Tuscaloosa City Councilors respond to criticism over approving license for sorority party

Crews removing the tents
Crews removing the tents(WBRC)
Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 5:37 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - We heard on Wednesday from some Tuscaloosa City Councilors who approved a license for a big party inside the city’s police jurisdiction.

The decision drew criticism because the event was a sorority party that hundreds of people would have attended. That party got cancelled.

We talked to two of the city councilors who voted in favor of a special event license.

“It was not as it’s being portrayed that the city council was sanctioning a party of 600 sorority girls,” Tuscaloosa City Councilman Kip Tyner explained.

Tyner said council members were told the University of Alabama was in favor of the party that was scheduled to happen in a lot off Mallisham Parkway in Tuscaloosa County.

Wednesday crews took down the tent for Downtown Entertainment. Tyner was one of a majority of city councilors who approved an alcohol application for a special event license for the company to set up a farm party for the University of Alabama’s Kappa Delta Sorority chapter.

“Walmart is open. We’ve got the Strip right now. Last night the bars were open, they’re doing it in the bars, and to me this was safer being 14 acres outdoors,” Tyner continued.

He also said the vendor promised to only have 200 people there at a time, that people there would be socially distanced and the people would be brought there by buses that would be cleaned between trips.

Councilwoman Sonya McKinstry, who also voted in favor to approve the license, said the license was for the business, not the sorority, which was in compliance with state and local laws.

“There was nothing that came before us that gave us the authority to say we could deny it. Now is it something I wish we could because we’re in the midst of COVID? Sure.”

Both City Council members said the city could have been at risk of being sued if they didn’t approve the license under the circumstances.

Tyner said the sorority canceled the party due to public pressure.

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