EDITORIAL: Reinforce Chums’ student-led mission
This week, Cholmondeley’s Coffeehouse reopened for business. The coffeehouse closed last March, and all of its 13 student workers were let go in response to the mishandling of a fire alarm during an event. As Chums prepares to reopens its doors, this board would like to propose a model to ensure that it remains properly and safely managed and maintains its tradition as a student-run organization.
This editorial board believes that with its history as the only completely all-student-run food service on campus, it is important that Chums preserves its independence. However, this independence cannot come at the expense of proper training and hiring practices and oversight which must for now be enforced by the University.
If the University is involved—perhaps more so in the beginning of the year as the coffee house is just reopening—it will be able to set a precedent for the kind of organization the students will be running.
Leading up to the recent shutdown, Chums saw a number of managerial issues. A Sept. 21, 2014 article outlined the abusive hiring practices that were prevalent in the Chums culture, which cannot be continued. In an Oct. 7 2014 article, the Justice published that the coffeehouse had stopped serving food in late August due to an expired food permit—an oversight of Student Activities team members. And on March 6, the coffeehouse was not evacuated after a fire alarm, causing the subsequent shutdown.
In light of these past issues, this board would like to recommend that the University specifically oversee such business as the implementation of non-hazing agreements (which is similarly a requirement for all campus clubs) as well as fire and food safety training.
This University oversight would not alleviate students of their responsibilities for running the business, but would assist them in making important elements run smoothly, safely and fairly. The students in charge of Chums must also take responsibility for their actions and be held to the same standards as campus clubs, as well as to service industry standards.
Ideally, student workers at Chums would be collaborating with Student Activities minimally to maintain healthy and safe practices surrounding the coffee house. This board would like to suggest that the Student Activities staff make Chums a priority early on as Cholmondeley’s reopens its doors.
The reopening of Chums is a chance for the beloved coffee house to start afresh with safe and responsible practices and procedures, and this board wishes the staff luck in beginning.