Editor, the Gauntlet,
Re: The Students' Union
I believe it is truly unfortunate that you can't pack 1,000 stressed, ego-driven, individuals into a small space and add alcohol into the equation and not get utopia. I find it bordering on folly whenever some overly concerned Students' Union or other university representative expresses their "deep concern" over the level of violence present at the Den. Hey guys, first, why do you think the university wanted to unload it to you so quickly, and
second, what did you expect? I mean you guys are all smart individuals.
Did you not do an environmental scan and observe the startling trend that every (and I mean every) nightclub in Calgary has problems with violence and recalcitrant patrons? It is a self-evident result that did not take psychic clairvoyance to figure out.
While I applaud the SU's laudable efforts in curbing the violence through various measures (uniformed police officers, prohibition of glass bottles and students having to sign in non students), I must note that ultimately these solutions are all individually and collectively ineffective. The only true, all encompassing solution is to close the Den or remove alcohol entirely--two propositions the SU is not willing to take.
What I find most interesting is the balancing act the SU regularly performs of socialistic ideals and capitalistic motives. They seemingly have this grand vision of a bar on campus for the students, run by the students, where the students go to "unwind" and have a few pints. The recent trend of violence is disturbing to them because it does not represent the utopian watering-hole they had planned, but they are still unwilling to actually close the bar. Specifically, to my knowledge and my personal informal research with Den staff, 99 per cent of all seriously violent incidences were perpetrated by non-students. So what is the delay in making it a exclusively university student club? The answer? The bottom line. That's right, your SU is motivated by money and profits (take a breath if you need to). If they were really that concerned with your safety and solving this problem, the Den would have become a student-only bar a long time time ago. But I do believe they conducted a study showing almost 50 per cent of their business was non students. I find it an interesting dichotomy that they find the violence intolerable but still operate a nightclub that is inextricably linked to violence.
It looks like the SU is in over their heads. Just because you created a bar on campus, a campus which is generally populated by above average intelligent people, does not make you immune to the larger tendencies of inebriated humans in large public dwellings. You cannot intellectualize a solution here. Sometimes situations are beyond us and we have to just add them to an "axis of evil" and move on.