College supports racism more than art

Putting a monetary value on something like art is impossible, yet works of art are bought and sold every day. It is also impossible to say how much a concept like racism costs in monetary terms.

However, our school has found a way to quantify both art and racism in economic terms, and the numbers might surprise you.

Senior art students, both fine arts and graphic design majors, have to do a portfolio review to show off all of their great work as a requirement for graduation.

The reviews are free to attend but, of course, cost money to produce. According to Megan McGrath, senior fine arts major, “It costs fine arts seniors $1,000, at the minimum, to put on a decent show.”

Graphic design majors need even more money, as Jess Allen, treasurer of the Art Student Association, says they have, “already used $3,300 – mostly in printing costs.” This is after getting rid of the postcards that used to feature each senior’s artwork by consolidating everyone’s work onto one postcard.

However, the funding they have received does not even come close. Both the fine arts and graphic design seniors received $400 each for all of the seniors – a total of $800.

Yes, that’s right, they have to raise $3,500 just so they can graduate.

I cannot imagine that in addition to working on my senior thesis, I would have to spend extra time fund raising, just so I could complete a requirement for graduation.

Since funding for our own students is so low, you might think that the College can’t spare money for other expenditures. Not so; the price of bringing racism to the College rang in at $15,002.

That’s how much it is costing us, since the money comes from the student activity fund, to host Pat “crazy even to most Republicans” Buchanan.

Buchanan has called Hitler “an individual of great courage” and attacked America’s participation in the divestment campaign that was instrumental in ending apartheid in South Africa. He wondered why “white rule of a black majority is inherently wrong.”

According to a weekly column Buchanan writes for The American Cause, undocumented immigrants are here to “rape, rob and kill and molest our children.” I guess all of those under-the-table jobs they get are just a cover-up. Since there are 12 million undocumented immigrants in America, I imagine that living, unmolested children are quite scarce by now.

He has also claimed that homosexuals deserve to get AIDS because “they have declared war upon nature,” and that the Nazi death camp at Treblinka was exaggerated and, perhaps, impossible.

What a great guy!

I would rather our own student arts programs be funded than see our poor public school shell out this kind of money to bring any kind of big name here, much less a virulently racist demagogue like Buchanan. I’m sure that it makes us look big and important to bring someone who everyone recognizes by name. Perhaps it even ups our status from “HOT” to “actually on fire.”

But that brings up the obvious question that confronts the millions who undertake plastic surgery every year – how much are we willing to sacrifice so other people think we’re hot?

Every year for Accepted Students Day, the College lays down mulch and plants pretty flowers that only last for a few days to impress prospective students. Our slick, new homepage shows flattering quotes from news stories in prominent view, while student events are either not there or are advertised in a smaller font.

Millions of dollars are tied up in the fiasco of our new apartments, which were going to open in 2004. No one knows when the legal wrangling over them will end and construction will begin again, but they stand as a silent testimony to the College’s drive to put image first and students second.

All of this money wasted on image and on bringing high-profile speakers to campus should go toward improving the real value of our campus by supporting our students. Apparently, it is more important for our college to look good than to actually have the support for programs that make schools good.

We are spending $15,002 on racism, millions on image and $800 on art. What is wrong with this picture?

Buchanan is allowed to spout his inflammatorily racist rhetoric but, luckily, freedom of speech works both ways. Go see him (since it’s free) and tell him that you do not appreciate his racism, hatred and xenophobia. Also ask him to please return the exorbitant sum he is charging to give his speech.

After that, I urge you to call up the College president’s office and ask her why the College’s image is more important than supporting the student body.

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