ACU Student Life turned down the venue for GATA social club formal, The Mill and Winery, because of its reference to alcohol. However, after a change to the name of the winery, GATA social club was approved to have its formal at what is now called The Mill.
“Isabel Lee was the first one to tell me about The Mill,” said Jennifer Ellison, director of University Events and GATA social club sponsor. “She said that she was interested in hosting GATA formal there. So I drove by and it looked great so that’s why we started looking into it.”
GATA filled out the proper paperwork and turned in a contract to Mark Jackson, director of Student Organizations and Programs
“Student Life needed to be clear what the Mill Winery was,” Jackson said. “Once that became clear, we came back and told GATA that the location would not work.”
Isabel Lee, junior art major from Abilene and GATA social director, did not give up easily.
“First I tried to fight the decision, arguing that ACU events are held at many venues with open bars such as the country club,” Lee said. “Student Life and Legal Services still said no on the bases that “winery” was in the venue’s title. When we went to talk to The Mill, they told us that they were already in the process of changing their name and could create a new contract without the word winery in it. Since they were so willing to work with us, I sent in the contract again to get approved.”
This time it worked.
“Student Life first did not approve of the location,” Ellison said. “Once they dropped the ‘winery’ from their contract and from their location, we resubmitted the contract and the contract has gone through Student Life and Legal Services and has been approved.”
GATA will host their formal at The Mill located in downtown Abilene.
“It’s crazy to think that one of our clubs had a pull in a place like this, changing what they are about,” Jackson said.
This is not a new problem; clubs on campus have run into similar complications.
“Every now and then venues will get denied,” Jackson said. “Typically it will because one of two reasons. The first being that Student Life feels that the location doesn’t represent ACU. Second, a venue just doesn’t want to budge on language in a contract.”
Ellison is pleased with how the venue handled the conflict, she said.
“The Mill has been very cooperative,” Ellison said. “They have gone above and beyond for us, and we are thrilled that they took those steps.”