"This disco wouldn't be as good if beer was unavailable here"
There was a time when alcohol flowed like water for students on this campus. There was a time when the Rathskellar sold beer and the legal drinking age was 19. A statewide referendum changed all that in 1983. This Review article chronicles the change in Oberlin’s drinking landscape that followed this calamitous legislation.
–The News Team
A state-wide referendum on today’s ballot may threaten the quality of life on campus, according to senior Michael Hindi, student manager of Dionysus, Oberlin’s disco.
Issue 1 would raise the legal drinking age for beer in Ohio from 19 to 21, the current age restriction for drinking wine and liquor.
If passed, the law will go into effect Jan. 1. The Rathskeller and Dionysus — the main sources for beer on campus — have only tentative plans for complying with the law due to the implementation date.
John Metzger, assistant manager of the Rat, said they have two options if the law is passed. One is putting a red dot on the student I.D.s of every student under 21, such as the policy is now for those under 19.
He said the other option is to stop selling beer altogether at the Rat. Metzgar said drying out the Rat would probably not affect its popularity because there are few other places where students can go to meet friends socially. He said that instead of beer, that they might offer a more varied dinner menu, including special “dinner-like” meals.
Hindi said the decision about whether beer will continue to be sold at the disco is in the hands of Food Service, adding that it was likely they will stop if the issue passes. Hiring a bartender, he said, would not be economically feasible if only 20 people buy beer.
“Western civilization has developed to the point where alcohol is allowed in discos,” Hindi said. “And now a few reactionary forces in our society want to deny us this freedom to express ourselves in inebriated states of ecstacy — not to be confused with the state of Ohio.”
Hindi said, “This disco wouldn’t be as good if beer was unavailable here.”