PHI to shut down; students grieve
Panther Hollow Inn — known among students as “PHI” — formally announced that it is closing by the end of May after many years of operation.
This news met with a great deal of attention within the university community and from local residents.
The news of PHI’s closing drew a substantial response from the campus community, with many students concerned that this closing was an effect of Carnegie Mellon’s desire to develop the area surrounding Craig Street.
Despite initial speculation that the closing may have been part of the university’s Master Plan, Vice President of Campus Affairs Michael Murphy released a statement stating that it was not the university who had purchased the bar.
Student body president Will Weiner confirmed this statement.
“I got in touch with Vice President of Campus Affairs Michael Murphy and he confirmed with me that CMU did not buy the bar,” Weiner said. “Beyond that, I’m really not sure.”
Within hours of the news of PHI’s closing being shared online, a change.org petition for keeping PHI open was released, reading, “This is not about the need for alcohol, this is not about delicious greasy food, this is about keeping the love and tradition of CMU students alive.” Within three days, the petition reached 750 signatures.
Weiner added, “It’s been an interesting reaction. I’ve never really seen anything except for when the Fence got cut up a few years ago, where the whole campus rallied around a cause.”
When asked about their memories of PHI bar, junior computer science major Dave Cummings and senior chemical and biomedical engineering double major Emerson Hum both spoke favorably of its proximity to campus.
A master’s student in biomedical engineering responded that she had a strong attachment to PHI, saying that “it would never be the same.”
Senior materials science and biomedical engineering double major Courtney Joe shared this view as well, recalling her fond memories at PHI and saying that a new business “cannot replace what had happened there.”
Staff at PHI stated that owner Eugene DePasquale was very upset by the closing of his bar, and was unavailable to give any comments regarding this announcement.
To commemorate the bar, students began selling PHI T-shirts on the Cut the Friday after this announcement.
“It’s a community object,” Weiner added, “one of the few unique CMU hangout spots.”
Any future plans for the Panther Hollow Inn building are still unknown.