Editorial: Under the (not so) Golden Dome

Facilities Representative Andrew Coy ‘15 announced at Tuesday night’s Senate meeting that it would cost approximately $6,000 to paint the dome atop Old Main. Senators first requested that he look into this endeavor after realizing that the emblem was not actually gold, and so the Senate wanted to ensure that it looked its best for the upcoming National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference to be held here at Canisius from June 24-28th. The investigation into the cost of repainting the dome was first mentioned in a November Senate meeting.

A survey will be sent out by Undergraduate Student Association President John Solak in order to garner student opinion on the dome, but either way, it is unlikely that administration will take on the capital project in time for it to be completed before the summer conference, especially as the College is absorbing the $40,000 housing cost for the projected 400 visiting students and advisers, as well as the staff of the conference.

Initially, this survey was supposed to be released Wednesday morning, but Solak was called into a meeting to discuss the dome where it was suggested that administration would not fund it either way. Solak has decided to reword the survey and sent it out for feedback nonetheless.

Painting the golden dome is clearly a large undertaking, and even if USA were to foot the bill, they would still need administrative permission to change a physical structure on campus, being that it is technically property of the College. Concerns raised in Senate involved whether or not this was an appropriate use of student tax dollars, given that USA does not typically fund capital projects. Even the proposed changes to Penfold Commons were supposedly going to be supplemented by the administration, as they would have funded the renovations made to the physical structure of Palisano Pavilion.

Initially, it can certainly seem ridiculous to want to say, “Hey, the dome isn’t shiny enough, let’s paint it.” It doesn’t move. It doesn’t open up and play music on QuadParty. In fact, from most angles, especially those facing the street, it’s blocked by the ever-so-lovely battery that is Churchill Tower. So why even consider painting it? Because it’s the symbol of our institution, that’s why. It’s nicknamed the “golden dome.” That dome is visibly–in gold ink–on most, if not all, pieces of marketing that the College sends not only to prospective students, but also to current and past students of the College. Every member of this staff had a golden dome on his or her acceptance letter, and yet, no real golden dome. Just a step above bronze-colored dome.

This paper sees the larger issue: that, even if 100 percent of students said, “Yes, let’s paint the dome,” administration may not fund it. At that point, maybe USA would, but that’s not supposed to be how it works. At best, it could end up on Vice President for Business and Finance Marco Benedetti’s plan for the future, despite Coy’s report that the turnaround on this project could be pretty quick. It is the opinion of this paper that the administration should be willing to fund something that all students want, should it be reasonable and ultimately beneficial to not only current but also the future students.

In regards to finance, at the heart of every college, there is a business, and in business, the customer is always right. In this case, the customers are the students; the students who have seen “where leaders are made” fall by the wayside (rumor has it that it’s making it’s way back) and whose tuition just keeps going up. However, it does not always seem that administration is willing to prioritize current students, often focusing instead on the future while forgetting those who know what kind of student comes to this institution: Canisius students.

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