Applied Science may lose donors

Alumnus offers $100,00 bequest if Clark Hall Pub opens by January

EngSoc President Charlie Scott stands in an empty Clark Hall.
EngSoc President Charlie Scott stands in an empty Clark Hall.
Journal File Photo

Several alumni have threatened to withhold their annual donations to Queen’s due to Clark Hall Pub’s closure, and many more are calling the Faculty of Applied Science to complain.

“Most of those who have inquired simply want more information,” said Lisa Woodcock, faculty of applied science advancement officer.

Woodcock said she has received inquiries about the closure from more than 85 alumni, of whom about 10 expressed a desire to withhold their donations.

“When alumni have stated their intentions to withhold their support, I get back to them and try to let them know that withholding their contributions to the University or Faculty isn’t going to impact how quickly the pub is, or isn’t, reopened,” Woodcock said.

The pub’s closure doesn’t sit well with Nancy Holt, Sci ‘92.

“I definitely [will] not be donating any money to Queen’s due to the ridiculous closure of Clark,” she wrote to the Journal. “Not only that, I have a niece and nephew that are in Grade 12 and although for the last 16 years I have been convincing them that Queen’s is the only place to attend university...I am telling them now that something is clearly different and wrong now on campus and I have stopped my ‘encouragement.’”

Eric Strom, Sci ‘95, said Clark’s closure has made him re-evaluate his regular donation to Queen’s.

“To say the least I am very disappointed,” he wrote to the Journal.

Rob Crabtree, former Engineering Society president and Sci ’90, said the closure isn’t going to influence his decision on whether or not to donate.

“While I’m disappointed, I actually think they’re probably going to re-open it at some point,” he said. “It doesn’t affect my decision to donate.”

Crabtree said alumni are upset because they weren’t given details about Clark’s closure.

“The communication has been pretty poor. They’re clearly dancing around at what’s at the heart of the issue,” he said.

Alumni donors were forwarded a copy of the e-mail from EngSoc to engineering students about Clark’s closure.

“There’s never been any disclosure as to what went on, what happened,” Crabtree said.

EngSoc president Charlie Scott, who drafted the e-mail, said he initially received some complaints from alumni threatening to withhold their donations.

“I forwarded the information immediately to the office of advancement,” Scott said. “I’m not in charge of that.”

Peter Hofman, Arts ’87, took a different tack. He sent an e-mail to EngSoc saying that he and other alumni would offer finances if Clark needed any.

In the e-mail, he also said he would leave EngSoc a $100,000 bequest in his will if Clark re-opens by mid-January 2008.

If Clark isn’t open by that date, Hofman said he would give the $100,000 to the Faculty of Arts at McGill University instead.

“I think there’s lots of worthy causes out there and Queen’s generally is one of them, but there’s certainly no shortage of competition as to where one gives one’s current dollars,” Hofman said.

Hofman said his offer is meant to keep EngSoc focused on re-opening Clark as soon as possible.

“It could be the easiest thing in the world for this to drag out to the end of the school year and beyond,” he said. “Quite frankly, the risk level increases the longer the time goes on.”

Hofman said Kim Woodhouse, dean of the faculty of applied science, contacted him but they haven’t been able to discuss his offer yet.

“[She] left a couple of voicemails for me, and I called her, but we never actually managed to hook up,” he said.

In the meantime, Hofman plans on attending Homecoming this year for his 20th reunion.

He will have a chance to visit Clark, which will be open on the Friday of Homecoming weekend, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“I think it will save them a lot of grief,” Hofman said of the special Ritual. “It’s good, but it’s far from a solution.”

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