Lofty Ambitions Should Be Checked but Not Resisted

    Reza Farazmand/Guardian

    The Loft is easily the most promising endeavor by UCSD to restore notoriously damaged school spirit, potentially even pulling our campus ahead of the curve in arts accessibility among peer universities.

    Every aspect of the dream was larger than life: An entire week of grand-opening entertainment, studded with big names in music, comedy, catering, film and visual arts — only a taste of what was proposed as an entire year of free student events and a hip place to lounge when the silence of Giesel Library became too deafening to bear. It was almost suspiciously awesome — how could a bunch of self-interested university officials drowning in budget crises really be interested in tickling our tastes for the arts? Not that we were complaining. Most of the funding was coming from our pockets, but embedded in fees we would have already been paying whether or not the university had the kind heart to set some aside for the dreamers behind the most exciting and progressive of all campus goings-on.

    However, even after undoubtedly jumping hurdles to set up shop in Price Center East and scoring talent almost too good to be true — for little to no admission price — it turns out that, indeed, theirs was a dream of unrealistic proportions. The ambitious Loft coordinators received well over $100,000 to fill the Fall calendar; but all is apparently not well in paradise, because the Loft is now pushing to piggyback the new A.S. activity-fee referendum. Whatever funds were expected to exist in the initial budgeting of the 2008-09 calendar (assuming it was that organized) are, unsurprisingly, nowhere to be found.

    A.S. councilmembers — who argued ceaselessly over the Loft’s inclusion in their new fee referendum at last night’s meeting — and the student body shouldn’t get righteous and resist a measly $2.65-per-quarter fee just because the organization is not run by students (realistically, the current brains behind the venue could do a far better job than some random college kid), but we should be cautious that this endeavor not become another bottomless piggybank, the Grove Caffe version 2.0. We’ll vote the Loft into our A.S. fees for the time being, but such haphazard lack of oversight — if left unchecked — might not see the venue’s benefits outweighing its costs for much longer.

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