A tragic scene occurred at Campus Bar & Grill and then Harpo’s on Wednesday night. Jamie Ellen, a member of Sigma Sigma Alpha, was celebrating her 21st birthday, which took a turn for the worst when both bars tried to charge her for the alcohol that she had been drinking.
“It happens a lot more than you think,” Joe Lane, bartender at Campus Bar & Grill, said. “Many sorority girls don’t seem to understand that alcohol costs money.”
According to a study performed by Professor Jane Sun of the University of Missouri Psychology Department, 88% of sorority girls are unaware that alcohol costs money. It appears that this view is perpetuated by the Fraternity Party Culture, of which many sorority girls are a part.
“These girls are tricked by all of the well-meaning members of fraternities who just genuinely want them to enjoy their weekends,” Sun said. “These boys are so nice that they never even mention how expensive it can be to throw such parties. In this case, it appears chivalry is blinding these girls and their views of the world.”
Ellen ran up tabs that totaled almost $45 at the two bars combined, which neither her nor her friends were able to pay for. None of them, all members of Sigma Sigma Alpha, had brought any money with them.
“I just brought what I brought every other time I went out drinking,” Ellen said. “I had my driver’s license, my room key, three types of lipstick and an extra thong.”
Both Campus Bar & Grill and Harpo’s have plans for when instances such as these occur. Campus Bar & Grill has Delta Iota Kappa, a fraternity, on speed dial. Delta Iota Kappa will pay the tabs that the girls have accrued and Campus Bar & Grill will host monthly events for the fraternity. Harpo’s plan is slightly more complicated.
“Technically, I guess, they work it off,” James McJames, bartender and night-manager, said. “We just have them waitress on another night. They don’t really mind it, especially if you ask them when they’ve been drinking.”
It is still unclear why Ellen and her friends went to a second bar after not having any money to pay for their drinks at the first. The bars of Columbia are working on a plan to better publicize the fact that sorority girls do not, in fact, drink for free for life.