At first glance, the cancellation of an amphitheater that would cater to more student-focused performances might sound like an injustice, but surprisingly it’s in the student’s best interests.
Last month, new Sonoma State University President Judy K. Sakaki put a stop to the $10.6 million MasterCard Pavilion project, which was already in the beginning stages of construction.
With the old Sonoma State University administration, we saw an attempt to give students a new amphitheater specifically for student-geared performances.
But when it comes down to efficiency and money, we don’t need a new pavilion when we have a $145 million facility right next door. A new venue would be excessive and ultimately an irresponsible use of funds.
The key is that we need to continue to see students voices being considered when choosing events at the fully equipped Green Music Center.
Rewind to just over a year ago, the GMC almost only hosted performances such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and countless symphonies.
While these events are valuable and should continue to be presented in moderation, these events completely dominated the Green Music Center as a venue.
When choosing what the center should feature, including what Sonoma State students want to see is something that is owed to the school. Solely catering to patrons doesn’t make sense, especially it being on university grounds.
Thankfully, we are now in a situation where we don’t have to criticize the Green Music Center as harshly for not listening to the students’ voices.
As of late, the Green Music Center has hosted several performers and speakers who are not only appealing to the public, but to students as well.
While the students are disappointed the MasterCard Pavilion isn’t going to be built, we’re pleased the Green Music Center is hearing student requests to have more acts like comedian Gabriel Iglesias, Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox as a guest speaker and the sold-out show of country artist Chris Young.
The variety of performances the GMC offers is adding a level of inclusion for the student body.
It’s a win-win situation for both the GMC and the students at Sonoma State - the students have quality shows and the GMC has sold-out performances.
With students being the focus of the new direction, it’s the hope that since MasterCard benefits greatly from the GMC financially as a sponsor, the company will want to partner with Sonoma State to support academic programs as they relate to the Green Music Center.
We applaud President Sakaki and her administrative team for sticking to their academic mission and remaining loyal to the student community it serves by not moving forward with the building of the MasterCard Pavilion.
Even though we may lose $6 million that was put up by MasterCard in this cancellation of the plan, if we as a university do in fact have $4.6 million in funds that will no longer be spent on the pavilion, it should be used properly.
Sakaki has expressed concerns about the school’s academics, and this concern is well-founded.
Our class sizes are so large, many students who pay thousands of dollars in tuition have to sit at the back of ill-equipped classrooms without desks.
Our graduation rate is low, and a bachelor’s degree at Sonoma State often requires more than four years to complete because of the unavailability of necessary classes.
Any available funds as a result of this pavilion cancellation should be put to use to aid these academic issues.
Our campus doesn’t need any more facelifts.
It’s time to prioritize academics again, and we hope the administration follows through with its expressed concerns.