The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: Lyle’s must remain open

While often marketed as a “student-run business,” making money has neither been the goal nor the purpose of Lyle’s Pub. We are here to provide a safe, exciting space to hold events and bring together students from across campus. Student spaces are not money-making endeavors. To judge our significance by our profits reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the purposes of spaces like Lyle’s and Bob’s, and the important role they play in our lives at Grinnell College.

Lyle’s is home to many important traditions that Grinnellians value. Every Wednesday, we host over 75 students for Pub Quiz, which brings students from across campus together. Every semester, we host roughly ten Pub Talks, where professors, staff, and students can give a short lecture on a topic of their choosing. On Election Night last year, we provided a safe, harm-reductive space for over 300 students to watch and process the results of the 2016 elections. Lyle’s did the same in 2008 and 2012.

We are not a sub-free space, but we promote responsible, respectful, and legal drinking—one of the only spaces on campus that does so. By removing a space that provides for responsible drinking on campus, Grinnell is turning its back on its commitment to harm-reduction.

Among the reasons the administration cited for closing down Lyle’s was a lack of training. This claim is fallacious, and frankly, offensive. We care about the safety and competency of our employees,which is why they go through three certification processes and three training shifts before they can even work alone. To claim otherwise is unfair.

Another reason the Administration is putting us on hiatus is our financial solvency. Lyle’s is in a lot of debt, an issue about which we are also concerned. That is why we worked hard alongside Jen Jacobson, Adam Gilbert, and other members of Student Affairs, Accounting, and Dining Services, to create a business plan to diminish the debt. We spent our time, energy, and money from Lyle’s Pub to pay employees at these meetings. Our termination makes all of that time and money a waste, and will force Lyle’s to restart and train a new slate of managers — ironically, an expensive task.

Lastly, we are frustrated with the manner in which the Administration fired us and all of our employees. It is unethical, unprofessional and inappropriate to terminate employment via email over the summer, on an email chain with six other students. In this same email, Andrea Conner noted that some managers and employees have only logged “a few hours,” each week for our jobs, both trivializing the role we play at Lyle’s Pub and the significance of the time we spend there. For many students, “a few hours” makes the difference — it is rent, it is groceries, and it is tuition. She offered no contingency plan to find the same kind of flexible, evening hours that are offered at spaces like Lyle’s and Bob’s.

While we stand in solidarity with our fellow student-run business, thank SGA for their hard work, and celebrate the victory of Bob’s reopening as an event space, we ask that the Administration gives us the same privilege. Let us open Lyle’s for the semester for events like Pub Quiz, reconvene our meetings with the Administration, and continue working on making Lyle’s a safer, more exciting, and more financially-solvent student space. To start from scratch with an entirely new managerial slate and student employees is a waste of student skills and college resources. This space is far too important to let that happen.

— Pub Management: Anna Schierenbeck, Deanna Taylor, Michael Nattinger, Maddi Danks

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