City Council votes ‘yes’ for debauchery

Somewhere in the galaxy, a very funky constellation has just burned out, courtesy of, yep, The Man. Burlington City Council, in a resolution passed over the summer and put into effect this October, has revoked the rights of students on the dance floor, enacting legislature virtually eliminating the 18+ club night from the downtown list of off-campus offerings. While in the past Burlington nightclubs such as Lift or Rasputin’s were able to submit the required application to host 18+ nights on a weekly basis, Burlington officials will now be assessing these requests case by case, granting their approval only in light of certain “special occasions.” Exactly what constitutes such exclusive circumstances neither I nor anybody else seem to know. Jim Douglas’ birthday, the Feast of St. Basil, Haley’s Comet, Rosh Hashanah, an eclipse — your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps it’s just a day when city council feels especially snappy. One thing’s for certain though and that is the implicit infrequency of future 18+ events — which we can only expect to take an unfortunate toll on downtown businesses and on-campus civility alike. In a downtown night scene that’s growing increasingly more difficult for underage students to partake in, city officials should recognize the tremendous opportunity for local business and economy with weekly 18+ events. One must consider that it’s not just the clubs being affected by this legislature, the damage extends well beyond the dance floor. Pizza places, coffee shops, convenience stores, restaurants — all those after-dance-hall dives — can be expected to suffer with the exclusion of over half the student body from the late-night downtown scene. After all, where else can one go, past 11 p.m., underage? The way I see it there are two options: campus or the streets. Police concerns with the excessive amounts of pre-club binge drinking and subsequent spike in downtown drunks offer one possible explanation for the resolution. The Burlington Police Department expressed frustration in an interview with WCAX News, complaining about constantly having to station officers outside clubs specifically to deal with underage drinking. Coming from a department that lately seems infatuated with the issuing of citations, setting up a veritable ticket-booth just outside these underage hot spots should be met with relish. The city is ultimately setting themselves up for more loitering, noise and police needed on the streets, regardless of students’ sobriety level. Of course, for those of us that choose to remain on campus, conditions are equally as grim. Remember glow stick boy from Club Metronome? Turns out he’s my neighbor, and he’s still getting his Daft on every Thursday from 10 till 2, club or no club. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for a good rave, but with Lift now off limits I’m having to deal with blacklight lad a bit more frequently than I’d care to. Not only that, but with fewer downtown draws on the weekend, more students are staying in and partying out of sheer boredom. This decision isn’t discouraging drunkenness downtown, it’s concentrating and confining it to the college campus. While it is unfortunate to see such a resolution enacted, the mentality behind it, though indeed inordinate, is clear: The fun of so many is being ruined by the actions of the few who’ve yet to realize that the downtown area is not the place to show off their drinking tolerance. We as students need to prove to this city that we are mature and capable of cutting lose safely. Let’s show police and community members that those drunken Huns are the minority, and put the boogie back in Burlington.