The following was the last official FAQ document posted prior to closing:

A lot of people were curious about Mount Allison's campus pub, especially new students, so this section was written by Jonathan "Scooter" Clark (the Manager) and was intended to answer some commonly asked questions. Now that the Tantramarsh Club is out of business, we've decided to leave the FAQ's online for historical interest, especially since students at other universities around the world are researching the Pub due to the case in the Harvard Business Review. This page was last updated in the fall of 2009, when the Pub was still in full regular operations.

What is the Tantramarsh Club?

The Tantramarsh Club is a student-run Pub located on the Mount Allison University campus. It is a licensed venue, which means it can serve alcohol, and also features amenities such as a pair of pool tables, a number of big screen televisions, courtesy phone, etc. The Club is commonly referred to by the university community as "The Pub."

Where is the Pub?

The Pub is located in the basement of the new Wallace McCain Student Centre building. This is the building that also houses the mailroom, the Students' Administrative Council offices, the Argosy (the student newspaper), Student Affairs, the International Students department, CHMA (the campus radio station), and many other student-related organizations.

Who is allowed in the Pub?

The provincial age of majority (drinking age) is nineteen years in New Brunswick. Even if you are of the age of majority in another province (ie. Quebec or Alberta), you still have to be nineteen to drink alcohol in New Brunswick. The Pub does not normally admit students under the age of nineteen (except in limited circumstances for "dry" live entertainment events).

I've seen the doorman slide my ID into a cabinet by the door. What's he doing?

The Pub is licensed as "Club" under the New Brunswick Liquor Act, and because we are a club, one legal obligation is to sign in the patrons that visit our premises. We formerly did this by getting guests to sign a clipboard as they came in, but this process was slow and annoying. There is now a high-resolution video camera mounted in the cabinet by the door, and when the doorman slides the ID into it, the picture is recorded in high resolution on a digital video workstation. This process is much faster, and has replaced the clipboard sign-in process.

A lot of students are talking about getting their Pub Membership as soon as possible. What is this about?

Again, this relates somewhat to our Club license. If you buy a Pub membership, it means you are treated as a "preferred customer" in some ways. By far the most important benefit for members is that they do NOT normally pay a cover charge when coming to the bar. Non-members, however, pay $5 on Fridays and Saturdays (there is usually no cover charge from Monday through Thursday, except for some special events). The only time members ever pay a cover charge is for a "special event" (such as Live Entertainment acts, or building-wide events), but even then we try to minimize the number of times these charges apply, or at least have a lower cover charge on these night for members than for non-members. The cost of the annual membership is $40.00 plus HST. They are on sale at the Pub every night for approximately the first two weeks of the school year. When you purchase your membership, you must sign a form stating that you agree to follow the Club's rules and regulations, and then we put a membership sticker on the back of your student ID. The stickers are made of a special tamperproof material, so if you have to switch ID's, you'll have to come see us to be issued a new sticker, as they can't be moved from card to card. If you need a replacement sticker because you've lost your ID and had to get a new one, there is a charge of $3 to cover the cost of the sticker itself. Remember that unless you have a Pub sticker from a previous year, you MUST bring both your student ID and a government photo ID in order to purchase a membership.

Are there any other benefits to becoming a member?

The reduction in cover charge is a major benefit, and for those students that come to the Pub on a very regular basis, it means a savings of a lot of money throughout the year. However, besides the savings on cover charges and drink prices, once in a while there are other minor benefits to membership, ie. free contests whereby the entrants must be Pub members to be considered eligible. Pub Members also receive a weekly email to talk about things going on at the Pub and around campus, and we often have trivia and other contests in these emails that only members are allowed to enter. And finally, there are several nights per year that are designated as "Members Only" nights, and on these nights, the prices on drinks are VERY appealing. The whole point of the membership system is to reward the frequent users of the Pub with heavier discounts and lower costs throughout the year. Think of it this way - you could pay $40 in a single night just buying a few bottles of wine at the liquor store. But if you come to the Pub just ONCE per month throughout the year, you'll save that much in cover charges alone! The Pub membership gives you benefits that last for the entire academic year.

How does the membership money get used?

This money helps cover normal operating costs. Our bar sales are a significant part of our overall revenue for the year, but we need other sources of revenue to ensure that we remain fiscally solvent. These include the cover charge revenues, and membership revenues, which are the items which keep us from going bankrupt. The Pub memberships are priced to recover approximately the same amount of total annual revenue that students pay to other student-run campus organizations, such as the annual fees for the Argosy newspaper and the CHMA radio station. Both of those fees are automatically included in student fees, so all students pay them. The Pub membership fee is a discretionary fee which is most useful to students who actually visit the bar several times during the school year.

What expenses does the Club have, besides staffing and alcohol?

The cost of the products sold and the labour are by far the two most significant expenses at the bar. However, there are a number of other expenses as well .... rent, insurance, auditing fees, entertainment (this includes DJ equipment and music), and regular maintenance of club property. Rent is the most significant of these, and is set at around $32,000 this year for the main bar area and solarium rentals (this includes utilities). Insurance (liability and otherwise) amounts to over $12,000 per year. The rest of the items on that list amount to perhaps another $15,000-20,000 per year, and as well, there are lot of other minor expenses such as glassware, bar supplies, bank charges, etc.

Why do you pay rent?

For a number of reasons, the most significant of which deals indirectly with liability purposes. The Tantramarsh Club is set up as an independent organization, at arm's length with the university. Our accounting records are kept entirely separate from the books of the university. Because we are an independent organization, the university charges us a rental fee to use the space within the University Centre. I think we are probably the only organization in the entire University Centre which pays rent, and I believe we are also the only organization that does not get any subsidies from the Students' Administrative Council (SAC) fees that all full-time students pay. This is one of the reasons why I, as the Manager, have to be so concerned with watching expenses and monitoring our ongoing financial performance. We have to make sure that we don't run out of money, because no one gives us any free handouts. When I say that the SAC doesn't give us any money, this should not be construed as a criticism. We have a very good working relationship with the Student's Administrative Council, and we work very frequently as partners on major projects and events. The separation from external funding is simply a characteristic of our organizational setup.

Why don't you try to set things up so that a portion of SAC fees go to the Pub instead of selling memberships?

Many, many students have suggested this idea in the past. We agree that there would be major benefits for a lot of students if this were to happen. Traditionally, as many as 1000 students have purchased memberships to the Pub each year, which is almost half of the entire student body. By getting included in SAC fees, the fee needed per student would also be lower than the current membership fee of $40. Therefore, if it were put to a simple majority vote by the student body, we are fairly confident that the majority of students would support this change. However, the Pub currently does not feel that it would be an appropriate way of approaching our funding needs for one simple reason: underage students would be paying fees to support an organization which only older students have access to. Many students argue that, "Yes, everybody loses out for a while when they are still under nineteen, but everybody would benefit eventually. What comes around, goes around." However, we do not feel that this is the best way to approach the issue. We would rather have a facility that can benefit all students in some manner. At some point in the future, we might become willing to talk to the SAC and the student body about folding membership fees into the SAC fees. However, at the present time, it does not make sense for the student body as a whole.

I heard that you were non-profit, so why do you have to worry about making money?

Yes, we are officially designated as a "not-for-profit" organization by the province and by Revenue Canada. But this doesn't mean we can lose money on an ongoing basis. We could, of course, afford a couple years with small net losses, but only until the money that we have built up in our bank account is gone. If we run out of cash in the bank, we would be in big trouble. What the not-for-profit status means is fairly simple: we do not pay income taxes (although we do remit HST on all revenues). Also, any fiscal surplus that the Pub makes must not be disbursed to "owners" or "stakeholders" but must rather be reinvested in the establishment. Over most of the 1990's and early 2000's, we consistently had small profits, in the range of between 0.5% and 4% per year if I remember correctly (as a percentage of total after-tax revenues). This money was been used to improve our infrastructure through improvements such as the purchase of a pool table, DJ equipment and music, new cash registers and dishwasher, televisions, etc. However, the Pub had a very bad year in 2008-2009, predominantly due to costs associated with moving into the new venue. We expect that we'll have a better financial performance this year, but we really won't have a firm grasp on our long-term financial health until we get at least a full year under our belt in the new location.

So if you're an independent establishment, why do you have to follow university regulations?

The lease that we sign with the university includes a large number of stipulations, and one is that the Club and its officers and employees must enforce university rules and regulations at all times. If we didn't do this, in theory, the university could cancel our lease and we'd be without a home. However, this should never be an issue because we co-operate with the university in trying to offer a safe and enjoyable establishment, in order to provide enhanced opportunities for social interaction. And while the university does not control us directly, they do have a voice in our administration. The Pub is controlled by a Board of Directors (see the relevant section on this site, which talks about the Board quite extensively). That Board is composed of a mix of students, faculty, alumni, etc. Although most of the Board members are elected on an annual basis at our Annual General Meeting in September, there is one position (the administration representative) which is a position appointed by the University administration. At present, this person is Michelle Strain. Although Michelle's official power is no more than that of any other board member, her effective power is quite unique. If the Board were to do anything that ran contrary to the best interests of the University, the University again could threaten cancellation of the lease. So in reality, the administration representative has effective veto power in Board decisions. However, despite this technical aspect, it should be remembered that this has never been an issue since I've been the Manager, as our views on university-related issues are common-sense and usually convergent with the University's views.

What is the role of the Manager?

The Manager's job includes, but is not limited to: staffing, inventory control, cash reconciliations, bank deposits, liquor purchasing and pickup, security, maintenance, cleaning & equipment maintenance, payroll, accounting assistance, record-keeping, public relations, promotions and advertising, music/entertainment control, regular operational maintenance of the third-party ATM machine, etc. But that's getting pretty detailed. Basically, the Manager controls all issues relating to daily operations. The Board of Directors is responsible for setting broader policies, and the Manager is responsible for implementing them. Of course, there are a number of other knowledgeable Senior staff (students), to help the Manager carry out all of these duties.

What problems does the Pub face right now?

Although we were able to move into our new venue part-way through the school year last fall, we are still working out some kinks in the new building. This is to be expected, but it will probably be a while longer before we get everything working properly in the new space. For instance, the air conditioning system is still being balanced.

Earlier you talked about University Rules and Regulations. What do you mean?

The university has a number of rules that they publish, which I believe are distributed to new students in the frosh packages. These mostly deal with disciplinary issues. There are a couple which I guess I should emphasize here, because I always see several students going to judicial throughout the year, either because of ignorance of the rules, or because they don't think the rules are enforced:

- Open liquor. A lot of people get charged for this. If you've got a drink or beer bottle on campus practically anywhere except inside your residence room or inside the Pub, you can get fined. There are exceptions for floor parties, but carrying booze across campus will generally get you in trouble if a security officer hiding in the shadows sees you. Many people do this, while drunk, thinking that the security officer isn't bright enough to catch them, but remember he's the one who is sober, hiding in the shadows, and he's observant.

- What is open liquor? Here's another major problem. A lot of people think that it is fine to carry a bunch of beer bottles in a knapsack across campus, as long as the bottles aren't open. They also think that if you repack a case of beer full of unopened bottles, and carry it across campus, you're ok because it's a full case. This is NOT true. Both of these instances would be considered to be "open liquor" because the bottles are not packed in a case which is still sealed. As the Pub Manager, I'm also on the liquor policy committee for the university, and these cases have been discussed quite thoroughly. It's the same rules that the provincial and town police apply.

- Single bottles. Ok, yes, I guess there is an exception. I guess the liquor store actually sells single bottles, and I think that if you buy them that way, and you have the receipt on you, and you are proceeding directly from the liquor store to your residence or apartment, you are not breaking the law. But I think if you try that several hours after the purchase time on the receipt, say at 2am with a receipt dated 4pm that afternoon, and you're going from your apartment to another place, you'll be in trouble. It's the Point B to Point C rule: you can go from A to B, within a reasonable time period, but not to further destinations. Yeah, I know, the law is pretty screwy, but that's a bigger issue, far beyond the reach of myself or the university.

- Drugs: these can get you into a bit of trouble if you get caught with them on campus. Obviously, we don't tolerate drug use inside the Pub either.

Speaking of drugs, can you elaborate a little bit more?

Well, it's pretty basic. Our staff enforce the university's rules and regulations, which prohibit the consumption or possession of drugs on campus. We have a lot of staff members with different backgrounds, and naturally, as individuals, they have some very divergent views on the pros and cons of drug use. However, even the ones that are pro-drug realize that the university's rules must be adhered to, and they will therefore try to ensure that nobody breaks the rules within the Pub. If you want to smoke pot or whatever, do it off-campus and save yourself a lot of potential trouble.

What happens if I get caught doing something I shouldn't be doing?

It depends on what you do, but in general you would be charged by the university and have to appear in front of the judicial committee, which is sort of like a court setup. If this happens, you would normally get a subpeona saying that you have to appear, with the time and date and place specified. It's usually Wednesday nights in the Crabtree building. Anyway, they then hear your case, and your story, and your witnesses, etc., and decide on whether or not sanctions should apply. For a lot of cases, especially those involving alcohol or harassment/assault, sanctions for persons found guilty can include fines and also bans from either the Pub by itself, or from all licensed events on campus altogether. The Pub enforces these bans because it goes back to the university regulations clause in the lease I talked about earlier. HOWEVER, the Pub also has its own internal set of disciplinary guidelines, because we are an independent establishment. If we believe that you've done something inappropriate, you may be banned internally. Depending on the circumstances, we may or may not have the option of referring it to the judicial committee. Because of this, some infractions may result ONLY in internal Pub bans, whereas others may start with a Pub ban, and then also be referred to judicial because of the university regulations. This gets interesting, because sometimes sanctions applied under the two systems are different, in which case, we abide by the lengthiest ban. Our internal sanctions are pretty comprehensive and structured, to try to minimize any chance that cases might appear to be influenced by personal factors.

I've heard that you're pretty strict. Is this true?

We've put the rules in place to try to make the establishment a safer place. A lot of our customers come to recognize this over the years ... we hope that we are one of the safest bars in Canada. You won't have to worry about dirty old men from town coming to hassle the female students, and you won't have to worry much about rednecks looking for fights. For instance, if someone gets in a fight, they get banned for "quite a while," and nobody wants to be banned if all of their friends are still going to the Pub. While there are other bars in town, I've heard reference that a ban from the Pub is a "social death penalty". The sanctions seem harsh, but they only hurt the people who cause the problems, so that seems fair. At the most, we've had perhaps half a dozen fights in the bar in the last five years, so it appears that the sanctions probably work as an effective deterrent. We want students to know that no matter who they are, they can come to the Pub and feel comfortable, and feel like they are among friends. We don't like to see racism, gender discrimination, intolerance of other persons' sexual orientations, etc. Even for 'minor' things, like throwing drinks on someone, drinking after you've been cut off, crowd surfing on the dance floor, or simply being too drunk to be in the bar, you will likely be asked to leave for the remainder of the evening, at a minimum.

I've heard that you have a lot of security cameras in the Pub. Why is this?

Basically, it again comes back to internal control and security. The security system is tied in with the University's building-wide security system.

This website seems to have a lot of stuff on it. Who does it?

There are actually quite a few employees who are involved in it, and it gets quite a bit of traffic. I guess the biggest attraction of the site is the photo galleries, where we try to post several dozen pictures on the site every few weeks that were taken recently in the bar. These galleries are extremely popular.

What about "special events"?

Well, of course we're always hoping that more opportunities for these events fall into our lap, and we work closely with the Entertainment Directors at the SAC to maximize our options. Ducky's, a downtown bar, effectively eliminated live entertainment a couple years ago, and last year we experimented with tapping into that market. We are continuing to attempt to feature a regular series of live events on Wednesday nights this year. On the weekends, however, the majority of students unquestionably prefer having DJ's and top-40/dance music.

Do you have any job openings?

We regret that we do not currently have any job openings.

I'm an international student. What's the deal with tipping here?

In restaurants and bars in Canada, it's fairly customary for the customer to give an extra tip of ten to fifteen percent to the server if you appreciate the speed and quality of their service. In other countries, this isn't the practice ... the tip is automatically included in the price of the product in some regions, and in others the wages are higher and so tipping is not customary. However, in Canada and the US, the wages for service employees are generally quite low and these people rely on tips to supplement their earnings. At the Pub, tipping is certainly not mandatory, although many people do tip. The typical amount that many students leave is a quarter per drink, and this money doesn't actually go directly to the bartender or beer tub person ... it gets divided equally between ALL the staff (that worked that night) at the end of the night. We think this makes a more fair system for the persons working in positions that don't involve direct selling (ie. the buspersons and DJ's), and it makes sense because our staff training approach is to encourage teamwork. Everyone who is working at the Pub tries to help each other, to try to give the customer the most enjoyable evening possible. For some of the staff, the tips are a very important part of their income which helps pay their living expenses and tuitition, but despite this, there are still some nights when all the staff donate their tips to charitable organizations.

Which bank is your bank machine connected to?

We don't have an ATM in the bar itself. However, there IS a CIBC bank machine outside of the Pub, in the lower level of the new Student Centre. You'll be able to take money out of that before you come into the Pub.

What's the deal with Molson?

Molson is our "preferred" brewery partner. All of the major breweries (including Labatt's and Moosehead) maintain a strong marketing presence on campus, but Molson is the brewery that we work with the most. You will find a lot of Molson brands available at the Pub, including Canadian, Export, Coors Light, Corona, Heineken, Canadian Light, & Miller Genuine Draft. Molson provides a very large number of prizes that we give away in various contests throughout the year.