An Open Letter to the University Administration

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

I am a computer engineering student at the University of Waterloo, currently in my fourth work term. During the Fall ’02 semester I was the Editor-in-Chief of the Iron Warrior and I have participated in every Frosh Week since my own, in Fall 2000.

It is my conviction that you (the UW Admin) have acted with reckless disregard for the rights of your students, with the revoking of the Feds liquor license. UW Administration time and again seems to have no regard for the poorer students enrolled here. Deregulation, continuously raising tuition by the maximum amount, downloading the Co-op Student Building cost onto student fees, and now putting some 150 students out of work. This record is absolutely shameful.

However, I am open to your side of the story. I would greatly appreciate answers to the following questions, related to this unfortunate development.

  1. How is liability in the Feds bars shared between the University and Feds? I have read that Feds assumes liability for the patrons and are required to carry insurance for their operation liability. This would seem to absolve the University from most liability. Please respond.
  2. How will this affect the Iron Ring Stag? As you may well know it is a long-standing tradition for Engineering students and it would be a very black mark against the fundraising efforts of UW if the night that Engineer undergraduates (and soon to be Alumni) look forward to – for five years – was soured.
  3. The Director of Food Services, Mark Murdoch, described the bars as “well-run and well-controlled”. One rare incident (The New Year’s beating) does not indicate a lack of safety. Therefore, how do you justify closing the bars, by citing safety concerns?
  4. Your press release makes the following claim: “Quite simply, if we can’t be sure that the campus pubs are being operated in a way that guarantees our students and other patrons can safely enjoy themselves, then we can’t serve alcohol until their safety is assured.” How could you EVER manage to “guarantee” or “assure” the safety of patrons? Is it not true that this statement allows you to draw this terrible situation out indefinitely? Was this the intent of this statement?
  5. Feds’ bars are their most prolific method of generating revenue. Is the revoking of the license a calculated move to undermine the revenue of the Federation of Students, making them a weaker organisation and suppressing dissent against your actions?

I look forward to your responses.


Matthew Harper.

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