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Emilie Medland-Marchen

MacHall injunction verdict remains unknown

By Scott Strasser, August 2 2016 —

Though a verdict was expected by the end of July, the fate of MacHall’s ownership remains uncertain.

Control and management of the building is currently the subject of an ongoing legal dispute between the University of Calgary and its Students’ Union.

The SU believes they are the 55 per cent majority co-owners of MacHall, as stated in the original 1969 building agreement. U of C administration points to the 1999 License of Occupation, Operation and Management Agreement (LOOMA) as justification for their ownership claims.

The SU currently operates MacHall under the 1999 LOOMA,  and obtains 15 per cent of its revenue through rent cheques from MacHall’s third-party tenants. According to the SU, that equals close to $2 million per year. The SU seeks an injunction to retain control of MacHall under the currently extended LOOMA for the duration of the ongoing lawsuit.

SU president Stephan Guscott said MacHall remains important to the SU’s future.

“Having seen the positive impacts from behind the scenes that [MacHall] does for students, I think this building is what sets us apart and allows us to be such strong advocates and representatives of students to make sure they have a high quality of life on this campus,” he said.

The two sides have already been to court twice this spring. Following the second hearing on June 3, Justice Kim D. Nixon — the Court of Queen’s Bench judge presiding over the MacHall injunction application — said her decision would be finalized by late June. She later delayed her verdict until mid to late July.

But as July turned to August, Nixon’s decision hadn’t been publicized.

“Things are kind of in a holding pattern right now,” Guscott said. “Things could change, or things could not change. It’s been two months since the last court date and we’re still waiting for a decision. Hopefully it’ll be a detailed decision.”

U of C president Elizabeth Cannon gave her thoughts on MacHall before a presentation at Student Legislative Council on August 2.

“We’re all waiting for a decision from Justice Nixon and that’s all we can really say right now,” Cannon said.

Until a verdict is finalized, the SU will continue to operate the building  under the 1999 LOOMA.

“Inherently the current agreement stays in place, so things will still stay the same for students,” Guscott said. “Whatever decision [Justice Nixon] makes, we hope that it’ll keep the best interests of students at heart. And we think that’s by having the SU manage the building, as we have for the past 47 years.”

The university asserts that if administration assumes control of MacHall, the building will remain fully open and operational, and that the SU would continue to run all businesses they currently operate and continue to collect revenues from doing so.

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