Oklahoma City University officials are backing off a controversial plan that would have put a restaurant on university-owned land near campus.
The OCU Board of Trustees executive committee voted to instruct administrators to sell a parcel of land at NW 23 and Virginia Avenue.
Officials had planned to lease the building to Sodexo, the university's food service vendor, to open a restaurant called Rehearsals. Sodexo had planned to serve beer and wine at the restaurant. The sale comes in response to concerns about the sale of alcohol under a previous plan, said OCU spokeswoman Sandy Pantlik.
The building, which previously housed the university's Bluetique resale shop, is about a block west of the main campus. OCU is a dry campus, but the prohibition on alcohol wouldn't have extended to the restaurant, Pantlik said.
Robert Hayes Jr., bishop of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference, said he doesn't think it would be appropriate for a United Methodist university to be tied to an establishment that serves alcohol. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church encourages abstinence from alcohol and illegal drugs.
Hayes, a member of OCU's Board of Trustees, said the university's involvement with the restaurant sends the wrong message to students and to people outside the OCU and United Methodist communities. The location was also a cause for concern, Hayes said.
“The proximity of it gave me great reservation,” he said.