In an Op-Ed published in the Daily last Thursday, Tufts senior and TCU Senator Andrew Hunter proposed the addition of an on-campus bar. Citing his experience with campus bars during his time studying abroad in London, as well as the absence of an on-campus spot for upperclassmen to gather, Hunter invited students of legal age to come join him at Hotung Cafe last Friday night. His efforts to demonstrate that there is a real interest in the prospect of an on-campus bar elicited significant interest from the student body. In light of the points that Hunter made in his Op-Ed, the creation of an on-campus bar would be a welcome addition to campus life.
The absence of an on-campus location for upperclassmen to gather denies our juniors and seniors the sense of community that is so easily cultivated in freshmen dorms or during sophomore suite living. Though seniors have the opportunity to attend Senior Pub Nights, these events exclude the entire junior class and fail to create a nucleus or home base around which students can gather. Additionally, many upperclassmen are far more interested in a casual, laid-back drinking scene that doesn’t involve TEMS or outsized amounts of alcohol – the kind of atmosphere that an on-campus bar would undoubtedly promote.
Indeed, establishing a bar on campus could reduce the amount of problems that result from the oftentimes intense drinking culture we have on the Hill. By redirecting some of the drinking at Tufts to a specific location and redefining it as a relaxed, social activity, we can potentially decrease the level of binge drinking on campus. This could then, in turn, minimize the amount of alcohol-related crimes and injuries.
Yes, Hotung does provide alcohol. But, as Hunter’s campaign proved this past Friday, Hotung is not a suitable substitute for an actual bar. With a two-drink limit and an environment that is more conducive to doing homework than socializing, Hotung simply will not suffice.
For a long time, Tufts did have an on-campus bar in Dewick. It served the same purpose that Hunter and his supporters believe a bar should: to provide a place for students who are 21 and older to catch up over a few cold ones. That kind of scene would be something worth resurrecting on a campus, where illegal drinking is incredibly prevalent and off-campus housing makes it difficult to foster community spirit amongst the upperclassmen. Certainly, university administrators will find this proposition unsettling. All we can ask is that they give this idea the attention it deserves.