A new organization established itself in the Student Center (formally known as the Student Union) that many students welcomed with open arms and empty glasses. In February 1974, a Pub was incorporated onto the campus.
Planning and organization of the Pub began a year prior, with campus members deliberating the logistics of the establishment such as membership and location.
The Pub came into being from the efforts of students forming an organization to make their dreams a reality.
There was some misunderstanding over what exactly the group had to do to make the Pub official.
At first, it was thought that the group had to be an organization on campus for at least a year before it could acquire a liquor license, but after reviewing local and state laws, it was discovered that all the organization had to do was become a corporation.
During the planning process, Pub President Rick Pare said, “As soon as our constitution is ratified and we become incorporated, we’ll be ready to go.”
Over the planning process, Pare said he had visited the successful on-campus pubs at Franklin Pierce College, New England College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst to get ideas for KSC.
Pare and the rest of the organization had a lot of support from the student body. According to a campus poll from when the idea was first introduced, 456 people were in support of the Pub while only 12 were against it.
Pare said that the poll also indicated the Student Union to be the most desirable pace for the establishment.
Pare also announced that the Pub would be entirely student owned and operated and all the revenue pulled from the Pub went back to the Student Union.
Despite the potential benefits of the Pub, there were still some on campus who believed that an on-campus drinking establishment would lead to nothing but trouble. According to an editorial in The Equinox during the planning process, there were concerns that intoxicated students would regularly cause trouble.
One specific concern was what would happen when concerts were hosted in the Mabel Brown Room; with alcohol so accessible, students could easily get extremely drunk and cause a disturbance at the show.
Another concern was for the TV room and commuter’s lounge in the Student Union.
“No one wants to watch Masterpiece Theatre or study while being hassled by inebriated students,” the author of the article wrote.
Other than the concerns for social disturbances, there were also concerns of physical destruction such as vandalism. Those who had concerns advocated for the Pub being built elsewhere. “The overwhelming majority of the students favor the Pub, and we recognize that one is going to be built somewhere. But the Student Union is absolutely the worst possible site.”
Despite concerns, in the first week after KSC’s President Leo F. Redfern cut the red ribbon, the Pub did extremely well according to Pub’s operation manager Paul Lassens, who announced, “about 99 percent of the reaction to the Pub has been favorable.”
Lassens said that only four mugs and two pitchers were lost or broken in their first week of operation and they have yet to encounter a student disorderly enough to be kicked out.
Lassens reported that, in the first five days of operation, students and guests consumed about 18 kegs of beer and spent about $1,200 on beer, sodas and snacks.
On its first Friday and Saturday nights, the Pub was filled with, what Lassens describes as, “happy singing groups.” Although some patrons did get a little rowdy, Lassens believes that students are not the ones causing trouble.
“The great majority of members seem to respect what we are doing. It’s a club, and members have certain responsibilities,” Lassens said. The two dollar Pub membership cards allowed for more than just loyalty discounts.
The cards allow for the Pub to be operated as a private club, and Lassens said that about 500 students, faculty and staff have purchased membership cards; those who have memberships can vote to have the Pub’s constitution amended or run for the board of directors.
When week one came to a close, the Student Union Director James C. Milani said, “[the opening] really was delightfully surprising… Students have behaved and reacted as though the Pub has always been there.”
Abbygail Vasas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org