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RSU revokes non-alcoholic beverage club’s funding after drinking incident

By Nathaniel Crouch

The Beverage Enthusiasts Society (BES), a student group at Ryerson University that celebrates non-alcoholic mixology, has been stripped of its official student group status and funding. 

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) put BES on probation after learning students drank alcohol in a campus building without a liquor licence at the club’s meet and greet.

BES hosts events both on and off campus, where members meet to discuss their love of non-alcoholic drinks and consume them together. This year’s meet and greet was held in the Riel Room in the Student Campus Centre (SCC) on the evening of Sept. 28.

A security report describes a woman hearing someone chanting, “drink, drink, drink!” coming from the Riel Room. So she peeked into the room and saw no booze containers. She then conducted a walk around the building, according to the report.

About 10 minutes later she saw a girl with a flask in the SCC’s 3rd floor hallway. Once again, she peaked into the Riel Room—where there were 30 students—and saw a Molson cold shot on one table and a bottle of what appeared to be dark alcohol on the back table.

That’s when she called security.

Edmund Sofo, the RSU’s vice-president student life and events, said that after much deliberation, the RSU executives decided to disband BES.

“There are penalties,” he said about drinking alcohol on campus in areas where the substance’s consumption isn’t allowed.

“Any student group has an obligation and responsibility ensuring their events are up to par,” Sofo added.

The RSU doesn’t usually have a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy when it comes to putting a group on probation. However, with the BES case, the RSU ruled the group’s actions were severe enough to revoke their status and funding as an official RSU student group immediately.

“Drinking outside or in non-designated areas can result in the Ram in the Rye losing its license,” Sofo told The Eye.

“Not only do we have to deal with student safety and communication of rules on campus, we have to make sure the Ram in the Rye’s liquor licence is also secure,” said Sofo.

BES president Hamish Mackay declined to comment on the incident, citing respect for the RSU’s decision. However, The Eye obtained an email between Mackay and Dawn Murray, campus groups coordinator for the RSU.

After the RSU’s decision, Mackay wrote, “I can’t say I’m not disappointed, however I do understand the Student Groups Committee’s perspective and final decision.”

The group, he said, will take the rest of the semester off to focus on their studies and apply for status again in the winter with an improved understanding of safe event environments and event supervision.

“I would like to apologize for our event jeopardizing the liquor licence of the building, and assure that this will never happen again,” said Mackay.

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