Performing Arts Center provokes strong feelings from students and faculty alike
I may only be a lowly undergrad student at UMSL so I realize that the Blanchellor may not care to hear my humble opinion, but maybe some of those students who fall into a category similar to mine (the vast majority of UMSL students) might. When looking at the Performing Arts Center, about all I can see is a prestige building stepping stone for Blanche Touhill that benefits the few at the expense of the many.
The number of UMSL students involved in music is very low, especially in comparison to those involved in History, Education, English, etc. Despite this, our great chancellor decides to build a large and expensive building that won't pay for itself and that could not be filled by anyone who might speak or perform there. High- quality speakers will go to better venues and low quality ones won't draw a tenth of the Center's capacity. Meanwhile, the average UMSL student looks at dwindling resources and faculty allocated to their departments. This is an insane way to do things.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like things will improve. The Center will be built despite the arguments of those few who are not so apathetic as to simply say "whatever." UMSL is being promoted more and more, yet the ones already here cannot be taken care of. The problems that the campus has had with the mail room, e-mail and parking will undoubtedly plague the Performing Arts Center as well, making it that much more inefficient. Unless the leadership of this campus gets its head out of the clouds and down to the reality of the situation and faces the responsibility it had, UMSL will continue its downward spiral.
I have just finished reading your article "Arts Center focus of Council debate" in the 16 Nov 98 issue. Rarely have I seen coverage so one-sided.
Has anyone at The Current bothered to ask why there are faculty on this campus upset with the proposed finances of this project?
Has anyone on The Current ever bothered to examine the fiscal record of this administration?
Has anyone on The Current ever bothered to investigate what the effect of 7 years of Operating Budget shortfalls, basically due to the administration's inability to project enrollment and therefore costs, has done to the Academic and Educational core of this University?
Has anyone on The Current bothered to note the difference between real money (Operating Budget money) and the projected budget for the Performing Arts Center by AMS, the consulting firm that created the document the Chancellor consistently references.
Does anyone on The Current know the difference between Real (operating Budget monies) and the AMS budget, which has little basis in reality?
As long as The Current, and other public information and public relations organs on this campus continue to present such a one- sided view, the real issues and dangers presented by building a Performing Arts Center as presently planned to the fiscal and economic integrity of this University as an educational institution will never be considered. Good job Current. I would expect your budget for the next few years is secure.
-Dominic J. Zerbolio, Ph.D
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