As opening of The Hub is getting closer, some students are concerned there may be a cover charge to enjoy the new campus pub.
During a recent University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) council meeting, councillors debated over a draft of the budget for The Hub, and asked why $60,000 was allocated for tickets sales and cover charge in the pub’s projected $495,000 in sales.
Brittany Turchyn, UMSU representative of St. Andrew’s College Students’ Association (SACSA), said she is really excited the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) has taken on the task of replacing the void left by the Wise Guys lounge last year, but argued that students should not have to pay a cover charge to enter, considering the fees they pay to UMSU each year.
“The fees we pay towards UMSU should be looked at as us paying cover charge to enter into something that was built by us, for us,” she said.
She mentioned that the students she has spoken to from St. Andrews College feel strongly against being charged to enter an establishment that their fees have helped pay for.
“Some have said that if they are going there to eat a meal, they would feel upset over having to basically pay a fee in order to enter into an establishment where they will be paying for a service,” Turchyn said.
She added it would make more sense to waive the cover charge for students, who could present their student ID cards at the door, and charge non-students instead.
Justin Quigley, UMSU vice-president (internal), explained that while UMSU is primarily focused on providing important services for its members, “we also want them to be financially self-sufficient and sustainable. The pub is no different.”
He noted that with the sizable initial capital costs of constructing the space, as well as the ongoing operational costs, UMSU has a responsibility to students to ensure the pub is financially sustainable.
“Based on our budgeting for the pub, we anticipate that cover charges will be necessary at least some of the time,” he said.
Quigley mentioned UMSU is also planning to host many special events at the pub, both internal events and events hosted on behalf of student groups and university organizations.
“These groups will be able to sell tickets at a higher price than what we would normally charge for cover as a way of fundraising, and this will continue regardless of the pub’s financial sustainability,” he said.
Camilla Tapp, UMSU president, said UMSU wants to ensure students are satisfied with the pub experience, but it also needs to make sure the pub doesn’t run into financial problems.
“It’s not our intention to make money off students. We don’t do that in any of our businesses,” she added.
Students the Manitoban spoke with had mixed reviews of the potential cover charge for the new pub.
“I am not impressed that we the students helped bring it into being through our fees, and we still have to pay a cover charge,” said Anamika Deb, a faculty of arts student.
Thomas Chani, a faculty of agriculture student, said it is a good idea to have a cover charge.
“If it is free to enter, the place will be crowded and difficult to handle,” said Chani.
“You know how it is when bars are out of capacity,” he added. “Free entry will lead to a crowd from outside of the university as well.”
photo by miguel yetman