No Whine Before Its Time

Before these students pass the bar, they'd like to belly up to one.

The wine-tasting was certainly intended as a fundraising gathering, and the club definitely qualifies as an organizational unit, since it's been around for three years, has officers, elections, a constitution and a website that advises members on how to take the LSAT, how to apply to law schools and how to plan for what will be a long, rigorous educational road. And the people invited to the wine-tasting have been promised not just responsible tastes of wine, but also hors d'oeuvre, sandwiches, dessert and coffee (Monkey Bean is one of the event's sponsors, and java is Sharman's usual beverage of choice), as well as ample networking opportunities.

Sharman took his research and contacted UCD Office of Student Life director Obe Hawkins, who passed him along to the controller's office. Finally, after a worry-filled week, he met with UCD officials and representatives of the controller's office on Tuesday, and the university agreed that the wine-tasting qualified as a special event. But reading further through other new university accounting rules, it now looked like a special event wouldn't qualify for student funds -- and without that $3,000 to seed the event, Sharman's not sure the fundraiser will raise any funds. And his event isn't the only one that might be affected by this new interpretation -- a fundraising concert the week after the wine-tasting, one that involves no alcohol at all but lots of good intentions, could also be endangered by the policies. "Because all of this is new, no one at CU-Denver seems to have any idea how to deal with the rules," Sharman says. "The great thing is, they're totally willing to work with us -- but is it worth it for us?

"The CU system is trying to put rules in place so that there can be no hint of scandal, no hint of impropriety," he continues. "They're trying to make things formal, as they can be in the business system. But we're students. We need more flexibility,"

Last year's wine-tasting attracted just fifty or sixty people, but Sharman and his board had set their sights much higher this year. "Since I've taken over as president, I realize we need to do more for students, and not so much for the legal community," Sharman says. "At Boulder, they have a law society, and it's no problem getting people to meetings at all."

But at a commuter campus like UCD, things are different. "We have a lot of members who are active," Sharman notes. "They're just not all active at the same time." They're responsible people, older, serious, not the problem group that the university is targeting with its alcohol policies.

But then, they are future lawyers. And given all the legal problems CU has faced over the past few years, maybe the university knows exactly what it's doing.

Cut them off!

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