Coffman boasts rare licensed liquor sales at Campus Club

Emily Johns

The Campus Club, located on Coffman Union’s fourth floor, provides a place for faculty, staff, students, alumni, regents and donors to relax, eat – and have a few drinks at the bar.

Although the Board of Regents’ policy on alcohol prohibits drinking on campus, there are two little-known exceptions.

Northrop Auditorium and the Campus Club are the only places on campus authorized to serve alcohol, said Dianna Gardner, administrative director of the president’s office, which enforces the campus alcohol policy.

“Because they have their own liquor license, they are approved by the state to be able to serve alcohol,” Gardner said. “They have their own policies in place.”

The Campus Club had to reinstate its liquor license when it reopened after the Coffman Union renovation, said Ann Holt, the club’s executive director.

At a cost of $9,000, reinstating the club’s license included showing the City of Minneapolis proof of the club’s liability insurance, copies of agreements between the club and the University, information on the organization’s governance, special zoning certificates and a business plan, Holt said.

The Campus Club is open to members only. Students, faculty, staff, regents, donors and alumni can join for various membership fees. A regular membership for faculty, staff, students or regents is $180 per year.

The McNamara alumni center has also obtained exemptions from the University’s alcohol policy.

Alcohol is not allowed in any campus offices in the building but can be served in the alumni center’s main atrium, where most receptions are held.

Alcohol is allowed there because the Gateway Corporation privately owns the first floor, Gardner said.

“That is considered private property, not University property, so they are exempt from following (the policy),” she said.

Northrop Auditorium is the only other place on campus completely exempt from the University’s policy. Holt said although the University has to support Northrop and the Campus Club in their liquor license applications, those locations do not need the University’s approval to serve alcohol once the licenses are granted.

The University also has an application available to any student organization, faculty member or employee to apply for an exemption from the regents’ alcohol policy.

The two-page application requires information regarding the nature of the event, what type of alcohol will be served and where the money for alcohol is coming from.

The applications are usually approved, Gardner said.

She said the most frequent reason to deny an application is inappropriate funding for the alcohol.

Gardner said alcohol cannot be paid for with University funds or other public money and cannot be included in an event’s admission fee.

According to the application, student activities money is not considered University funding, so alcohol purchased with it is permitted.

Emily Johns welcomes comments at [email protected]