When the Binghamton University campus pub closed on Thursday, May 7, 1998, no one knew what the future would hold. How long would this campus prohibition of sorts last? Could the campus pub ever re-emerge? Well, Cornell University might have just answered that question for us. And if the can of worms they opened means an eventual rebirth of a campus pub, buy us a round. We’re on board.
In an interview with Pipe Dream, University Police Chief Timothy Faughnan acknowledged that Cornell, as well as many other colleges, are starting to reopen campus pubs as a way to bring students back to campus and have them drink in a safe and controlled environment. Faughnan himself neither endorsed nor repudiated the proposal to open a pub again at BU, but acknowledged that if the issue came up here, he said “it certainly deserves some consideration by the campus.”
We agree with Faughnan’s sentiments and take them a step further. Why not just bring back the pub? We could put it in the old Dickinson Dining Hall, or the Old University Union, or the Bartle Library, wherever.
First, it’s worth noting what the atmosphere of a campus pub would be, and what it would serve to accomplish.
The new watering hole would not be, a bar/club/discotec/roller derby. During the pub’s heyday, it was certainly a more rowdy affair, but that was helped by the fact that anybody on campus was old enough to have a beer or seven. Today’s different, but that doesn’t mean this University couldn’t get a lot of value out of a space for older campus denizens to share a drink.
Ideally the new Pub would just be a pub, no frills. A place where amateur bands and start-up comedians can test the performing waters. A relaxing atmosphere for students and professors to meet and contemplate academia’s greatest mysteries. A place for alumni to throw back a few, remember good times and maybe get a little more generous when thinking of donating back to their alma mater.
But most importantly, a campus pub would create a controlled environment where of-age students can drink socially and casually, presumably, with substantially less State Street-esque debauchery or temptation to drive drunk. Plus, the University creates further incentive for upperclassmen to stay on campus and fill the bazillion new rooms in Newing College and the future Dickinson Community.
According to Faughnan, colleges and law enforcement should be wary of a changing society, adapt to those changes and be perpetually evaluating and re-evaluating certain decisions. Well, it’s time to re-evaluate our pub-less campus.
Faughnan hinted that it might, just might, be only a matter of time before Cornell’s decision to open a campus pub reverberates to the Southern Tier, and we await with bated breath.