Senate votes to remove Eberly coffee bar

At their weekly meeting on Tuesday, the Waynesburg University Student Senate passed a bill that will remove the coffee bar in Eberly Library at the close of the Spring 2017 Semester.

After years of attempts to make the coffee bar more cost-effective, Student Senate will no longer fund the bar effective after finals week concludes. Senior Vincent Wise, academic vice president of the Senate, wrote the bill in part because, according to him, the coffee bar currently costs $6,000 per year, which is between 60 and 65 percent of the Senate’s annual budget.

“It’s a lot of money, and I’m a conservative, so I don’t believe in spending more than 20 percent on anything,” said Wise.

Three public members, students who are not part of the Senate, spoke at the open public portion of Tueday’s meeting. One supported the removal of the coffee bar, while two argued it should remain, but all three agreed some costsaving reform was necessary.

According to senior Michael Merten, former Student Senate President and one of the individuals who spoke, the bill was too rushed. It was proposed and voted on the same day, and it was changed from a reform bill to a removal bill without notice.

After individuals spoke, the 16 Senators and Executive Board members present voted on the bill.

Eight students voted in favor of the bill, including Executive Board members Tyler McCoy, Vincent Wise and Alan Mcclure; senior Nick Dayich; junior Shon Meade; and freshmen Timothy DeNofrio, Benjamen Dodge and Lauren Harvey.

Five people voted against the bill, including Executive Board members David O’Donoghue and Anthony Juliani, senior Addie Pazzynski, junior Mark Quigley and sophomore Olivia Schultz Falandes.

Three students abstained, including seniors Summer Fiori and Matt McDermott and sophomore Micah Stanko.

Now, the future of the coffee bar area after April 29 is uncertain.

“That’s a discussion that’s going to have to happen,” said Wise. “It’s my understanding it isn’t something anyone else can take care of cause it’s a lot of money.”

Wesley Bristor, a junior sports management major, said the change will have a large impact on students, especially commuters like him who don’t have a dorm room in which to make coffee and use the bar all the time.

“It’s devastating,” said Bristor. “I’ll have to stop by the gas station for coffee then, and I guess more people will have to buy Keurigs.”

Wise is currently discussing plans with next year’s newly elected Senators and Executive Board members, as the entire current Executive Board is either graduating or not returning to Senate next year.

Student Senate President Ryan Schwertfeger does not vote unless there is a tie in the Senate, but if he had voted, he would not have been in favor of the bill. Instead, he had more ideas for reducing cost without compromising quality.

“I think the other options should have been pursued first to see if we could save money,” said Schwertfeger.

In addition, he disagrees with the passage of the bill for the very reason that all Executive Board members next year will be new.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily fair that we’re taking this action which for the most part the new Executive Board is going to have to deal with,” said Schwertfeger. “We’re all going. I don’t think it’s really fair that they have to inherit a problem that they didn’t cause and they have to deal with.”

But Wise stands by his stance that previous moneysaving endeavors have failed, and the best choice for the Senate is to remove the coffee bar altogether.

For instance, last school year, Student Senate voted to stop supplying cups at the coffee bar to reduce costs. But, after significant student backlash, they reinstated the cups. The Senate also began ordering coffee and supplies from Sam’s Club instead of their former provider, AVI, which saved some money.

But the ordering process had many kinks to work out, and required work on the part of both Eberly Library workers and Student Services.

“I’m not doing this because I don’t care – I really do care,” said Wise. “I’m working for the better of the Senate; I’m not working to cause any damage to it.”

Also central to Wise’s decision to write and push forward the bill was an agreement made between the 2012-13 Student Senate and Aladdin Food Services. The two groups agreed that when a Starbucks facility was opened on campus, the coffee bar would be taken out. But the agreement was never followed.

“To me, it’s honoring an agreement,” said Wise.

Schwertfeger and Wise both encourage students to be vocal about what they want and believe with their class Senators, and they welcome students to attend Senate meetings and voice their concerns. If students want to discuss the removal of the coffee bar, the final Senate meeting of the year will be on Tuesday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m.