International students reflect on alcohol vote

While Murray “going wet” is big news for residents of Murray, considering both the longevity of the ordinance overturned and the fact that this will change the way residents live day to day in Murray, the new ruling also stands to affect international students.

The local option vote that passed on July 17 will allow the distribution of packaged liquor within city limits beginning Sept. 20, and will affect the students of Murray State who come here from both across the country and across the world for their education.

While the actual consequences of the decision remain to be unseen, it is likely that even students who do not drink will be impacted by this change, even if it is as simple as seeing a display of a pyramid of Bud Light at Walmart.

International students have voiced their awareness of the impact alcohol sales may have on them and on their temporary home, Murray State.

International students make up a seen, but often distant, demographic of students on campus, hailing from a variety of different countries and cities, each with their own laws on the sale of alcohol. For some, coming to school meant alcohol was less available than back home, and for others it was actually easier for them to get alcohol in Murray even when it was moist.

This is most apparent in the disparity between drinking ages in different countries as compared to the U.S., the drinking age of 21 is set at three years more than most other countries.

While the age deemed appropriate to consume alcohol is certainly one glaring difference in alcohol policy from country to country, there are a number of similarities as well, including the practice of certain cities having restrictions on alcohol sale.

Kasthik Sraven, a graduate student from India, said there are a number of cities in India in which alcohol sales are prohibited. Most of these cities that prohibit the sale of alcohol, he said, are holy cities.

Sraven said Murray’s decision to go wet will not influence the decision facing international students of which college they choose to study abroad.

He said international students are more concerned about housing securities and their loans than the availability of alcohol.

In his opinion however, he said, most international students at Murray do drink.

Sraven said in India only about 60 percent of the population drink, himself not included.

Bella Jiye Lee, junior from South Korea, said she actually drinks much more when she is at home than when she is at school and that in almost every store in South Korea, alcohol is sold.

“I think that selling alcohol and it being more available is better for everyone,” Lee said. “I think drinking together makes people closer and is a good way to make friends, as long as you don’t drink too much.”

On Tuesday, the Murray City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance which sets a regulatory tax rate of 8 percent on both restaurant and package sales. The council will meet again next Thursday.

Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer.