For the first time in the semester, last week’s student senate meeting had a theme: the Paradox situation. The meeting began with an introduction from Student Body President Safi Zenger and committee reports, where each member reported what was going on with the various committees they manage. These reports essentially boiled down to business as usual, with several committees set to meet in the coming weeks. Highlights, though, were the approval of FinComm funding and the unanimous appointment of Astrid Liu to SCOD.
After this, Zenger shifted focus to the theme of the meeting: Paradox. Attending the meeting were Ruiz Ruiz, the supply manager of Paradox, and LiLi Siedare, the assistant manager. Ruiz shared that Paradox operated on a deficit in previous years, with Reed subsidizing the money the cafe lost. However, significant revenue was lost due to COVID-19 closures, maintenance issues, and the loss of indoor space.
Additionally, Paradox Lost, the cafe’s second location next to the library, had its opening delayed due to maintenance issues. This revenue loss equals a $20,000 deficit that Ruiz revealed must be paid off by the end of the semester, or Paradox would have to close down. They are currently looking for solutions for the cafe’s work-study setup.
After Senate asked what their assistance would look like, Ruiz explained that Paradox usually likes to maintain autonomy from the college and only ended up in the latest funding poll by accident. With wages going up, Paradox’s efforts to increase revenue include a price raise of 15 cents, the introduction of baked goods, and constant promotion on Instagram and student body emails to limited effect. However, due to their autonomy, Paradox cannot request the required funding from Reed. Ruiz mentions that it seems like Reed chooses whether Paradox is a business or student organization at its own convenience.
Dean of Student Life Tawana Parks then spoke, citing the urgency of defining Paradox’s autonomy and wanting to meet with Paradox later to discuss how Reed can help. After this, Siedare asked what the help from Reed would look like, to which Zenger responded by comparing the hypothetical situation to that of the Pool Hall. That space would remain the same, but Paradox would be subject to the Senate’s rules and bylaws, wages would be paid by Senate, and workers would be hired through the Appointments Committee system, which prioritizes BIPOC and low-income students.
Kiana Cunningham-Rodriguez, the Head Treasurer, then added that Paradox’s systems for keeping track of money would change with these finances being reported to Senate. After some confusion, she clarified that Paradox being shut down would mean they could not make purchases anymore, including coffee and supplies, and would likely be forced to close. In summation, the Paradox situation is dire. Tawana Parks will be meeting with Paradox management to negotiate solutions for the cafe’s problems. In the meantime, head over to Paradox, grab a coffee or two to support them and make sure to tip.