H o m e
ARTS CENTER BEGS ONE QUESTION: WHY?
ARTS CENTER BEGS ONE QUESTION: WHY?
This week, in order to comply with the Hancock Amendment, Missouri will begin mailing taxpayers refund checks. Because money generated from taxes and other sources has surpassed the revenue ceiling set forth in this amendment, the state must give excess revenue back to Missourians.
Meanwhile, UM-St. Louis is laying the groundwork for a new Performing Arts Center, and it promises to yield a number of benefits that make it worthy of student support. On a campus that opened 35 years ago as a one-building operation with only a handful of students on the premises of a former country club, the construction of such a facility should mean the dawning of a new era of growth.
The fact that this building will, in reality amount to something less should compel every student to ask why. Why will this project fall short of all that it might be?
True, funding for the $50-million facility will come entirely from state resources or private donations, and as a result, students will pay nothing.
Doubtless, the new building will also spur the development of a first-rate drama program at the same time it provides a venue for students in the music department.
While it attracts new students planning careers in fine arts, the 1650-seat auditorium and 400-seat recital hall will also provide an opportunity for prominent speakers and popular shows to visit campus more frequently, enhancing the university experience for all students. Many of these events might even provide a source of revenue. Moreover, its very construction will generate hundreds of jobs for the metropolitan area.
However, in consideration of the fact that enrollment has consistently failed to meet expectations and budget shortfalls only last year led to the consolidation of several departments, the proposed expansion will occur under a pall of controversy.
The question remains as to whether the building's operational costs and that of the expanded programs which will occupy it can be met without diverting funds from other already strained departments, resulting in a kind of zero-sum game.
Students should indeed ask why.
Why must the University risk more financial hardship to pursue the Performing Arts Center, an obviously beneficial addition to the campus at the same time the state mails away money. This question transcends the authority of administrators and even the chancellor. It falls instead under the jurisdiction of the highest authority in the state.
As UM-St. Louis has been placed in such an awkward position by a lack of adequate financial support, the Student Government Association on this campus should play a vocal part in organizing student opposition to the misguided Hancock amendment, a campaign worth far more than the usual discussions about parking and student involvement.
MAKING WATERGATES OUT OF MOLEHILLS
For those of us whose first political frames of reference came after that infamous bungled burglary in 1972, this premature talk of presidential resignation and impeachment rings particularly hollow. It's not that we doubt the profound effect our elders assured us Watergate had on the presidency and the country.
But it seems that many of the journalists, the politicians, the Republicans involved in this latest Waterage impostor possess an obscene predilection to catch, ensnare or even entrap by any means possible the first successful two-term Democratic president since Harry S Truman in some "impeachable" offense, as if to exorcise whatever political demons Watergate left unresolved.
Perhaps our youth has left us with an incomplete appreciation of all things sexual, but we find it a little perplexing that older men and women are so enthralled with the dalliances of the president. And as for Kenneth Starr, who so desperately needs to unearth presidential culpability in something more than sordid passion, he and his carte blanche investigation have proven only that subsidized, litigious witch hunts are as ineffective as tabloid journalism.
For those of us unimpressed with Mr. Starr's "investigation" so far, we have only to marvel that America allows the world to watch us humiliate ourselves far more than Bill Clinton or Monica Lewinsky ever could.