Guelph U. unhappy with strip club’s tuition giveaway

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A Guelph strip club’s wet T-shirt contest " offering a $5,000 prize toward tuition " has irked the University of Guelph’s administration and student association.

Starting this week, women can enter a wet T-shirt contest at The Manor strip club and receive $50 to $100 for entering. Each night the winner receives a $500 cash prize.

According to a Manor employee, who asked to be referred to as Mr. Cohen, the weekly winners will compete in a grand finale for the tuition prize in approximately three months.

“There’s absolutely no stripping or taking clothes off,” Cohen said. “It’s just like the beach, except there’s a winner.”

He said everything the club does is perfectly legal, and he requires three pieces of identification to let people into the club.

“The university kids love it,” Cohen said. “It’s just the women, the feminists, who don’t like it.”

Cohen said the university threatened to charge the club with trespassing if he and his colleagues distribute fliers or advertise the contest on campus.

“I’m not recruiting or targeting dancers,” he said. “I have lots of dancers and many of them come from overseas.”

Cohen said all the students he has spoken to support the contest, adding he and some students are upset by the women complaining about the contest.

“We’re living in a democracy,” Cohen said. “Who are they to judge?”

He said he refused to comment in Guelph’s student paper, The Ontarian, since The Manor, like other bars and strip clubs, isn’t allowed to advertise in the paper or anywhere on campus.

Lori Bona Hunt, associate director of communications and public affairs for the University of Guelph, said the university hasn’t officially done anything to oppose the contest except follow existing policies.

“We have a solicitation policy that pertains to all advertisers [and] that excludes bars and clubs from advertising anywhere on campus,” Hunt said.

She added she and other administrators are disappointed to see a local company targeting cash strapped students.

“They’re clearly trying to lure students by dangling money at them,” she said.

“I’d be concerned for students who have maybe never been in that environment,” said Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president of student affairs at Guelph. “It could put them in a very risky environment.”

Jonathan Odumeru, communications commissioner for Guelph’s Central Student Association, agreed.

“They’re obviously directly targeting students and they’re targeting a financially vulnerable group at a very hard time of year,” Odumeru said. “We’ve just paid for books and tuition, so a lot of students really need money.”

Cohen said all the prize money comes directly from bar profits.

“We’re just giving back what people are putting in. We’re being responsible to the people who support us.”

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