Brilliant display of disrespect

by Geoffrey Sirc

ItâÄôs Monday night in Prospect Park, the neighborhood where I live within blissfully easy walking distance to campus. After a long day of work, I sit down to a lovely meal. We wanted to enjoy it, but as we began to eat, we looked out the kitchen window. Is Spielberg shooting a sequel to Close Encounters? Was there a crazy chemical explosion in some IT building? Oh, right. Someone must be renting the TCF Bank Stadium, getting their hour after hour after hour of scoreboard recognition along with their rental fee (or however that hellish deal gets cut). So much for a nice serene dinner and a peaceful winter sky. ItâÄôs crazy light-show time. Look, this is simply ridiculous. I donâÄôt care if it costs two cents a day to light that monstrosity of a scoreboard. The real cost is in the psychic, aesthetic, spiritual and emotional well-being of the residents near campus who have to have their night sky ruined by exploding light absurdity. ItâÄôs clear the University of Minnesota is a test case; these new scoreboards are a recent phenomenon, and only now can we see their impact in real life. ItâÄôs one thing to have them in an indoor stadium. ItâÄôs something wholly other to have them in a roofless one. Maybe no one calculated the implications of this when the thing got built, but we sure know the cost of them in environmental corruption now. The University simply has no right to own the night sky. So stop it. Stop letting that giant pain in the butt blast away at night, ruining the night beauty that is the right of all humans. The ethics behind thinking that you can let anyone with enough coin rent the Bank to have that horrifically bizarre light pollution destroy the evening of those of us who live near campus are egregiously sleazy. Let me extend an invitation to every University official with any say in this most serious matter: dinner at my house the next night the Bank will be rented out with the promise of scoreboard recognition. Give me a dayâÄôs lead-time and the number of guests; IâÄôll make my chicken enchiladas. If you can sit through dinner with that luminescent fire-bombing exploding all evening and then tell me that thereâÄôs no problem, that itâÄôs just fine the University can wholly ruin the sanctity of the night sky, IâÄôll eat the plate I serve them on. This is intolerable, and you should be ashamed of yourselves for such cavalier disregard for the feelings of those who live near campus. Every single one of the other universities we compare ourselves to are extremely good neighbors in their surrounding communities. The University of Minnesota, in this case, is a very sick joke. Geoffrey Sirc, University faculty