A license to sell beer and wine at Western Maryland College would allow faculty, staff and students ages 21 and over to socialize in a "civilized" way, an administrator said yesterday.
Administrators at the Westminster college said the license also would help fund-raisingefforts and prevent violations for underage drinking, such as occurred last year.
WMC has applied for a Class C club license to serve beer and winein several locations at Decker Center, an activities building.
The county liquor board heard testimony concerning the application yesterday at a two-hour hearing.
Board members expressed concern that WMC does not meet the requirements for a club license, that about 72 percent of undergraduate students are under 21, and that WMC already has a liquor license at the Quality Inn in Westminster. Liquor law says an entity may have only one license in the county.
The liquor board will make a decision within 30 days.
Philip R. Sayre, vice president and dean of student affairs, said a club license would help prevent the problems that occurred last spring when WMC applied for one-day licenses to allow campus groups, including fraternities and sororities, to sell alcohol at events.
The liquor board found WMC guilty of allowing underage bartenders to serve beer, allowing people toleave a campus party with beer, and giving false information on liquor license applications.
The board penalized WMC by denying it allone-day licenses for a six-month period, which ended Dec. 1. WMC usually obtains about 100 one-day licenses, which cost $10 each, during each school year.
A club license costs $70 a year.
Last fall, WMC revised its student alcohol policy, making it "stricter," Sayre said. The changes require that alcohol be handled through the campus food service and served in a restricted area. Supervision and security have been increased, and student IDs are routinely checked.
A permanent liquor licensez would improve the social life for students 21 and over because they would not have to leave campus to buy beer and wine, Sayre said. It also would give those students an opportunity to mingle with faculty and staff members at happy hours and other eventsat Decker Center, he said.
Liquor board chairman Earle H. Brewer said the law requires that club license-holders charge dues and not be open to the public.
Laws also stipulate that 75 percent of the members be county residents. WMC may not meet those standards, he said.
WMC attorney William B. Dulany said the law specifies that educational institutions are eligible for club licenses.
Board member Russell Mayer said he was concerned about the connection between the Quality Inn on Route 140, which has a restaurant with a liquor license, and WMC.
Arthur S. Wisner, director of financial services and treasurer at WMC, said the WMC Development Corp., a for-profit subsidiary of the college, owns the hotel and restaurant. Financial records are kept separate from the college's, he said.
Also yesterday, the board heard testimony from three owners of the Fortune Inn Corp. who want to open a Chinese restaurant at the Roberts Field Shopping Center in Hampstead.
Mark L. Shane of Westminster, Tsz Sin Chung of Silver Spring, Montgomery County, and Man Sang Sin of Rockville, Montgomery County, applied for a Class B license to sell beer, wine and liquor.