On November 24th, 2021, I sent a request to the MUN Student Union (MUNSU) for the projected costs of The Breezeway bar renovations project. They have a bylaw, “Section 18: Records,” that states “1. The books and records of the Union, including all reports, minutes, financial records and statements, and other documents, once approved by the appropriate level of authority, shall be made available for inspection within three (3) business days by any member upon receipt by the Union of a written request.”
On November 29th, the Executive Director of External Affairs, Hilary Hennessey, responded to the request that the estimated cost for The Breezeway project is between $600,000 and $800,000. Hennessey states that the final amount will be adjusted to reflect changes made by the contractors. She then says that the executive and/or board will be reviewing any proposed changes before the contractors proceed.
Furthermore, Hennessey offered an opportunity to visit the office to review relative meeting minutes. She referred to the bylaw “2. The minutes of Board of Directors, executive meetings, general meetings, and other books and records of the Union, including all reports, financial records and statements, shall be kept in the Union General Office” and stated that minutes can be inspected but only in the MUNSU office.
The bylaw which Hennessey refers was written a long time ago and is outdated. It was a time when records were in the physical form and did not consider the digital world that we live in today. The main issue is that Hennessey only offered a viewing of the minutes and not the financial records.
In a Facebook statement released by MUNSU on November 22nd, 2021, they stated that the contractors had designed space for pop-up vendors to serve food on occasion and a small coffee shop. With the high costs of the project, one would think that it would include a restaurant. Most all bars and pubs in the modern era serve food daily, and it is an expectation that they do.
Another issue with The Breezeway is its size; it is one of the biggest bars in the City of St. John’s. The full bar space is only needed a few times a year at most for large concerts. The Breezeway looks like a bowling alley and is too large for a campus bar. It should be separated into different sections and perhaps even have it so that the walls can be taken down for the large concerts. Also, the location of The Breezeway is hidden away on the first level of the University Centre. Many people do not know where it is located or that it even exists. The Breezeway has historically been known as “the res kids bar,” meaning the students who use it the most live in the on-campus residences.
See the email below and pictures of The Breezeway in its current state and before renovations:
Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.