Several Elizabeth City State University alumni said Saturday they would support the sale of alcohol at ECSU athletic events.
The alumni discussed several issues, from alcohol sales to new Chancellor Karrie Dixon, while tailgating ahead of Saturday’s homecoming football game against the Lincoln University Lions at Roebuck Stadium.
Robin Moody-McMcmillion, a member of the class of 1988, is attending homecoming this weekend from Baltimore, Maryland.
“I came back because this is my family,” she said, referring to the blue-and-gray clad gathering of alumni. “This is a family atmosphere.”
She said she would support alcohol sales because she thinks alumni would drink responsibly. That’s because the sale of alcohol would generate revenue for ECSU, and that’s something the alumni would respect, she said.
“They’re going to drink responsibly,” she said. “I support that because they would drink responsibly.”
Earlier this year the General Assembly passed an exception to the general prohibition in North Carolina law on alcohol sales at the state’s public schools, colleges and universities. The exception allows UNC system schools, including ECSU, to issue permits for alcohol sales at athletic events.
The ESCU Board of Trustees learned more about the issue at their September meeting but did not take action.
“There’s a lot of dialogue about alcohol policy” across the UNC system, Trustee Kim Brown said at the time.
At their meeting, ECSU Athletic Director George Bright provided trustees with a packet of information on the topic. At the time, according to that information, eight UNC campuses had voted to allow alcohol to be served at sporting events for at least one year.
Moody-McMillion, who majored in criminal justice at ECSU, also commented on the significant growth the campus has undergone in the last few years. In particular, she noted the new STEM Complex, which opened this past summer.
“Oh, my gosh, that’s excellent,” she said.
The Maryland native also expressed her satisfaction with the job done so far by new ECSU Chancellor Karrie Dixon.
“She’s going to bring about a different change, a different atmosphere,” Moody-McMillion said.
Three alumni were especially happy to spend time together Saturday.
Gwen Lawrence, Sheryl Ganus and Tracey Cobb all grew up in separate parts of Long Island, New York, but didn’t meet until they arrived on campus.
“We all came from New York to go to school here in 1984,” said Lawrence, who now lives in Raleigh.
The three also said they would have no problem with alcohol sold at ECSU athletic events.
“It’s not a big deal,” Lawrence said.
“It happens everywhere else,” said Cobb, who now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ganus, who lives in Washington D.C., and Lawrence have been back to ECSU for homecoming several times in the past. Cobb, however, is visiting for the first time since the three graduated in 1988.
“It was literally culture shock,” she said, of the changes she noticed when arriving back in Elizabeth City and to the campus.
“The city is beautiful,” she said. “The campus is beautiful.”
Lawrence also said it seems to her that the city is becoming more involved with the campus.
“I think the city is becoming engaged,” she said.
The trio of friends also expressed their satisfaction in Dixon’s performance.
“I think she’s doing a great job,” Lawrence said.
“I think we’re going to benefit from her leadership,” added Ganus.
Tony Lassiter, class of 1986, said he also would support alcohol sales at athletic events.
“Because it would enhance revenue for the university,” he said.
Lassiter has only missed one homecoming weekend since he enrolled at ECSU in 1983.
“I had a heart transplant two years ago,” he said.
The Raleigh resident said he is pleased with campus improvements and also with the job Dixon has done.
“She’s amazing,” he said. “She’s a godsend. She is what we need for the 21st century. I think she will lead us in the right direction.”
Elston Howell, class of 1988, lives in Apex but rarely misses a homecoming weekend.
“I’m longtime supporter of homecoming,” he said.
Allowing alcohol sales would be one more way to move ECSU forward, said Howell, who owns a speech and occupational therapy business in the Raleigh-Durham area.
He’s also pleased with Chancellor Dixon and other university officials.
“I really love the vision of the current administration,” he said, adding Dixon has taken charge and already brought about positive changes.
“She has grabbed the bull by the horns,” Howell said.