University deserves

The University requested $134.4 million in state funding this year. This is a small request compared to the last bonding session in 1998, when the University requested $249 million and received $245 million. At that time, the funding paid to renovate buildings and construct new facilities. Two years later, securing state funding is as important as ever. Gov. Ventura’s proposal of $54 million, however, falls short of University expectations and reflects a poor assessment of the situation.
Projects to receive state funds were ranked by various criteria. The most important — and most difficult to assess — is whether a project served a statewide purpose.
Ventura, who examined over $1 billion in bonding requests, “proposed enough money to do the things that are necessary,” said spokesman John Wodele. Apparently, the deteriorating Art Building, which would require $21 million to renovate, did not make the list, despite the fact that the building violates several health and safety codes. Letting the Art Building continue to crumble would be a terrible scar to the otherwise impressive West Bank arts community. However, that situation could be reality without funding to renovate the building.
Such a drastic reduction in funding reflects poorly on the governor’s judgment. The state should re-evaluate just how necessary the University’s projects are, and decide if it can really afford to cut spending so much.

Flag belongs in museum

The Confederate battle flag, raised in 1962 to commemorate the Civil War centennial, has caused plenty of civil unrest itself recently. Those who support flying the Confederate flag say it represents the heritage of South Carolina and should be upheld with pride. For others, the flag is the icon of an era characterized by slavery and racism. The decision of whether the banner should remain in place is an important one. The wisest decision is to respect the feelings of the flag’s critics, and preserve the past in a museum.
If the ultimate decision is to leave the banner up, it will not change the feelings of its critics. In fact, the choice to leave the flag up cannot be made without acknowledging the anger that incited the public outcry to begin with. If the flag is left where it stands, the message sent to the banner’s critics will be that their personal beliefs are not a high enough priority to warrant removing the flag. This message could be even more disruptive than the symbol itself to the civil health of South Carolina.
Advocates of the flag claim it deserves recognition because of historical value, but a museum would be a more appropriate place than a flagpole. Hoisting a flag in the air bestows a certain unspoken honor that communicates more than just its history. Viewers would be free to visit it on their own terms, to idolize, study or condemn the period of time it represents, according to their own personal beliefs. This would be the most democratic decision, and therefore the most appropriate.