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Bismarck State College will not change its no-alcohol policy even if a change in North Dakota University System policy gives it the authority.

A change approved unanimously by the State Board of Higher Education’s Academic and Student Affairs committee Tuesday would allow the 11 public colleges and universities under the state university system to set their own alcohol policy.

Current policy requires the university system chancellor to adopt procedures and policies for alcohol that are implemented at all system campuses.

The university system policy change will need to be approved by the full board, which meets next Thursday at the Capitol.

“I really don’t see it changing (at BSC). I think the college likes having that policy in place that says, ‘Hey, this is a place for learning, for growing, not necessarily for having a drinking good time,'” said Matthew Giddings, the school's safety and security manager.

The University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University both have prominent NCAA Division I athletics programs, and the two schools would benefit the most from the ability set their own alcohol policy.

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BSC’s policy prohibits students and faculty from bringing or using alcohol on campus. Some events can get preapproved by the college president to allow alcohol.

“So like when the Larks put on that Beer and Donut festival down in the (Community) Bowl, that had to get approval from the president. It’d be events like that where it’s not necessarily geared towards our BSC students, but it’s more geared toward the Bismarck community,” Giddings said.

BSC approves a handful of alcohol permits a year, and security must be present at any events with alcohol. The college does not approve alcohol at any school events, however, and students are not allowed to promote or sponsor any alcohol-related events on campus.

The University Of Mary would not be affected by a public university system policy change since it is a private university. University officials were not immediately available Wednesday for comment on their alcohol policies.

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Reach Bilal Suleiman at 701-250-8261 or Bilal.Suleiman@bismarcktribune.com

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