Board of Higher Education Amends Alcohol Policy

FM Symphony Orchestra
FM Symphony Orchestra
FILE PHOTO | THE SPECTRUM
The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra was the first group to offer alcohol sales at an event on NDSU’s campus.

North Dakota State may call itself a dry campus, but new regulations now allow alcohol at certain events on campus.

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education made a policy manual amendment this summer allowing alcohol at SBHE facilities by presidential exception.

“The restrictions set forth in this document were intentionally rigorous, and we do not expect to have many such events,” NDSU chief of staff Chris Wilson said in an email to the NDSU cabinet and deans.

The first event to provide alcohol at NDSU’s campus was the Sept. 26-27 “Music on Fire” concert by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra.

“So many people had smiles on their faces; they saw this as such a positive thing,” Linda Boyd, executive director of the symphony, said to The Forum. “It just added so much to the atmosphere of going to a concert.”

The Forum reported that Boyd said she credited NDSU President Dean Bresciani with the amended policy.

“When the conversation came up that maybe this president would be amenable to looking at this from a different point of view, our reaction was, ‘Oh wow. Great,'” she said. 

Criteria for serving alcohol at on-campus events include 14 regulations ranging from the ages of those in attendance to including non-alcohol beverages.

Most audience members must be over 21, the request of alcohol policy exemption form says, and alcohol may only be served one hour or less prior to an event, or during intermission.

Other criteria include the location of where alcohol can be served, as well as the type of event at which alcohol is served.

“Alcohol shall be served as an enhancement to an event rather than the main purpose or focus of a program or activity,” the form says, adding serving alcohol applies to performing arts events versus “happy hour” events.

Event coordinators wishing to serve alcohol must submit the exemption request form to Bresciani no later than two weeks before the event date.

“Because this is a new process, compliance with this time-requirement is important so that we have adequate time to review the particulars of the request,” Wilson said.

The serving of alcohol at NDSU-related events is not a new topic this year.

Over the summer, Fargo city officials pondered the sales of alcohol at NDSU football games at the Fargodome.

The Dome Authority reversed its earlier approval of alcohol sales in favor of forming a committee to explore how to offer alcohol. The committee will comprise city, university and Fargodome officials.

The SBHE made its policy manual amendment on alcohol exemptions effective July 1.

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