It was revealed today in a press release from UCC Students’ Union that University College Cork has decided to close its Old Bar.
The Old College Bar, located between the Boole Basement & the Kane Building, which has been in operation for over thirty years, has been closed by the University Management Team Operations (UMTO). The decision to close the Old Bar has been met with opposition from the ‘Student Life’ organisations on campus, with the Presidents of the Societies Guild, Clubs Executive and Students Union writing a letter to UCC President Michael Murphy.
…we will not accept the Old College Bar being removed and will not stand by the loss of our student space and social history. We urge you to reconsider.
The main points made by in the letter are that the loss of the Old Bar means that the 150+ club & society events that normally take place there, not including the hundreds of post-event socials, will now have to be relocated. It also means the loss of the main music venue on campus, with the letter mentioning past gigs with international acts like The Rubberbandits, The Frank And Walters, Mickey Joe Harte and Republic of Loose, among others. The Old Bar has also been important as a space for musicians from the college itself, hosting Battle of the Bands competitions & open-mic nights over the years. The letter can be read in full here.
The Old Bar had seen a decline in business over the last few years, with many blaming it on mismanagement, a rise in popularity of the New Bar and the inaccessibility of the Old Bar itself. Two years ago UCC Students’ Union passed a motion in Student Council, following the ‘Wipe the Slate’ controversy, to lobby the University to make the Old Bar more accessible for wheelchair users & people with mobility issues. The motion in question also mandates UCC SU to consider accessible venues before inaccessible ones, and mentions the Old Bar by name.
President Michael Murphy, nor anyone from UMTO, has not replied to the letter at the time of writing. We will update you as soon as we hear more.
We approached the University for comment on the letter. Here is their response:
University College Cork confirms that a decision was taken by the Senior Management Team of the University to close one of the two bars on campus and to continue the on-campus sale of alcohol through one outlet only, in the New Bar. The space freed up will now be available for a range of other student facing services and activities including the option to use it for common room space for the wider student body, with the option also of helping to address the space needs of the Students’ Union, the Clubs Executive and the Societies Guild amongst other groupings, in advance of the opening of the nearby new Student Hub in 2018.
In response to the large outpouring of support for the Students’ Union letter, a petition has been made on Change.org. The petition gives people an opportunity to essentially co-sign the aforementioned letter, and can be found here.