Proposed alcohol tax fails to make ballot, affect campus

Petitioners couldn’t get the more than 7,000 signatures they needed to put a 10 percent wholesale alcohol tax on the 2008 ballot, Anchorage municipal clerks report.

The tax’s proponents said it would enable the city to reduce alcohol-related crimes.

University police said the tax would not reduce the number of students already choosing to drink illegally on campus.

University Police Department Chief Dale Pittman said 176 minors were charged for drinking on UAA’s campus in the last 12 months. That number doesn’t include other types of alcohol-related citations issued on campus.

Before the proposed alcohol tax failed, Anchorage assembly member Allen Tesche, who favored the proposal, said in an e-mail interview that the alcohol tax would create $11 million in revenue that could have funded additional police work and patrol vans meant to escort drunks off the streets.

Drinking has been reported in several criminal cases on the UAA campus this semester, including one rape case and multiple thefts, according to police reports.

Students in housing aged 21 and older can have up to 144 ounces of beer, or 750 milliliters, of alcohol in their entire apartment or suite, according to the UAA Guide to Living on Campus. For residences where two more students live those numbers double.

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“You can’t get away with much,” said 19-year-old student Nolan Oliver. “One of my friends got locked out of his room while he was drunk, and he decided to go get the (resident adviser) to get a key without telling any of us first. The RA opened the door, saw the bottle of rum along with two or three drunk guys, then closed the door and called the cops.”

Michael Votava, assistant director of Residence Life and Main Apartment Complex coordinator, said he recommends students stay away from alcohol altogether.

He said they should party with juice or milk instead.

“By in large, I feel that UAA’s residential community is a very safe place to live,” he said. “University police pass through our community on an ongoing basis. Residence Life staff members do rounds each evening throughout the community.”

Residence Life does a lot to enrich the college experience of students, he added.

“First-year students have the opportunity to live in the North Hall First Year Experience Program or West Hall First Year Focus program,” he said. “Both programs have a 10-to-1 student-to-staff ratio, which is one of the best in the country.”