New keg policy misses the mark

by Beacon Staff • January 25, 2006

When considering what feeble effect this most recent assault on student privacy will have on problems like excessive and underage drinking, we are left to wonder simply: Why?,If you are looking for the sweet fizz of intoxication this weekend, city officials don't want you to find it in that familiar metal keg.

When considering what feeble effect this most recent assault on student privacy will have on problems like excessive and underage drinking, we are left to wonder simply: Why?

In the latest installment of the battle between city officials and college students, Boston Police have begun collecting a registry of names and contact information for keg purchasers from liquor stores throughout the city, per order of a Board of Licensing ordinance which went into effect a few weeks after Mayor Thomas Menino's re-election last fall.

City leaders such as Councilor Stephen Murphy, who along with others has proposed other intrusive, anti-student legislation in the past few years, assert that the new regulation will help police crack down on out of control house parties in neighborhoods such as Allston, where underage drinking is considered a major problem.

Aside from the obvious loophole in the law, which has no effect on neighboring municipalities such as Cambridge, Brookline, Newton and Somerville, all an easy commute for most Emersonians, it will also have no effect on curbing underage drinking for one reason alone: supply is still available.

Let's face it, keg party attendees are not beer connoisseurs. Nobody paying $5 for unlimited refills of Bud Light is drinking for taste, meaning it is a reasonable assumption that your average weekend college drinker is not going to care much what vessel their booze came home in.

Kegs too much effort? We've still got access to enough bottles, cans and beer balls to keep us satisfied for many weekends to come. What is most disappointing and insulting to Emerson students in particular is that this new regulation, like many in the slew that have targeted students in the past year, was called for by city leaders following the tragic death of our own Victoria Snelgrove at the hands of Boston Police.

Many of the fans near Fenway Park that night were intoxicated. The keg regulation is, some of the talking heads at City Hall say, supposed to help police prevent tragedies like that from happening again.

Perhaps some of those celebrants were at keg parties earlier in the evening, but there is no way that a keg somewhere else in the city caused that fatal shot.

If city regulators are really so concerned about student safety they should be spending their time, money and resources on something that might actually increase student safety.

Trying to cut off all routes to intoxication isn't the key, but promoting safe and responsible imbibing for students would be a strong start.