Photo by Louie Villanueva

Opening the Den on BSD benefits students

By Jesse Stilwell, March 28 2017 — 

In an ideal world, Bermuda Shorts Day would end with a buffalo chicken tot-tine from the Den. The University of Calgary student population has been robbed of this perfect end-of-term celebration for too long. The Den should be open on BSD.

The Den hasn’t been open on BSD since 2009. Last year, the Students’ Union tried to open the Den on BSD but two days before the big event, university administration pulled the liquor license, making the Den close its doors on BSD. This was unfair and only contributed to students’ already rocky relationship with administration.

Administration said that they had safety concerns and hadn’t planned for the added costs of increased security that comes with having more than one venue on campus serving alcohol. SU vice-president student life Patrick Ma said these same concerns will stop them from opening the Den this year as well. But these reasons are still not justified.

Alcohol is frequently served at multiple locations on campus. On St. Patrick’s Day for example, the Den, Black Lounge and Last Defence Lounge were all open and serving copious amounts of green beer to students seeking to drink themselves into oblivion. It is clear that the existing security services are more than capable of keeping the campus safe on days that involve heavy drinking. There is already an added security presence on BSD, alongside Calgary Police Services on campus. Both of these institutions are capable of handling drunk students. And if the university can pay president Elizabeth Cannon over $600,000 a year, they can surely manage the cost of extra security for the U of C’s marquee event.

The U of C’s idea that opening the Den will create “migratory pathways” is even more ridiculous. If the Den isn’t open, students are going to migrate all over the city to other bars once the event ends, spreading the embarrassment that is the aftermath of BSD to other parts of the city. Containing the mayhem to campus would mean less students will have to find ways to get around, which could potentially decrease drunk driving. Drunk students will be crawling all over campus whether the Den is open or not. The SU might as well get as many greasy Tater Tots into as many drunk bellies as possible.

Not to mention, the Last Defence Lounge will be open on BSD, like it was last year. It’s a direct contradiction to allow one venue to be open and serving alcohol, but not the other. If the Graduate Students’ Association can operate their business, the SU should too. This would be very profitable for the SU as well, which could soften the blow of the loss of the MacHall injunction this year.

BSD can be celebrated in ways other than turning up at the main festival. The UCalgary Strong festival is a valuable alternative for people who want to celebrate their end-of-term achievements without the craziness of BSD. But if they want to have a casual drink afterwards with some friends, the Den would be a perfect venue. It’s a short walk that doesn’t involve coordinating transportation to a different part of town.

The SU should have tried again this year to open the campus bar that students know and love. University administration should drop the excuses and support students celebrating the end of class. It might cost a few more dollars for security and campus might have drunk students hanging around for a bit longer, but it would keep the madness out of the rest of the city and would keep students safer. The Den’s buffalo chicken tot-tine is also the only thing that could possibly perfect the greatness that is BSD. The Den needs to be open to add to the sacred tradition of BSD.

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