From happening bar, to snack bar and coffee bar? The Levee, amid controversy, is struggling to find its niche.

There is an investigation underway concerning a discrepancy on the part of staff members and patrons at the Levee, said Matthew Dinnan, associate dean of students and permittee of the Levee Pub.

According to Jerry Aversano ’02, the Levee manager, a student on the staff endangered the Levee policy through an alcohol-related incident while bartending.

“A staff member had jeopardized the operation by violating Fairfield University and Connecticut state alcohol regulation, policy and code,” said a statement given to the Levee staff by an official.

The pub will remain open limited hours for the rest of the semester, according to university officials. It will be closed this Thursday and Friday, but opened Saturday from 12:00p.m. to 7:00p.m.

“I need to feel comfortable that the pub is being run effectively and efficiently,” said Dinnan. “If it’s not, I don’t feel comfortable unless a member of my staff is directly supervising it.”

Rumors have been flying around campus that the Levee is going to be shut down or even taken over by something else. But that’s not true, according to Dinnan. The Levee as a programming entity is still active. Events, like this past weekends Junior/Senior Mug Night, have just been moved to the campus center.

Levee bartenders are trained. They go through TIPS, a nationally recognized training program. But their job is not easy, as they face a lot of peer-pressure from underage friends who want to purchase alcohol.

“If you’re a bartender and a student, there’s a lot of pressure, but it’s the job to abide by the law,” said Dinnan. “The pub is a legal entity. It’s a privilege, not a right, and it’s subject to university and state law.”

The Levee is struggling to find its place. It may be transformed into a coffee bar or a pizza place. It really depends on what students want, said Dinnan.

“If it’s between coffee bar and closing it for good, it sounds like a good idea,” said Gabrielle Roazzi, ’04. “They need to get some decent coffee there though, not the charred beans they brew now.”

Focus groups met and discussed what they feel the Levee should be. Among the suggestions that were brought up were giving the Levee a more living room style, with more televisions, and direct TV. Officials hope those changes will bring more students to the Levee.

“The Levee is in a great location, it’s a nice little building with a lot to offer,” said Dora DeNardo, ’04. “I just wish they did more with it.”

“I wasn’t here when it used to be a bar, so I don’t know what it was like then, but I miss going there for lunch or dinner,” said Jen Barrett, ’04. “It was a nice comfortable atmosphere and had a lot to offer.”

Other students are upset with Levee Bar tradition waning.

“It’s ridiculous that these kids can ruin a tradition for the upper classmen,” said Eric Kaul, ’02. “The Levee shouldn’t hire freshman anymore. They have spoiled the tradition for the rest of us.”

The Levee has been open as a bar for seven years. This school year it opened as a temporary snack bar until the new Stag reopened in the Barone Campus Center.

The Levee reopened Homecoming Weekend 2001 as a bar only, licensed to sell beer and wine.

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