Knoxville — The University of Tennessee's alcohol policy could soon change.
UT Vice Chancellor for Student Life Vincent Carilli gave an update on the findings of the Alcohol Policy Task Force Friday.
The Task Force released a set of ten recommendations for the university to consider Friday.
Right now, the University's policy states: “University regulations prohibit all student organizations from serving or permitting the consumption, possession, or display of any alcoholic beverage or containers at any time, or by anyone on university premises. Student organization officers are responsible for refusing admission to their social gatherings of persons under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Student organizations sponsoring any social affair are responsible for its general decorum.”
The first recommendation states the distribution, possession, and consumption of alcohol by individuals on campus aged 21 or over is allowed at pre-approved, registered on-campus events, within the parameters of all state, federal, and local laws.
"This is just the first step in the process, but it's a step toward a good direction," SGA President Ovi Kabir said.
Other recommendations include limiting alcohol to beer and wine, and not allowing community containers.
According to the recommendation documents, in the fall of 2017, the University of Tennessee Knoxville Alcohol Policy Task Force (APTF or “the Task Force”) held its first meeting. Within the past several years, there have been myriad conversations concerning the University’s alcohol policy with both campus and community partners.
The documents states the Alcohol Policy Task Force provides an opportunity for input from students, staff and the community on the university’s alcohol policy.
The intention, they say, is to provide recommendations to improve the alcohol policy so the campus can be the best it can be.
"We want to see that students can be able to drink in a proper place, if they're of the age, and have people help them out if any issues arise," Kabir said.
The Student Government Association at UT has pushed to change the alcohol policy for years.
In a 2015 SGA survey, most students said they were dissatisfied with the current alcohol policy, according to the Task Force recommendation.
In response, the recommendation says SGA proposed policy revisions in 2016 that included allowing any person over the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol in designated locations on campus (including residence halls and fraternity and sorority houses), banning common source containers of alcohol, and requiring any event sponsored by a university entity to register with the Division of Student Life.
Faculty and staff chimed in as well, saying the current alcohol policy negatively impacts their ability to conduct university business. That includes honoring special guests at events or hosting prospective graduate students.
"I think that the possibility of some of those recommendations being accepted is real," said Vice Chancellor of Student Life Vincent Carilli. "I don't know and I would not commit to all of them being accepted."
Carilli is on the Task Force.
He says looking at the policies of other universities, like Alabama, Georgia and Florida, helped open the door to the changes.
"Clearly other institutions do it a little differently than UTK does," Carilli said.
But those changes won't apply to athletic events, at least for now, because of SEC rules.
"That conversation with the SEC is happening, I would say in fits and starts," Carilli said. "I have not been involved with that so I can't speak definitively on that...But the SEC is not ready to commit to any type of change in that policy, as of now."
Carilli says he doesn't have a timeline for any of the recommendations.
He says now, it's time for the university to make a move.