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WCU Trustees Approve Alcohol Sales At Sporting Events

Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University
A 17-member committee studied the pros and cons of selling alcohol at campus athletic venues and events.

On the official Western Carolina University E.J. Whitmire stadium information page the first line says: “Alcohol and alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited in E.J. Whitmire Stadium.” 

 

But that is changing. 

 

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees unanimously approved a plan to sell beer and wine at campus athletic venues. This resolution comes after a three month long study of the benefits and drawbacks to having alcoholic beverages available at sporting events. 

Board of Trustees member Tim Haskett served as chair of the 17-member special study committee. The committee was made up of campus and community representatives.  

“With such a diverse group on our committee, we leveraged their broad perspectives in making our recommendation to the Board of Trustees,” Haskett said.

The group interviewed experts and community leaders. They also examined a new state law allowing UNC System institutions to decide to sell alcohol at athletic venues.

Before sales can begin, the trustees asked the university administration to develop an implementation plan to guide sales. The plan will be reviewed in March at the board’s meeting. It will outline where and when alcohol will be sold. It’s possible that not all venues will be okayed for sales. 

Members of the special study committee were:  Randy Eaton, WCU director of athletics; Steve Lillard, WCU chief of police; Shea Browning, WCU general counsel; Sam Miller, WCU vice chancellor for student affairs; Mike Byers, WCU vice chancellor for administration and finance;  Ed Holland, WCU Alumni Association president; Jim Wood, president of the Catamount Club Board of Directors; Todd Dillard, director of Jackson County Emergency Management; Gorham Bradley, community member; Keith Corzine, WCU assistant vice chancellor for campus services; A.J. Grube, WCU faculty athletics representative;  Rebecca Lasher, WCU Faculty Senate representative; Kaitlyn Alston, WCU Student Government Association representative; Mike Doppke, interim resident district manager for Aramark; Deidre Hopkins, staff support and WCU Staff Senate representative.

 

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.