Faculty, students differ on last call extension effects

By Joey Metz | gargoyle@flagler.edu

It’s official, the 2 a.m. law is now in effect.

With some upper-level students staying out too late as it was, will this change prove to be a step backwards?

On Dec. 19, St. Johns County passed a law granting the permission of alcoholic sales until 2 a.m., and the city commission extended last call to 2 a.m. on Feb. 5.

Robert Panepinto of the Business department thinks it could be too early for him to tell, but has noticed his Friday morning class on Jan. 29 had a fairly large absentee list of five students.

He said hasn’t noticed any early morning students appearing to be less attentive or any notable difference in participation. Panepinto thinks the new 2 a.m. rule could be a good thing if students realize that they have an extra hour and drink in moderation, rather than trying to guzzle it all down before 1 a.m.

Dr. Matthew Wysocki of the communication department has noticed no real change in his class room attendance or participation.

Wysocki believes it will be better for the drinking establishments’ revenue, but doesn’t think it should have too much bearing on whether it will make a tremendous difference or not.

“A classroom’s participation depends on the class,” he said. “In a class where no one is willing to participate, the few that would aren’t going to.”

Sarah Kelly from the art department thinks that the new rule won’t make a difference. In her experience, she said she’s noted that people will drink whenever they want to, regardless of any laws extending or lessening the hours of legal alcohol consumption.

Kelly said most people who are out drinking late know what they’re doing and they are taking responsibility for their own actions by being the ones to do the actual drinking.

“It should not be a problem if you have respect for yourself and for others,” she said.

Kelly also believes that, rather than being upset with the bars for a student’s progress, there should be more effort into mentoring younger generations so they can tell right from wrong and when another drink can be one too many.

Dr. Tamara Wilson of the English department has not noticed any change, either. Wilson believes that it is the responsibility of the student to make it to class on time. If that means not staying for last call at the bar, so be it.

Charles Walsh, a former student at Flagler College and current resident of St. Augustine, admits that he has been staying out at the bars later as long as there is a cab or a sober ride waiting for him.

His current roommates are still students at Flagler College and he has noticed a few more days of late sleeping that last semester.

“I don’t think the bars being open late would be a problem if everyone went home afterwards, but they usually want to go hang with friends after which turns it into an all night affair,” he said.

Michael Close, a current senior at Flagler College, noticed the first time he went out since the new law that he may have had one too many, resulting in sleeping in and missing class. He has since realized he needs to pace himself.

“The first night was a real wake up call,” Close said. “In the back of my mind I kept thinking we were getting shooed out at 1 a.m., and when I realized we had another hour I had a few more drinks. It got bananas.”

One student, however, really favored the new law. Cory Bohner, a local DJ, is excited about the change and looking forward to the business.

“It’ll be great to be able to play music for another whole hour, instead of getting rushed out between 12:45 and 1:00,” he said. “Hopefully another hour of dancing can help sober people up, too.”

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