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UT Chancellor Not Backing Off On Sun Bowl Alcohol Ban

By Darren Hunt
Published On: May 02 2012 07:31:10 AM CDT
Updated On: May 02 2012 08:57:48 AM CDT
EL PASO, Texas -

There are new developments in the fight to sell alcohol at the Sun Bowl for the June 16 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andy Lee boxing match.

The University of Texas chancellor, who banned beer, is not backing down.

Many El Pasoans appear more upset about UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa telling them whether they can drink a beer at the fight than they were when he banned the fight in the first place for security reasons before changing his mind.

But Senator Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, told ABC-7 Wednesday not to expect Cigarroa to change his mind on alcohol.

"I actually made a pitch for getting it on the agenda since last week," Rodriguez said, referring to the University of Texas Board of Regents' agenda for Wednesday or Thursday.

But when that item never ended up on the agenda, Rodriguez approached Cigarroa in Austin on Tuesday afternoon about his ban on alcohol for the fight.

"The bigger question for me is the way they're treating us in El Paso and UTEP," Rodriguez said. "My understanding is this is the first time anybody has recalled any conditions have been placed on us holding an event like this."

ABC-7 asked Rodriguez whether Cigarroa refused to back down.

"That's my understanding," Rodriguez said. "That's how I interpreted his position. That doesn't mean that I don't think we as a community can simply give up the fight on this."

Top Rank Boxing Event Coordinator Lester Bedford said he doesn't give up that easily. He said Wednesday the fight will go on, regardless, but no beer means fewer tickets will be sold and UTEP officials confirm they will lose about $100,000 in revenue.

"(Cigarroa's) taken a stand," Bedford said. "For whatever reason, I don't know. Maybe he feels like, 'I gotta win something.' But there's no winners in that, though."

ABC-7 asked Bedford whether El Pasoans should feel offended by Cigarroa's stance.

"Everybody should be real offended," Bedford said. "Basically, the statement is, 'They can't handle their alcohol in El Paso.'"

So ABC-7 asked El Pasoans what they think.

"No, they shouldn't be telling us that," El Pasoan Richard Romero said. "(That decision) should be with the city. The city and the university."

El Pasoans we spoke with Wednesday were fighting mad about the chancellor's refusal to back down on the alcohol ban.

"I don't think they should dictate what we do in El Paso," El Pasoan Chantel Castaneda said.

In addition to banning alcohol sales in the Sun Bowl, Cigarroa's conditions go on to state: "No alcoholic beverages will be allowed to be brought onto university property."

ABC-7 asked UTEP whether that means no one can have alcohol in the Sun Bowl parking lots on campus. UTEP officials said they can't interpret exactly what Cigarroa meant.

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