The future of the University Club is at risk: show the administration you support the club
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We are writing to express our extreme concern about the future of the University Club.
The University Club is currently the only on-campus option for faculty, administrators, and their guests (including industry partners and potential donors) to dine and interact in a relaxed environment and is therefore integral to the functioning of this university. Many McMaster faculty and administrative staff benefit from the Club, even if they are not Club members. For many retired McMaster faculty, the Club is their main link to University life; closing the Club has the potential to harm their relationship to McMaster. We understand that the university leadership is considering alternative arrangements such as a “white linen restaurant somewhere on campus” and a conference/event venue in Alumni Hall, run by Conference and Housing Services, in the event that the Club closes. We do not consider these to be acceptable replacements to the Club.
We understand that some members of the university administration feel that faculty clubs are obsolete models that no longer serve the interests of the university. We do not accept this argument. Our Club is highly valued by the university community. A faculty club is part of a good working environment, analogous to sports facilities for students and lounges for staff. Closure of our Club would negatively affect morale across campus and it should not happen without a robust and transparent debate which actively engages all stakeholders.
Also, we understand that the University currently prevents the Club from hosting events on at least 6 weekends a year which leads to $60,000 - $90,000 in lost revenue. Nonetheless the University is imposing an additional $104,000 in rent as of August 1, 2017.
In light of the above, we request the following:
Firstly, we strongly urge the University administration to seriously consider, and engage in discussion with all stakeholders regarding, the recommendations in the recently publicized report of the April 2017 external (university-level) budget review committee:
The report mentions that the stress put on the University Club was repeatedly raised during the review process, and explicitly recommends that the University consider allowing for differential prices for the use of space.
Secondly, we ask that you provide to the university community the reasons why the university leadership is considering a closure of the University Club.
Thirdly, we ask that you provide to the university community the details of any alternative plans that are being considered by the University leadership, if the University Club were to close.
Finally, we ask that future discussion regarding the future of the University Club be conducted with direct participation by faculty members and Club members, not just the Club management and the University administration.
This petition has also been circulated off-line (not at change.org) and already has 237 co-signatories, as published here:
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