Print Edition: November 14, 2012
Students and SUS are pulling together to find a way to reopen the doors for the winter semester.
In a SUS board meeting held on November 2, students asked for more time to find a solution. As the situation sounds right now, AfterMath will remain open until November 30.
According to AfterMath manager Brad Ross, it is an on-campus issue that students are finally getting passionate about.
“It solves the apathy problem on this campus for the first time, big time,” he said, noting that there are nearly 400 members on the “Oppose Closure of Aftermath Socialhouse” (sic) Facebook group.
SUS board members, Ross and determined students have all been thinking of creative solutions for the preservation of the pub since the decision passed to keep AfterMath open for the remainder of the fall semester.
SUS president Shane Potter highlighted some of their efforts.
“We’ve worked on a task force of sorts. The whole goal behind this group is essentially to put . . . people with insight for numbers and insight for communication [together] so that we can efficiently and effectively inform the students,” Potter explained.
He has elected to step out of the meetings, appointing VP internal Greg Stickland as chair.
“I really feel that this task force should be a bottom-up solution; a from-the-students solution,” Potter explained, “So I wanted it to be lopsided with . . . student voice.”
This is why, Potter explained, there were three SUS board members (including Stickland as chair) in the room, compared to eight student representatives.
The goal of this task force was not to come up with a solution to save AfterMath, but to determine the most truthful and comprehensive way to present the numbers to students who will be voting at the upcoming general meeting on November 21.
Aaron Levy, manager of UFV’s CIVL radio, was part of this task force. He pointed out some of the miscommunication surrounding the AfterMath and SUS budgets, which are available online.
“It’s my impression that students are under the impression that AfterMath costs $80,000 a year to run . . . The more accurate way to explain it is that SUS budgets to lose $80,000 on AfterMath,” Levy explained.
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.
Levy went on to describe the best case scenario for AfterMath.
“Right now, if AfterMath makes more money than previously projected over . . . the rest of the year, that deficit wouldn’t have to remain a loss,” he explained.
However, AfterMath is on track to exceed the $80,000 deficit, which is how it is being viewed on the SUS budget. Anything over this number and SUS is put into financial jeopardy.
Whether it is referred to as a budget or a deficit depends on the perspective, but the result is still the same – there is no more money.
SUS has depleted their capital this year to make up for oversights and financial mishandling of previous boards. They requested a loan from UFV, but were informed that the university is not in a position assist.
If the money is going to be reallocated from somewhere else in the budget, Potter said he refuses to decide on behalf of the entire student body whether or not other services should be cut to pay for AfterMath.
“The information is widely spread in the community,” Potter said, “[and] they will be able to make informed decisions.”
The task force will be meeting again before the general meeting on November 21, and all the budgets are available on the SUS website for anyone looking to get informed.
Since this issue goes beyond a SUS budget problem, AfterMath is doing their part to save pennies too.
AfterMath’s menus were printed in September, but since then food costs have skyrocketed and are eating into revenue. Ross has spoken with Sysco—their food distributor—and arranged a freeze on prices to see them to the end of the month.
“Sysco has locked the price in, at least for November, to guarantee that what we paid at the beginning of the year is what we’re going to continue to pay,” Ross said, as well as noting that as of November 12 some items have been cut from the new menu.
The kitchen has also done their part in producing homemade specials and soups.
“We’ve cut costs by making our own soups . . . We have sold out almost every day on the soups or the daily specials which are all pretty well homemade for the first time ever,” Ross added.
Another factor in the mix is the increased revenue AfterMath has received from the success of the newly-introduced pub nights.
Ross and Potter both urge students who are against this closure to get informed, get involved and vote.
“Sitting at home, liking [the page] on Facebook is great, but you have to be here,” Ross explained. They have to reach a quorum of 100 voters on November 21 for any motions to be considered, and Ross says he would like to see the 400 members from the Facebook page or the names on the petition come out to vote.
Potter wants students to understand the situation from both the SUS and AfterMath perspectives.
“All I ask is that students are informed of the situation so that we can all make proper decisions,” he said.
What’s AfterMath worth to you?
What SUS would have to do to keep AfterMath open until March
According to average projections, the SUS would need to cut $50,000 from elsewhere in their overall budget to keep AfterMath operating until the end of the fiscal year in March 2013. In a worst-case scenario, it’s possible this money will not be sufficient to keep it open until the next budget year. In order to reach this number, other budgets will need to be eliminated or cut entirely. It’s likely these measures will be put into a motion to be voted on in next Wednesday’s EGM.
The remainder of these budgets would need to be liquidated and put into AfterMath:
- Chilliwack events budget
- Abbotsford events budget
- Conference fund (CASA and other conferences)
- Remainder of CASA budget
- Mileage for directors
- Handouts and swag (mints, pens, t-shirts, etc)
- Advocacy fund (planning advocacy events including Cinema Politica)
The following budget lines would need to be cut down, but not drained:
- Athletics (free varsity games for students)
- SUS president honourarium
- SUS executive honouraria