Monday, February 21, 2011

Alcohol on Campus Visits

I always think that there is nothing more American Puritans can do to surprise me but not to fear! They keep coming up with new ways of  making a show of their prissiness. It turns out that no alcohol can be had at the dinners we offer our job candidate during his campus visit. Or, at least, the university will not reimburse that part of the restaurant bill.

The reason why a person who has just gone through a grueling campus visit cannot have a glass of wine or a beer at the end of the day at the expense of the university that invited him for the grueling campus visit is something I will never be able to understand. If there is some crucial difference between a can of soda and a glass of wine, I am failing to see it. Is it the fear that somebody, God forbid, will have a tiny shred of fun on the university's money that's driving this policy? Is it the fear that after one drink the candidate will become a raging alcoholic and will sue the school for making him one? Or is it simply one of those manifestations that employees are actually human that terrifies administrators out of their wits?

And, of course, I will be offering the candidate a drink and paying for it myself. After everything we've put him through today and will tomorrow, that's the least I can do.


Leah Jane said...

Mein Gott!
I suppose next they'll only reimburse the meal if you order a house salad or fish. Can't have the candidate's cholesterol go through the roof on the university's bill, that's a rich lawsuit minefield right there.

Clarissa said...

Maybe we should stop feeding them altogether to promote the First Lady's plan for healthy eating in a very brown-nosing way. :-)

Let's mortify our flesh and that of the candidates!!

Z said...

It's about state $ and the audits. Think of the legislators who would drink daily, to excess. Think also, public records, the headlines: "Professors drink on taxpayers' money." That's why.

Clarissa said...

I'll never get Americanized enough to understand this. :-)

Anonymous said...

I was born and grew up in America, and I still don't understand it.

Just the Puritan mindset, I guess.


Z said...

The mentality is that we are freeloading state workers. In our case, we also don't get funding for food for outside speakers. Someone you invite to speak is a friend of sorts, or a colleague you want to cultivate. So if you invite them and also feed them, it amounts to you having a meal with a friend or making a business connection of benefit to you on state money. This really is how they see it (although if we were a business, not state funded, they would understand why one should feed the person on the company dime).

Clarissa said...

Idiots. I'm sorry, I'm too tired for politeness right now. This "let's not allow the lazy professor to freeload" mentality is too annoying.

Pagan Topologist said...

We have exactly the same policy. The only people who are permitted to spend University funds on alcohol are the president and fundraisers who talk to people to solicit donations from potential donors. I think it is the ghost of the Prohibition era which stubbornly refuses to leave.

Having to pay for drinks ordered by university guests is one of the duties of people who entertain them.

Clarissa said...

The candidate refused my offer of a drink on me, which made me immediately suspicious. We are a foreign languages department. Fun is what we do. :-)

Anonymous said...

Candidates for jobs are commonly advised not to imbibe when they are on job interviews that take place at a restaurant, for fear the interviewer might think they have a drinking problem. There's a whole bunch of HR articles telling you what not to order -- anything with tiny bones, nothing that you need to slurp, etc. I don't know if that's true for academia. An example:
Handling a Meal Successfully During a Job Interview

Try offering a bottle of wine and cheese to your advanced senior seminar students or your graduate students (assuming that they're all over 21 and not recovering alcoholics) on the last day of class. Will they all wait for you to eat and drink first?

NancyP said...

Heaven forbid that a lowly state university employee be allowed to offer a candidate a beer or wine after that person has traveled a long way to interview at that univ. Only state legislators and governors are allowed to feed at the public trough.

The state budgets are in deep shit, generally speaking, and I don't think that the state should be paying for an open bar for its employees (even the Gov.). However, what might not be appropriate for the employee is certainly appropriate for the guest.

I don't mind paying for my own drink or for a guest's drink.

What is unconscionable is cutting off health care for low-income (near-poverty, but higher than medicaid limit) workers.

NancyP said...

Clarissa, there are people who don't drink or who drink sparingly. Under some conditions, I can get migraine from small amounts of alcohol (12 oz beer or 6 oz wine). I find this irritating because I do like a nice stout or full-bodied red from time to time, but I would rather do without the beer or wine than have the headache.