The Student Bar, originally said to close only for the summer, was closed indefinitely after the entire bar staff opted for redundancy last month. As the opening of the Centre Club, the refurbished bar in the Student Centre, has been pushed back, UCD will not have drinking facilities for the foreseeable future.
The Students’ Union has been meeting with UCD and the university to reopen the Student Bar, but talks fell through on Friday. UCDSU President Rachel Breslin said, “During the meeting we discussed the future of the bar, the options available to committee and to the university in order to clear the outstanding debts of the bar and what is the best option for all parties going forward. Initially progress was made at the meeting, but unfortunately with the way the negotiations played out and the time lines concerned, it didn’t enable us to have the bar open by Black Monday.”
In response to this, the SU are considering holding a protest to show the demand on campus for the venues reopening. These plans have been put on hold however, in hope of renewed talks with the university. “We are frustrated at the prolonged negotiations with the university about the inactivity of the college on this issue”, Breslin said. “We certainly were l
ooking to have a protest to bring these issues to the street, because we didn’t feel the university was engaging with us and the problems that the SU and the committee were having, as well as in general, representing the students who wanted to see the bar open for the first day of term so they could have a social event. So we were planning a protest, and we are still looking at that situation, but it has helped that the university has come back to the table and they’re offering solutions and options for the bar.”
Due to the lack of any official events for Black Monday, some students have responded by creating a Facebook event encouraging UCD students to buy alcohol at off licences and gather in the pitches opposite the Student Centre. The event has over 1,000 people confirmed to attend. Commenting on the event, UCDSU Entertainments Officer Eoin Heffernan said, “It seems like students have hit back at the college for not supplying services, for not having a venue on campus. Obviously I’d love to get on the bandwagon and give them a push but its not safe so the SU can’t condone anything like that. But I think it is shaking the college a bit and I think they’re taking notice of the event so it seems to be putting a bit of pressure on them.”
On the possibility of an official alternative on-campus arrangement for Black Monday however, Breslin said: “We don’t feel like there is any sort of real alternative to the bar, because that’s what Black Monday is all about. It’s about meeting your friends in the bar and having a social occasion on the first day of term so I think it would be remiss of us to try and pretend that there is another equatable option available to students because there isn’t.