U of C won't allow campus bar to sell alcohol for Bermuda Shorts Day

The University of Calgary's Students Union says it will shut the Den today after the university said the campus bar won't be allowed to sell alcohol for Bermuda Shorts Day, an annual year-end party.

U of C students won't be drinking at the Den today, but separate beer gardens will offer up booze

These early birds get ready for the lineup at Bermuda Shorts Day at the University of Calgary. It's the last day of classes that thousands of students celebrate with alcohol and live bands. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

There will be lots of drinking on the University of Calgary campus Wednesday for Bermuda Short's Day (BSD), but none of it will be at the Den.

The Students' Union (SU), which operates the popular campus bar in MacEwan Hall, decided to close the venue during the annual end-of-semester booze-up after U of C administrators said the Den wouldn't be allowed to sell alcohol.

The SU was told Tuesday it wouldn't be allowed to serve alcohol at the Den during BSD.

The university said it was only notified on Monday that the SU wanted to have the Den open for BSD, something that has not happened since 2009. 

Prior to that, partying at the Den was a big part of the festivities on BSD, which has been a campus tradition since the 1960s.

Some U of C students on Bermuda Shorts Day 2016. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

SU disappointed with decision

In an online response to the controversy, chief of campus security Brian Sembo said his organization wasn't given enough time to prepare for the added risk.

"It is unreasonable to assume that we can plan and provide the additional safety resources necessary to mitigate risk to our campus community at this late stage," he said. 

The Den could have remained open to serve food, but the SU decided to shut it down entirely.

On its website, the SU said it is disappointed with the decision and believes that its security measures would have provided a safe environment for students.

"The SU has managed the Den for more than 45 years and is proud of the incredible track record in safety with AGLC (Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission), Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Police Service," the SU said.

Alcohol will still be sold at the BSD beer gardens, in a separate location, at parking lot 32 on the east side of campus.

The Den will reopen Thursday.


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