – there will be a singer-songwriter night with Franklyn Currie and Old Mare. Entry is $10 for non-students and $5 for students, and includes a burger and drink ticket. Now is the time, if ever, to come out and support our student lounge!