The Untold story about QuickBite’s Suspension
ABH Press had reported the remarkable launch of QuickBite, a new food stand in Alexander Brown Hall and how it left a lot of Brownites in high hopes. A lot of the residents of the hall had given the new venture which is a brainchild of Elijah Newman, a 2K18 student of Medicine and Surgery, a warm welcome. QuickBite had enjoyed a substantial level of goodwill from Brownites during its launch, as a lot of the customers were willing to overlook the gaffes with delayed order processing and rather look towards a promising time when the monopoly over food items such as shawarma, fries and chicken is finally broken.
Unfortunately, the excitement was shortlived as a broadcast message announcing the suspension of the stand was released by the executives of the Alexander Brown Hall. As promised in the broadcast message, the food stand was up and running again but it left a couple of questions unanswered – should the expectation of the next entrepreneur in ABH be one of uncertainty around the success of their brand in the hall? What were the circumstances behind the initial suspension of the food stand? How can prospective entrepreneurs avoid a recurrence of this?
In the broadcast message circulated on WhatsApp, the words hinting at the reason behind the suspension were quite ambiguous – “an issue with the Hall Management”. In a bid to provide Brownites with accurate and factual information about the incident, ABH Press reached out to the executives. However, both the Hall Chairperson, Salami David, and the Social and Buttery Minister, Ebunoluwa Adedeji, declined to share further details about the development. The latter cited confidentiality as the rationale behind her silence.
On contact with the owner of the brand, Elijah Newman, he was not willing to give the Press any audience. This left the ABH Press’ with the only option of contacting the Hall Management.
We are doing all these in proxy of the Dean of Students – Hall Warden
A phone call was put through to the Hall Warden, however he said that the best person to speak with on the matter was the Assistant Hall Warden in charge of business ventures, Dr Mary Ugalahi. Before the end of the conversation, he however mentioned that Quick Bite was suspended because the due process was not followed, even after the parties involved had been informed on what to do. “At the end of the day if anything happens, it is not Brownites who would be questioned but those of us who are responsible for the hall. Even us are doing these things in proxy of the Dean of Students who is doing it in proxy of the Vice Chancellor. If you know me, you will know that I encourage Brownites to do whatever they want to do,” the Hall Warden maintained
Hall Executives can make decision but the final authority doesn’t lie with them – Dr Ugalahi
The Assistant Hall Warden also re-echoed the thoughts of Dr Obioma Uchendu about the inappropriateness of the processes followed in setting Quick Bite. In a long conversation with her over the phone, she noted that the said principal of Quick Bite was treated like every business person intending to set up a stand in the hall. She however added that plans can be made to create a framework that will cover prospective Brownites looking at setting up a stand in Alexander Brown Hall and possible concessions can be made. When questioned further on the role of the Social and Buttery Minister in monitoring the activities of vendors within the hall in light of the recent developments, she had this to say; “Your excos need to know that they can take the decision but someone still has to give the final go ahead, hence the essence of carrying the Hall Warden along”. She also added that the hall management needs to ensure businesses set up in the hall are safe enough for the students.
“Locus parentis” is a mantra that is often heard from the school management when the topic of their relationship with students is brought up. It goes to proclaim that the school management stands in the place of students who find an abode within the walls of the school. Conversation with the hall management indicates they are bound to treat Brownites like young adults who are allowed to make their decisions but are expected to seek the counsel of the hall management.
In addition, there is a gap of defined framework that needs to be filled when it comes to student entrepreneurs in the hall. One will assume this doesn’t apply to the many online vendors that Brownites have come to know but it is important to put the right structures in place to support and encourage Brownites who want to nurture their businesses in the hall.
Finally, one wonders if there is more to the story as hall executives have declined to comment on the issue. Will we ever get to know what is so confidential about the perspective of the hall executives? We’ll leave that to posterity.