Downtown Bars Will Not Shut Down for State Patty’s Day
In the Board of Trustees’ Academic Affairs and Student Life committee meeting today, Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said the university will not pay bars to shut down during State Patty’s Day this year.
For the past two years, the university paid bars to close their doors to patrons on State Patty’s Day in efforts to end the holiday once and for all. In 2013, the Campus-Community Partnership on Dangerous Drinking and the Tavern Association of State College reached a mutual agreement to make downtown State College dry for State Patty’s Day. In return for shutting down, each establishment received $5,000 to make up for revenue lost.
The following year downtown alcohol sales were curtailed again, but the decision was not reached quite as easily. There was not a unified agreement by the Tavern Association, so each individual bar could decide whether or not to take the bribe. There was a four-tier system of payment, based on the establishments’ occupancy, ranging from $2,500 to $7,500. 34 out of 35 bars took the deal, with Spat’s as the lone exception.
Where did the money to pay off the bars come from? Don’t worry, it wasn’t tuition. It came from your parking fines. The fines go into the Student Parking Endowment, which funds things like student leader scholarships, HUB Late-Night events, late night CATA Loops, and other student events and services. However, the money used to pay bars was a surplus, so none of those programs took any cuts from previous years’ totals.
This year, however, things have changed. Sims said that the surplus in that fund has simply run out, and there are no funds available to pay the bars another year. When asked if the decision to not pay the bars was due to a confidence in the effective death of the holiday, he said that certainly wasn’t the case. In an effort to fill the void in the week between THON and spring break, a new spring festival called THAW is being planned, which will include musical acts and a film festival. Though the holiday has dwindled recently, it remains to be seen what the open bars will do for State Patty’s this year.