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As students of Menlo, we must come to realize that the interests of business will inevitably interfere with the interests of an educational institution. Ideally, an educational institution such as Menlo should be able to provide its students with maximum opportunity, especially opportunity in extracurriculars such as fine arts. Unfortunately, the business office has gone to great lengths to prevent students from maximizing the benefits of a education by interfering with the system of student charges.

At a recent student council meeting, a representative of the business office claimed that charges placed far too heavy a burden on the business office staff. One of the first areas to take this hit of the denial of student charges is the fine arts department. This decision is both insensitive to a department which struggles to survive without the financial support of the school, and indicative of the general laziness which is present in the business office.

Many students are not aware that the fine arts department is self-financedthat is, the only sources of revenue for the department are donations and box office sales. Contrast this with the amount of funding allocated to sports every year: why are we investing our precious funds to watch people collide with each other at high speeds? Menlo needs to reconsider where its funding is begin allocated.

The reasons for the atrocious decisions in funding are primarily related to a much larger problem: the exceedingly high emphasis the Menlo administration places on the importance of public image. Specifically, a halfway decent sports team will be mentioned in a local paper, but, for some reason, many outstanding drama productions may pass without a second thought. It is a tragedy that this twisted Menlo ideologypublic image is more valuablethan actual substanceis serving to hamper the opportunities of members of the fine arts department.

Presently, not only is the business office maintaining its attempts to subvert the fine arts department by refusing to allocate funds to a worthy cause, it is now instituting the policy that students will not be permitted to charge tickets for drama productions. This odious maneuver will serve to reduce the

sales of tickets significantly, primarily because the majority of ticket sales in the past have come from student charges. Consequently, the business office bureaucracy is serving to undermine opportunities for students.

Not only is this resolution an exercise in insensitivity, it is also an exhibition of hypocrisy. While the business office has decided to deny students charging privileges for drama productions, it has resolved that it will continue to allow students to charge tickets for admission to school dances. What could possibly be more irrational? What benefit do the students at Menlo receive from the profit which is incurred from dances? It is safe to say that the outrageously high prices of dance tickets fund nothing but the thinning of students wallets. When a student pays for admission to a dance, he pays for nothing of substance; investment in any other area would be better: why not pay for admission to a Menlo club event, where a member might see the benefits of his inventment? Indeed, theprospect of student admission to dances seems to be a bottomless pit for students money. The fine arts department, on the other hand, could benefit greatly from the dollars which students might invest in it, provided the business office does not continue its insensitive restrictions and biases towards certain departments.

The latest solution to this pressing dilemma is perhaps the most outrageous of all solutions, proposed by none other than the administration the school will agree to fund Menlo drama productions, provided that tickets will be given away. In an attempt to reconcile with the department and concerned students, the administration has done little but demonstrate its utter ignorance. Complimentary tickets will result in the problems now present with presenting complimentary tickets to faculty members: with no investment of cash, prospective attendees have no incentive whatsoever to attend. As a result of this poor proposition, the fine arts department would inevitably not only be presented with the dilemma of playing to empty houses, but, more importantly, the administration would have complete control over the revenue of the department. Although this proposition by the administration may appear to be a solution, but, in reality, it is truly nothing more than a continuation of efforts to deny support to certain departments.

Somehow in the course of Menlo history, athletics and student life have gained the upper hand over fine arts. This is despicableat its open houses, Menlo claims to support the well rounded student. Although this may be true ideologically, it could not be further from the truth in reality. As of yet, a suitable solution has not been proposed to support this ideal of a balanced acknowledgement of athletics and fine arts. So, Menlo, I leave you with two choiceseither provide fine arts with the means necessary to provide students with the opportunities they deserve, or write off the ideal of balance and classify Menlo as a school which values high-speed collisions over civilized entertainment.


This page created for The Subterranean Crusader by John W. Earl. Last modified January 28, 1996.