University 'not opposed' to pubs

Logan Edgar
Logan Edgar
The University of Otago is not opposed to more "student-focused pubs" in North Dunedin as long as they abide by the law and do not serve drunks, vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne says.

The comments come after Otago University Students' Association president Logan Edgar appealed for more student bars, saying in his weekly column in the student magazine Critic they were a safer environment for drinking.

"By getting the drinking out of the flat and into a regulated environment, it's a heck of a lot safer for our ... freshers that are just discovering alcohol.

"You don't see Auckland schoolboys dying from drinking too many jugs of cheap beer they bought at a pub," he said in the column.

In response, Prof Hayne said the university was "not opposed" to more student pubs in North Dunedin.

"This is because pubs can offer the opportunity for young people to drink in a supervised environment and to do other things while they are drinking," she said.

In order for pubs to be successful, they needed to "carefully observe the conditions of their liquor licences" including hours of opening and serving alcohol to intoxicated people, Prof Hayne said.

Students also needed to show respect to their neighbours on the way home from their nights out.

When asked about the university's decision to purchase the Gardens Tavern and the Bowler and convert them into research and study spaces, she said: "It's important to remember that both the Bowler and the Gardies, like many other pubs, found it challenging to keep their businesses viable as the number of off-licence venues offering much cheaper alcohol continued to rise.

"Although we are extremely pleased that these buildings now provide much-needed space for research, teaching and learning, the university is not opposed, in principle, to new pubs."

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, Mr Edgar said it was important any new bars had the right mix of entertainment and relatively low-priced alcohol.

"We need bars with more entertainment, good food to provide a balance with drinks that are a bit cheaper so you can afford to have your fun there, with staff to keep a check on punters," he said.

He said OUSA was not seeking to invest in a bar "at present", but was open to all options.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

 

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