C-Haus discourse continues to escalate following town hall
The tension surrounding former on-campus bar and venue Coughy Haus, better known as C-Haus, has escalated once again following a town hall run by Beloit Student Government (BSG) co-presidents Tobin Greenwald‘20 and Mashfik Siddique‘20. The town hall was announced via a post on Facebook inviting students to “learn about the opening of C-Haus.”
The event was attended by upwards of 30 people, several of whom were former employees. Greenwald and Siddique attempted to answer as many of the presented questions as possible but fell short on some occasions, often responding by offering to ask Cecil Youngblood. Youngblood’s absence was notable to many, including C-Haus Facebook page administrator and former C-Haus employee Luke Zimmerman’19, who said “he’s the one in charge of the project. If things were going to get done, he should be at all the meetings. It just doesn’t make sense for him not to be there. It’s just delaying things even farther and creating further miscommunication.”
One of the most widely relevant pieces of information to come out of the town hall was the suggested formation of a committee to operate and perform the duties and responsibilities formerly belonging to the C-Haus manager. Significant pushback from the audience on this was met by Greenwald stating once again that he was only relaying the ideas and wishes of Youngblood.
According to official notes published by Greenwald following the town hall, students made it clear that: “BSG must look to put in safeguards to make sure that this does not happen again and that students take charge on decoration and function returning C-Haus to its former stature as a student/manager led facility.”
The notes also included a section stating that under the basic functions of the facility the students present, “decided that it is essential that C-Haus is primarily a night time hangout spot open on a minimum of three days a week.” as well as “be a place where bands can play (a stage in particular) regularly and students come to socialize and unwind and there should be as much at the students disposal as possible.”
The following day, a lengthy update was posted on Facebook by the previously inactive Coughy Haus page– now run by Zimmerman– to the Beloit College Student Group, giving a timeline of the events leading up to a following C-Haus’ closure, as well as a critique of the proposed committee.
“We’ll try our best,” Zimmerman said via the C-Haus Facebook page, “but volunteering our time without pay is a challenge. Doing the job of a manager that got $30,000/yr + housing is a challenge. We certainly hope the college will recognize the great amount of work they are asking of us and will compensate us appropriately.”
The post quickly took off, garnering over 60 shares, causing it to be spread not only to nearly the entire campus but to a wide variety of alumni as well. Outrage erupted from active students and alumni alike, as anecdotes of important life moments relating to C-Haus were shared, detest for the aesthetic modifications were expressed, and the cultural importance of the venue was explicitly stated.
Since the post, discourse has continued to stir around campus surrounding the $30,000 manager’s salary that was reportedly used for debt relief. According to Zimmerman, “[I asked Jen Walsh], why don’t we have access to those funds? I had to keep asking and asking and eventually, she gave in and she told me $30,000 of that, of the operational budget, which I think accounts for the manager salary and some other operational costs, was taken for deficit relief and that’s all she told me.” However, Siddique refuted these claims, implying that it was merely an idea to take the $30,000 which ended up not taking place.
On Sunday, Zimmerman followed his Beloit College Student Group post with one on the Beloit College Alumni pages on Facebook with the news surrounding the new C-Haus. His post to the alumni page was a call to action. “Tell them honestly what you think and don’t take what they say at face value,” Zimmerman said. “Pressure them to tell you and us why they stole our activity fees without our consent. Ask them when the basement will be open. Ask them why they won’t pay us.”
Despite widespread skepticism among former employees and the general student body, Siddique claims that C-Haus is still on track to be opened the week after spring break, with the committee having completed its first meeting on Sunday afternoon. No former employees thus far have reported being contacted about resuming their positions.
The author of this article is a former C-Haus employee.