Blunders fuel pub powder keg

The Engineering Society executive’s announcement earlier this summer that Clark Hall Pub is closed indefinitely came as a shock to many—not because the pub’s operational and financial woes were surprising but because of the way the closing of such a campus fixture was handled. The EngSoc executive decided unilaterally to close the pub, but many of the pub’s stakeholders—including employees and engineering students—weren’t consulted before action was taken. Council approval, usually necessary during the school year, was waived. Pub staff were informed via e-mail they were out of a job and that a re-opening date was not in the foreseeable future. EngSoc still doesn’t know when Clark will reopen, or what exactly went wrong with its finances in the first place.

Considering the number of people with stakes in the pub and its services, it’s disconcerting to see such little semblance of a plan for its future. With Clark’s doors still shut, Queen’s traditions such as ritual, and Queen’s Players are at the very least suspended.

It’s unfortunate Clark Hall Pub was unable to stay afloat on its own. The pub’s problems and the haphazard way EngSoc is handling its closure—which itself was in large part instigated by the concerns of external bodies such as the University and the AMS—portrays students as incompetent and unable to run a service.

Sadly, Clark Hall is not an anomaly—the AMS and ASUS have had similar experiences of inefficiency and financial discordance with many of their services. Two years ago, ASUS lost $26,403, the whereabouts of which are still unknown. The AMS’s Tricolour Outfitters and UBS, formerly Greenroom, formerly UBS have been rebranded so many times no one knows what they’re called, let alone what they sell and where they are.

This attempt to fix years of student carelessness in running the pub has unfortunately fallen upon this year’s EngSoc executive and although it was perhaps time for a review and subsequent changes, the decision appears to be a rash one. EngSoc’s blunders following the closure are exemplified by its lack of a planning, transparency or any concrete information for concerned stakeholders.

An optimist might hope this fiasco would make student leaders sit up and take notice of their administrative blunders, and motivate them to clean up their act.

A realist might predict they’ll come to the conclusion that it’s easier to pass the buck until a situation like Clark Hall blows up in a student government’s face.

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