Fresno State is asking Dog House Grill not to serve students before graduation on May 18th. The university says last year a few students got too drunk before commencement and couldn't participate.
For the last three years, Dog House Grill has opened up at 6am to let students celebrate before graduation. But after getting a letter and a face-to-face meeting with a faculty member, the restaurant is rethinking its tradition.
Dignified and respectful. That's how Fresno State wants students to behave at the university's upcoming commencement. Dr. Paul Oliaro says he begs students to cooperate, but last year several students showed up to the Save Mart Center too drunk to participate.
"It only takes two or three in order to ruin the event for 10,000," said Oliaro, V.P. of Student Affairs.
To find out where they partied so early in the morning, Oliaro only had to look across the street.
"We had over 500 people here; we had about 175 people waiting at the door at 5:45 in the morning," said Matt Billingsley, General Manager of Dog House Grill.
Billingsley says opening up at 6am has become a tradition. He says students and their families come to celebrate their achievement. Several weeks ago Oliaro met with him and sent him a letter, which includes language about Alcoholic Beverage Control and law enforcement. Now Dog House is ending its tradition.
"We appreciate the business that we receive throughout the entire year from Fresno State and to ruin that relationship over one day or two days really isn't our goal," said Billingsley.
Some students think Fresno State overstepped its boundaries.
"If the students want to do it, they're going to find a way," said freshman Sean Rooney.
Buffalo Wild Wings also got a letter, but it doesn't open early on graduation day anyway. Dog House says it'll have drink specials for graduates the Thursday before graduation instead of Saturday.