Volume 96, Issue 65
Friday, January 24, 2003

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Waterloo in need of a Beer Baron

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

With on-campus bars now closed, students are being forced to find other sources of alcohol at the University of Waterloo.

Last Monday, the administration at the University of Waterloo closed the two on-campus bars – Federation Hall and the Bombshelter Pub – both of which are owned by the Federation of Students.

"The serving of alcohol was suspended," said Martin Van Nierop, director of information and public affairs at Waterloo.

Monday's closing marked the culmination of a string of events that began with a student-run party on New Year's Eve. "At the closing of a party [held in Federation Hall], people left the bar and there was a savage beating of a young man," Van Nierop said.

"Following that incident, the university spoke with the [Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario], and, as the holder of the liquor license, felt [administration] needed to be in control," he said. As a result, Waterloo's administration appointed a temporary manager for the two bars, Van Nierop explained.

The Federation of Students agreed to the arrangement at first, Van Nierop said.

The Federation's manager of the two bars left in November, however, on the night of the incident, there were two assistant mangers, 20 staff members and two university police officers on duty, said Brenda Koprowski, president of the Federation.

"As we started to go along in the first week, we saw that this was not going to be short-term," she said. On Jan. 15, the Federation sent administration a letter, asking them to remove their manager from the bars, Koprowski explained.

On Monday of this week, a meeting was scheduled for both sides to discuss the issue, however, according to Van Nierop, the Federation refused to attend.

Koprowski said the university refused to provide them with an agenda for the meeting, so they did not attend. The Federation then received a letter, stating there would be an indefinite suspension of the liquor license for the two bars, she said.

"The serving of alcohol was suspended," Van Nierop confirmed. "This is the last thing the university wanted to do."

As a result of the closing, approximately 150 part-time workers are without jobs, he said.

"They don't think we're are in accordance with the AGCO," Koprowski said.

"It's really annoying because you have these two [groups] fighting," said Nathan Sklair, a fourth-year physics student at Waterloo.

Matt Standen, a third-year urban planning student agreed. "It's pretty bad because they're the only bars [students under 19] can get into," he said. "It's disappointing they closed instead of just going dry."

A new meeting is scheduled for both sides to discuss the incident next Tuesday, Van Nierop confirmed.

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2002 THE GAZETTE