University of Calgary clubs can now eat cake, monster eggplants or whatever else their hearts desire.
On July 31 the Students' Legislative Council passed a resolution that legislated existing procedures for the selection of club events caterers.
"There isn't a major change here," said Students' Union president Barb Wright. "This resolution was more a commitment to clubs than anything else. The decision made by SLC to not restrict clubs to SU catering was largely a philosophical one."
The issue of club events catering arose on July 17, when SLC members discussed the prospect of limiting student club catering choices to campus food services providers, specifically the new Den or Black Lounge. The debate prompted Academic commissioner Michelle McCann to propose a resolution to ensure the clubs' right to choose who catered their events.
"We are not an industry, we are a student government, and it is our responsibility to serve students," said McCann. "I don't like it when the SU behaves as a business, because we are not a business. A policy such as [the restrictive] one basically just contradicts all my values as an elected official."
The ever-present complaint that the SU was functioning as a business and not a representative body was a cause for considerable contention.
"This is not a utopian world, where things come for free, even for poor students," said External commissioner Dave Mercier. "By law the SU is not allowed to pass a deficit budget, we must make ends meet. The budget is razor thin, and every extra dollar goes back to the students in some form or another."
McCann argued that financial considerations need not supersede the interests of students in order to accommodate them.
"I think if the new bar had wonderful food, excellent services and club or student group discounts, clubs and student groups would choose to use the new bar," she said. "I don't think forcing the new bar upon them is good way of promoting it."
The issue of special events and needs of ethnic groups for particular kinds of food that the Den or Black Lounge could not provide was also an issue.
"The SU would like our services to be used, considering rental of facilities [for clubs] is free," said Mercier. "Clubs who legitimately need to use other establishments could certainly do so with the SU approval."
Wright pointed out that the request process for outside catering would ensnare student clubs in unnecessary paper work.
"Clubs are supposed to be a positive way for students to get involved in campus life, and should be supported as much as possible by the Students' Union," she said.
Under the new resolution, clubs may use outside catering services as their budget permits. The resolution stipulates that the food provided must comply with Calgary Regional Health Authority regulations, the SU and university alcohol policies, and any agreements already entered into by the university or the SU.