By Kyle Robinson & Viktoria Marinova
Pic: Caeri Dunnell
In an effort to confront and address the drinking problems at Rhodes, a Publican’s Forum was held as part of Alcohol Awareness Week. The Publican’s Forum has a meeting every six months to discuss ways to reduce the level of student alcohol consumption. Dean of Students, Vivien de Klerk said, “We are all working towards the same outcome – educating students to know their limits and drink responsibly.”
Amongst the Grahamstown attendees at the Forum were representatives from the Rat & Parrot, Olde 65, Equilibrium, The Union, Slip Stream, CPU (Campus Protection Unit), SAPS (South African Police Service) and several local liquor stores.
One of the most important issues raised was that of pub specials, especially the Union’s ‘Cane Train’, which disguise the strong alcoholic bite to the drinks. Mynardt van Dyk, co-owner of the Rat & Parrot, EQ and Oldies, said that he is worried about the new bylaws about to be passed locally. These stipulate that liquor is not to be sold after 24h00 on weekdays, and 02h00 on weekends. Van Dyk said, “These specials are a means through which we can draw people in earlier. Hence, specials are aimed at the earlier part of the evening.” He also added that the new bylaws meant closing earlier, which was out of the question.
There was also criticism of the pubs advertising their specials on campus. Larissa Klazinga, the Student Services Officer, said that they are allowed to do so, provided that they do not advertise the specials. “As long as you keep the specials at a minimum and keep them as safe as you can,” said de Klerk.
The pubs were also asked to continue their own disciplinary action, making offenders write formal letters of apology, and informing the Dean of Students.
Finally, student safety was emphasised. Dave Charteris of CPU said, “Grahamstown businesses need to come to the party and play their part as a community service.” Placing guards outside pubs was also considered. “If each place had a guard outside, we would see a huge difference,” said Charteris.