The Healy Pub proposal took a major hit this past week following the Voice and The Hoya’s biannual interview with University President John DeGioia and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson. Despite meetings conducted by the Georgetown Univerity Student Associations’s Finance and Appropriations Committee that solidified the design and space for the Healy Pub, DeGioia and Olson seemed to indicate that the plan to bring back the pub was most likely dead on arrival.
“I think the notion of trying to catch the Healy Pub—I think this is a blast from the past,” DeGioia said. “But this is not relevant, it doesn’t really fit the current context. […] I just don’t think that the Healy Pub is part of the picture for addressing student space at Georgetown.”
It should not come as a shock to anyone who is at all familiar with the ways of the Georgetown administration that the idea to bring back Healy Pub would be shot down, but it is disheartening to see this response following the initial proposals for the New South Student Center.
The Smith Group, the architecture firm hired by the University to create the NSSC, presented its initial proposal to student leaders in a forum hosted by Olson in early July. Space allocated for a pub, or at least a lounge where alcohol is served, was a prominent component of the design.
But DeGioia and Olson’s main issue with the Healy Pub is that it would be difficult to control the service of alcohol to underage students. “We have not demonstrated in this changed environment that we can manage a pub on campus in the way that the Healy Pub characterized this campus from 1974 to 1988,” DeGioia said. “The alumni who have been enthusiastic about this project forget that in 1985 to 1986, the laws changed.”
That the administration supports an area that serves alcohol in the New South Student Center but harbors misgivings about a student-run pub like Healy Pub further illustrates its disconnect with students’ desire for more space. Creating the space in the NSSC run by a corporation rather than by students would defeat the purpose of making the New South project a student center. After all, the support for Healy Pub extends beyond alcohol: students want an area where they can meet and hang out with other students organically.
Furthermore, the University’s misgivings about students serving other students alcohol are unfounded. The Tombs operates only a block off campus and has a staff that consists of a number of undergraduate students, but is also known as being one of the toughest bars in the area for using fake IDs. Having students serving other students alcohol is not unprecedented, either. Every year, students on the Senior Class Committee undergo training to be able to serve alcohol at SCC events.
If President DeGioia’s concerns about Healy Pub are due to space issues, then the administration’s opposition is understandable and a pub should be pursued in the New South Student Center instead.
However if DeGioia’s opposition is due to legal concerns, then the administration must explain why it has contradicted itself and supported the creation of an area that serves alcohol in the New South Student Center.
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