By Barry Ramirez
The struggle to open up a pub on campus, to imbibe a cold yeasty brew, was short, but arduous—spanning just over five years. From April of 1978, when CSUB trustees approved the sale of beer and wine at state universities, to when the first draft was served at the meta-titled “The Pub” on Sept. 12, 1983, there were both technical and moral obstacles to vault.
After the approval in April 1978, it was suggested by students to then President Jacob Frankel that a pub be built on campus. This was readily dismissed by Frankel on the grounds that there wasn’t an “appropriate” place at CSUB for the establishment. However, as the annals tell us, by Jan. of 1979 the first student association committee (SAC) was formed and inquiries and investigations began concerning the strictures and requirements for a pub on campus (space, finance, health codes, laws, beverage control).
Three years later, in Jan. of 1981, Frankel’s position had shifted like due to student pressure concentrated in the SAC. (A student questionnaire at time proved that 90 percent of students were in support of a pub on campus).
When posed the question whether or not CSUB would have a pub, he is reported arguing that the chief problem was financial feasibility. Because the university didn’t subsidize for entertainments of a tipsy order, it would require a strong financial proposal from a private source such as—at the time—SAGA food services. Further, Frankel reported that “suitable controls” would have to be created to thwart underage adults from drinking.
In June of 1981, 487 signatures to petition for the pub were gathered at the last student council meeting of the year. The president of student council at the time, Dwight Smith, reported the pub as a “top priority.”
There were, however, hurdles that needed to be bounded for the pub to become a reality on campus: a majority approval on AS council with a letter of intent stating the extent of their commitment in the creation of the pub and an assumption of partial financial responsibility for it’s creation ($45,000),
It would be in February of 1982, that the CSUB Christian Union began it’s humorless crusade against the sale of alcohol on campus. A petition was formed that read, “We consider the sale of alcohol on campus deplorable and inconducive to n academic environment. We believe the sale of alcoholic beverages at this campus is highly undesirable.” One can only speculate that they hadn’t read Ernest Hemmingway or Hunter S. Thompson; 120 people signed the petition.
The process of applying for a liquor license was long and tedious. Signs had to be posted at the entrances to campus and cafeteria windows indicating the intent to sell and there was a 30 day filing period for letters of objection. By August of 1982, $24,000 of student funds were spent in the construction of the pub. The project was finished and opened on Oct. 4.
Alcohol was scheduled to be served the following month, when a formal appeal was filed by an off campus source: Elizabeth Van Alystne. The state court of appeal ruled that the protests against the pub’s liquor license should be heard by the California’s Liquor License Agency with the original, $20,000 fee for formal complaint waived. Further, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeal Board had to justify it’s reasons for demanding the fee. It cited that a law required the board to raise its revenue for its operations. In May of that year, a surcharge is riveted to all liquor licenses to cover the Appeals Board expenses. This offered the opponents of a pub on campus who could not afford the fee, a chance to appeal the Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s decision to grant CSUB a liquor license.
Due to a lack of substantial evidence against the granting of the license, the Appeals Board decided to overrule the opponents of the pub at CSUB.
While they had a 30-day filing period to appeal the decision, they decided to give up the tussle.