Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Different MUN stories

And now a small diversion from what has been suggested to me as an unhealthy obsession with MUN and the Board of Regents election I give you a post that features not one, but two stories regarding MUN. And in neither case do I shit on them. The first is amusing, the second considerably less so.

Story number one is about how more than 100 students getting ready to attend classes at MUN next week will not find themselves staying in their dorm rooms like they thought, but instead at a Holiday Inn.

Now, when I originally heard about this, I was trying to figure out how much this was going to cost MUN. I figured about 50 rooms for about two weeks at around $100 a room per night is around $70,000. Yes, you might think the hotel would give a discount for a bulk rate. But then, would you give a discount knowing the havoc that 100 freshmen university students are going to cause your hotel? I'm surprised they're not being charged a premium.

And yeah, they're likely all first year. From speaking to some friends on campus, something like 70 per cent of res students are first years. So, 100 17-18 year olds, possibly away from home for the first time, in a hotel for a couple of weeks. What could possibly go wrong?

However, the story also doesn't touch on a couple of other things. First, while I was all set to praise MUN for doing the right thing in putting the students up in a hotel rather than sticking them in a gym somewhere, odds are they're not paying for it. The contractor probably is since they blew the deadline.

Secondly, $70,000 is still a lowball number. The story doesn't explain how they're going to be fed. Will they still eat on campus at the cafeteria or will they be given a per diem of some kind for those few weeks? If so, that ups the costs considerably. And then there's the matter of how they get back and forth from the Holiday Inn to the university. That's not a short walk. It's doable, but not pleasent if the weather is bad. So are they being given bus passes (is there even a direct bus route from the hotel to MUN?) or is a shuttle being hired to ferry students back and forth several times a day? Again, more costs.

Not to mention damage to the hotel. There is no way that many students over that length of time do not damage that hotel. Add another couple of thousand there.

So yeah, those two weeks are easily going to cost more than $100,000, I should think. Can anyone find fault with my math?

The second MUN story is the passing of former president Dr. Leslie Harris. One of the comments in the CBC story is that he's practically the model of what you would want in a university president. It's hard to argue with that point.

I only met him a couple of times and in passing, but he always stuck me as an intelligent man who cared deeply about the issues important to him - the university as a whole, the fisheries and Newfoundland. He was a scholar and a gentleman, the kind not often seen much these days. As such, I mourn his passing and offer my condolences to his family. It's a loss not just to the university but also to the province.

Last Five
1. Who do you think - Interpol
2. Where did you sleep last night? (live) - Nirvana*
3. Good to me - Brendan Benson
4. Universe and U - KT Timstall
5. Run for you life - The Beatles


Kerri said...

I've been told it's costing MUN $10,000 a day to keep them up there.

The contractor is also being fined for each day the project goes off schedule.

towniebastard said...

Well, that's a pretty expensive screw-up...

If nothing else, at least you've got plenty of news copy for the first Muse of the fall.