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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, October 3, 2023

TCU senators conduct research to make case for on-campus pub

Brown and Brew is a potential location for an on-campus pub approved by TCU Senate on Feb. 24.

Tufts Community Union (TCU) senators who spearheaded a Feb. 21 proposal for an on-campus pub have been working to compile a report analyzing demand, safety and costs to present to Executive Vice President Patricia Campbell by the end of the semester.

Campbell, who oversees construction projects, dining and food service operations at Tufts, will play a deciding role in whether or not the university moves forward with the project. She explained that students should expect to know by next year if Tufts will have an on-campus pub, a decision that will be made based on the quality of the senators' report and subsequent research that the university will conduct.

In the coming week, the senators heading the project report — Peter McCawley, Ian Clarke and Rayane Haddar — plan on sending out a campus-wide survey to gauge student interest, as a part of their efforts to research the benefits, drawbacks and overall support for the creation of an on-campus pub. Clarke, a sophomore, said that student demand from first-years and sophomores is of particular interest because the senators hope that the project will be completed when those students will be of drinking age.

“Going forward...that information that we receive back will be released along with a bunch of other research [in the report to Campbell],” Clarke, a sophomore, said.

McCawley, a sophomore, explained that the general survey will potentially be paired with an individualized survey customized to particular groups, such as graduate students or faculty, to better understand the Tufts community's sentiments toward the creation of a pub. The surveys will likely be generated through use of the online survey generator Tufts Qualtrics, he said.

The senators said they will also seek out endorsements from groups on campus, as well as quotes from students, faculty and staff to gauge the benefits of an on-campus pub. In addition, the senators have been working with professors and other members of the Tufts community to create the "comprehensive report" on their initiative, according to McCawley.

The recent research the senators have conducted show that Brown and Brew Coffee House, located on the first floor of Curtis Hall, appears to be the most economically-viable location for an on-campus pub, according to McCawley and Clarke.

Campbell agreed that moving Brown and Brew to another location and creating the pub in its place in Curtis Hall would be the most effective means of minimizing project costs.

However, the senators are also exploring other possible venues for the pub, including ones which have served alcohol on campus in the past, such as Hotung Café and the Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center.

Years ago, alcohol was served at Tufts' former MacPhie Pub within Dewick-MacPhie. In an April 2013 interview with the Daily, former U.S. Senate candidate and Massachusetts State Representative Dan Winslow (LA '80) explained that the pub served as a central meeting place for community members to have important conversations.

"I spent many quality evenings at the MacPhie Pub, which is now [Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center]," he said at the time. "It was there that I and others hatched a plan to have a campus center to link the uphill and downhill portions of campus as a social magnet."

The senators have met with Patti Klos, director of Dining and Business Services, to discuss possible locations and the history of serving alcohol on campus, the senators explained.

At the moment, there are no cost estimates for the project, which would operate through Tufts University Dining Services (TUDS), Campbell said. While she plays a deciding role in the implementation of the project, Campbell explained that depending on the cost of an on-campus pub, the project proposal may also have to be presented to the Board of Trustees in order to secure the necessary funds.

This is not the first time there has been a TCU Senate initiative to bring a pub to the Medford/Somerville campus. On March 9, 2014, the Senate passed a resolution calling for the creation of an on-campus pub based on significant interest expressed by the student body in a 2013 survey.

According to the text of the resolution, 46.1 percent of 984 undergraduate survey respondents said they would "often" go to a Tufts pub open Thursday to Saturday nights, and 38.2 percent said they would go "sometimes."

Historically, safety has been the primary concern when this pub project was proposed in the past, Campbell said.

“I think there’s always a concern about the safety of our students," she said. "I believe the group of students who are involved in working on the suggestion are going to talk to us about how it would be managed, how would we make sure people are responsible and safe... in a time of limited resources.”

However, Campbell said that the administration is willing to discuss the feasibility of the project with students.

Executive Director of Operations Donna Golemme and the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) will be enlisted for assistance with the project, McCawley said.

McCawley also emphasized that an on-campus pub would create a new location for students over the age of 21 to gather and socialize, which would be a major benefit.

“I think there’s not a lot of social infrastructure for upperclassmen students ... having an on-campus pub would be a great central location for people to kind of gravitate to who are of age,” he said.

McCawley explained that there are also safety benefits to the establishment of an on-campus pub. He said that when students go off campus to get alcohol, they are subject to increased dangers, and it is much harder to keep track of them. Having a pub at Tufts would help alleviate this problem by creating a safer and more convenient location to drink and socialize on campus, he said.

“When you have students going to like [an off-campus] pub or The Burren, or anywhere else in Boston or Davis Square, they have to pass through residential areas, [neighborhoods]," McCawley said. "Students might get lost, they might end up passing out sometimes ... so it’s hard to monitor where students are instead of a centralized location."

He hopes that the addition of an on-campus pub would be a social benefit to the Tufts community but said it remains up to the senators' research to determine whether these benefits can be actualized.

Campbell said that her approval on the project is contingent on the senators presenting a strong case for the pub.

“If it were to happen, it would be because the students have done good research; they have demonstrated that is something that the student body wants, and that it’s something you can operate in a reasonable way,” Campbell said.