As many of you may know, AfterMath is struggling financially – and that’s putting it lightly. To put it plainly, AfterMath is bleeding out. If it were a ship, AfterMath would have about as much chance of success as the Titanic in the North Atlantic. I say, let ‘er sink.
If you were, by chance, unaware of the financial woes of AfterMath, Jess Wind of The Cascade explained it nicely in an article last week: “AfterMath’s budget shows a cost of $306,135 to run from April 2012 until the end of March 2013. They projected to make back $225,450 of that total cost in sales. This is where the $80,000 comes in; this is the deficit that SUS accounted for in their current budget.”
Currently, AfterMath—eight months into the fiscal year, and only three months into the school year (they were closed for the summer, although some staff remained on payroll)—is set to exceed the $80,000 deficit that was budgeted. Right now, they are in need of approximately $50,000 to remain open for the rest of the fiscal year.
Currently, SUS board members and a group of students are working to take that $50,000 from other budgeted areas and give it over to the cash-eating cow that is AfterMath. What’s on the menu for our friendly bovine, you ask? The Chilliwack and Abbotsford events budgets, the remainder of the CASA budget, the advocacy budget, and the accessibility fund.
First, let me say this. I appreciate the idea of AfterMath. I know that the school needs a place for students to gather, eat good food and drink cheap beer. I get that. But, I fail to see what on earth would compel SUS to gut their existing programs in an effort to save a pub that is always going to fail.
Ironically, one of those supporting the continued funding of AfterMath is VP social Chris Doyle. I find this ironic in that Doyle is apparently willing to pillage the budgets for events on the Abbotsford and Chilliwack campus in exchange for . . . what? Cheap beer? A restaurant that is fiscally never going to work? If the events budgets are handed over to AfterMath, it would only make sense for Doyle to resign his position and pay, because he would be out of a job. Do we need a VP social if we are no longer going to have events? AfterMath can take care of events, right? Students from Chilliwack and Hope can take a hike.
Or better yet, why not just gut all the programs that SUS currently offers, and give all the cash to AfterMath. I motion that we rename SUS the AfterMath Student Society (ASS). Why not? That way we can all keep getting our chicken strips for a few dollars less than at Sodexo. That way we can all keep getting our beer for a few dollars less than at Finnegans (wait, they offer pitchers for $9.99 on Thursdays, scrap that). ASS will provide all we need as students. ASS will advocate on our behalf – when it comes to chicken dipping sauce! ASS will speak for those who have a small voice – unless they eat at Sodexo! ASS will provide us with health insurance, provided there are funds left over after the nuggets are paid for! ASS! ASS! ASS! (are you with me!?!)
Now, obviously I am speaking with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, but the real question we ought to be asking is this: what is the point of SUS? When the board was elected with the classically strong mandate that is given in a student election, what was that mandate? What does SUS exist for? I think it is for more than subsidized french fries.
The SUS website states that “The mission of the SUS is to create a strong, unified student voice and to provide innovative and valuable services to its members by advocating on behalf of and collaborating with the Student Body, UFV and the community.”
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. The question now, is, does the continued funding of AfterMath fit into this mission statement?
If the purpose of SUS is to “provide innovative and valuable services to its members,” AfterMath cannot possibly fit into either of those categories, while simultaneously running a massive deficit that wipes out the budgets of very valuable services for the members of SUS. By putting SUS at risk of bankruptcy, running through the budget like a bull in a china shop and, by necessity, devoting major funds to one portion of the student population while excluding others (ie. Chilliwack, et al.), AfterMath unfortunately finds itself outside of the SUS mandate.
Perhaps one day AfterMath could be an innovative and valuable service for students at UFV, but in its current state, it is simply not feasible.
Now, to those who argue that AfterMath provides a great place to hold student events and it needs to be saved at all costs, I would say this: can we not continue to use the space that AfterMath currently occupies? Food could be made, alcohol could be served when the appropriate permits were obtained, and events could be held on an as-needed basis.
The sad fact is that those who support bailing out the sinking ship that is AfterMath, though small in number, are a powerful enough force to get their way. Since no one votes in SUS elections and very few will show up the the EGM this Wednesday, a relatively small group can (and likely will) divert major amounts of funding away from programs that serve the wider student body to prop up AfterMath. In fact, the Facebook group “Oppose closure of AfterMath” has set their event to November 28 – the second EGM attempt, rather than November 21. This means that less students would be required to make changes, as the quorum for the second attempt is far smaller.
ASS will prevail. The system is broken.