Queen’s Grad Club faces multiple challenges, in ‘urgent need’ of cash

Click to play video: 'Queen’s Grad club weathering financial storm'
Queen’s Grad club weathering financial storm
Following a post on Kingston's reddit forum, many eyes turned to the grad club as it weathers a storm including financial troubles and its board leaving – Apr 18, 2024

One of many posts in the r/KingstonOntario subreddit this week pointed the spotlight at a long-standing beloved local pub, and for all the wrong reasons.

The post alleged that employees of the Grad Club, a Queen’s University-owned, student-operated pub that has stood since the 1960s, had all been laid off.

The post further alleged that taxes are unpaid, debt is mounting and management needs replacing.

While he says there is truth in the post, a member of the Grad Club’s fundraising and advisory committee says what’s missing is context.

The club, he said, has dealt with COVID-19-related business slowdowns, equipment issues, a rent increase and problems with the building, all capped off by the slow departure of the entire board of directors earlier this year.

“Individually, any of those things would’ve been easily managed, but because they all happened at once, it has resulted in an urgent need for a cash infusion at the Grad Club,” Henderson said.

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A cash infusion to the tune of $100,000.

The efforts began in February when the Grad Club opened fundraising.

Since then, around $25,000 has been raised, which Henderson says has gone right back into pulling the bar out of debt.

As for the departure of the entire board, Henderson says it was extremely disappointing.

“At a time when the Grad Club needs a strong board of directors to steer the ship in the right direction, it’s been very disappointing to those of us who care about this place,” he added.

As for what’s next, all eyes are on April 24 when the Grad Club has its annual general meeting, where it will elect a new board and prepare for the future.

As fundraising continues, the university said in a statement that it is phasing in “fair” rent increases.

“The university is committed to working collaboratively with the Grad Club management and Board, and we are always open to discussing their finances and options with them,” it said.

Henderson said they will close down for a few months over the summer but the plan is to come back in the fall better than ever and outfitted with a new board.


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