POSTSCRIPT EXTRA: ‘Save’ Lonsdale Bar…

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Photo by Ferdinand Doepel
Lonsdale Bar during Founders – Photo by Ferdinand Doepel

Any rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth followers of this regular, well marked territory of SCAN will know that yours truly is nothing if not quite violently passionate about the College Bars, critical to the point of unpleasantness towards of its new management structure, and the first person to tell you when those phallic swingers in Estates try to wield the axe. Indeed, a certain individual in estates has made a hobby of threatening to close down the College bars, to the point where your author devised a drinking game around the idea.

So it certainly came as a surprise to me when I saw a General Meeting, to take place tomorrow in the Red Lion at 7.30PM, being promoted by Lonsdale College JCR on Facebook. The stand being taken is certainly clear. The event description is littered with pro-college rhetoric, as any General Meeting should be, and it displays a passionate defensiveness of the College in the face of constant moves by the University to undermine its Collegiate system, as any good JCR Executive should do.

But there is something not quite right, and one sentence inparticular emits a worrying, questionable scent; “It has also come to our attention that the university is considering shutting down the hub of Lonsdale’s spirit and history: LONNIE BAR!”

It is no secret that potential College Bar closures are constant rumblings of real substance. But this proclaimation is one of absolutes; we are being told that the University has entered discussions to shut down Lonsdale Bar. Your author likes to be certain of things before he lends his support to campaigns stamping them out, so he asked around a little bit.

Three key decision-makers within commercial services that I asked about this have no knowledge whatsoever of any discussions around closing Lonsdale Bar. One categorically denied ANY instance of ANY plans to close down ANY of the College Bars in the near future. I have written to people on Lonsdale JCR asking where this information has come from. I have asked members of our FTO team for background on this. And yet nobody seems to know.

While open support of a College Bar is important, people wishing to respond to real, minuted considerations to close down the College Bars with action are likely to find themselves in a ‘boy who cried wolf’ situation if others are making them up to generate attendance at a General Meeting. By all means, inform College members that if they don’t use their bars more often, the University may well consider shutting them down. But using it as an illegitimate talking point at a General Meeting with no evidence and no substance to generate one night of high profits is peanuts (and misleading ones at that) compared to a more honest and measured campaign to increase regular student presence over a prolonged period. At best, it gets people briefly passionate about the College space (briefly in the sense that they forget about it when someone in authority says ‘We’re dealing with it now’), at worst, it is a cynical attempt by a college JCR to create a false threat out of real mutterings, which they can then take the credit for ‘stopping’ when it never really arose in the first place.

By all means attend this General Meeting and support the College Bars, but try not to be TOO taken in by the rather grandiose untruth being used to lure you there. Almighty leader grandstanding around a false threat can prove to be hugely distracting from actual, worrying developments, and some of us might be too bored of bar-closure threats to fight them when they actually do arrive…

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