Theatre fee would shine spotlight on arts

The U arts could use the financial support that athletics rely on.

Gary Greene

The football season is almost over, and TCF Bank Stadium has officially been broken in. Yet while students who were able to finagle their season tickets enjoyed world-class athletics in the unseasonably warm Minnesota climate, an entire riverbank âÄî the other riverbank âÄî of artists remains isolated and marginalized by the University of Minnesota community. Rarig Center is the UniversityâÄôs home for theater, dance and radio broadcasting. Used for classes and media production, it opened in 1972 âÄî 10 years before the Gophers began using the Metrodome. One look inside will inform you that the building has received minimal upgrades since that time. In fact, it wasnâÄôt until earlier this semester that the doors to the building were even made handicap accessible. Work has already begun to upgrade RarigâÄôs two largest of four stages. Yet beyond the performance spaces themselves, the entire building is in dire need of structural and cosmetic repair. For these reasons, I support the University administrationâÄôs proposed collection of a theatre fee from its students in order to bring the building up to the standards sustained by the UniversityâÄôs athletics and academic facilities. As University students, we are already familiar with those tiny fees that have been tacked onto our tuition. This fee, which is projected to be only $7 per semester, finally supports the achievements of student artists rather than athletes. For those who see this proposal as funding a part of the University experience they will never utilize, imagine the tens of thousands of students who will never set foot inside TCF Bank Stadium for a football game, yet pay $12.50 per semester to help build it. If this proposal is passed, President Bob Bruininks and the University administration will have finally brought the attention and support deserved by these academic and artistic programs. Gary Greene University undergraduate student