Last Wednesday, the University invited all alumni to the Marsh Study Centre to come “Re-live your student days at the Gardies!” and have a free drink. Former and current students are outraged.
For those who don’t know, the Marsh Study Centre on Castle Street used to be a pub named the Garden Tavern, affectionally named Gardies.
A decade ago, the University quickly and quietly bought Gardies for 1.6 million dollars. Critic had uncovered emails using the Official Information Act that revealed the University bought Gardies with no plan for what they would do with the building. Marc Ellis, who had attempted to buy the pub, claimed this was half a million dollars above the estimated value of the pub.
Former Gardies owner, Peter Innes-Jones, told the ODT at the time that he believed the University purchased the property for two reasons: "A, they get to close Gardies, and B, they get the land."
Marc, who is a former All Black and current Critic accredited good cunt, had attempted to buy the pub with a scheme of selling $1000 shares – enough for students’ course related costs to cover – so that students and non-student patrons alike could have a stake in the pub. He was gutted he missed out. When told that the University was hosting this event using Gardies name as a selling point, he said “nothing bothers me these days”, but added “it’s just a bit odd”.
He said, referring to how the Gardies is now the Marsh Study Centre, it was “typical of a bunch of grey-headed Anglo-Saxon board members” to “dilute in a significant way a part of history that we will never get back. I get why they’re [hosting this event], but it is such a damp squib, it’s embarrassing. It’s just lame.”
By the way, a ‘damp squib’ is an old timey phrase meaning an event that is expected to go off, but does not.
Former and current students alike echoed Marc’s sentiment, with one calling the event “salt in the fuckn wound”. A current student accused the University of "profiting off of the name of a pub that they intentionally shut down". Recent graduate Sinead Gill, who is also me, said “it was depressing receiving an invite to re-live glory days that I never experienced in person, thanks to the Uni”.
The University was asked if the Marsh Study Centre still had the old keg lines in, or if there would be bottles and/or kegs brought in for the event.
Despite having more media and communications staff than the combined Dunedin reporting staff of the ODT, Stuff, RNZ, TV1 and Newshub, the University could not respond in time to comment.