The Saga Continues

CSU Announces Reggie’s to Become a Solidarity Co-operative

Concordia’s student bar, Reggie’s Photo Nikolas Litzenberger
Concordia’s student bar, Reggie’s Photo Nikolas Litzenberger

Concordia University’s student bar, Reggie’s, has been in deficit since its first year, over 30 years ago.

CUSAcorp, the for-profit subsidiary of the Concordia Student Union that has been managing Reggie’s, has not been able to run the bar sustainably since its opening, and it will officially dissolve by June 1, according to CSU General Coordinator Terry Wilkings.

When the bar re-opens for the fall semester, it will be a solidarity co-operative like The Hive Café and Burritoville.

“For over 18 months, members of the CSU have expressed the desire to eliminate the dependence of Reggie’s on [the] CSU, financially and otherwise,” Wilkings said.

There are many factors that come into play with the remodeling of Reggie’s governance. For one, the bar has been recording losses year after year since its opening in 1984. The only year that Reggie’s recorded a profit was in 2014 when the bar was closed for most of the year.

When Reggie’s first opened, the student union created a for-profit governance model, CUSAcorp, to run the finances. However, since the bar did not generate any revenue, the CSU has had to continuously bail it out. Essentially, the CSU was using student money to cover the losses of CUSAcorp.

“There shouldn’t be a need for students to have to bail out their campus bar every year,” Wilkings said. He stressed the CSU wants to craft a governance model that will prioritize accountability and transparency.

The CSU will be responsible for executing the creation of the new entity by dissolving CUSAcorp.

The solidarity co-operative is a model that will allow Reggie’s to be legally independent.

“It democratizes the student bar,” Wilkings said. “By having Reggie’s legally independent it eliminates a sense of complacency that was plaguing CUSAcorp.

“When you’re being bailed out, what’s the incentive to change your behaviour?”

The board of directors of the new co-op model will be structured into three categories: user members or undergraduate representatives from different faculties, worker members or employees and support members, which the executives from the CSU will occupy.

Similar to Burritoville and the Co-op Bookstore, Reggie’s will remain an open space for students. There will be no obligatory subsidy and if students choose to become a member of the bar, they may do so freely.

Running as a financially independent model, the CSU will not bail out the bar if it goes into debt, in which case the members will have to decide how the bar will restructure to cut cost, Wilkings said.