Student Government is proposing to build a Sept. 11 memorial on campus with an estimated price tag between $50,000 and $65,000. While Sept. 11 was an event with repercussions that rippled through almost every sector of our lives, it is hard to see why such a large sum of money should be spent, especially as the event did not touch the USF community in a way that separated it from other universities.
The memorial, proposed under former Student Body President Mike Griffin about two-and-a-half years ago, has now gone through the design process. Art and architecture students on campus worked together to come up with a design. In that regard it is understandable that the design team that presented the final design to SG on Tuesday night is looking forward to possibly seeing its work come to fruition.
Nevertheless, Richard Beckman, who teaches sculpture at USF, said himself that if the memorial is built, to his knowledge USF will be the first university to have such a memorial.
This begs the question: If schools such as New York University — which is mere miles from Ground Zero — do not see the need for such a memorial, why does USF need one?
The most visible memorial on the USF campus is the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. In that case the memorial serves as a reminder to USF students that there was a time when black students were not allowed to attend colleges such as USF merely because of their skin color. To commemorate someone such as King on campus makes sense as it directly relates to USF; to commemorate 9/11 does not.
SG Senate President Stavros Papandreou said Tuesday night that SG’s part is done and that he now proposes to “find out what the students really want.” To that end, SG will have students sign a petition where they will also have the chance to oppose the proposed memorial. Students should not be lulled into supporting this memorial just for “patriotic” reasons, but should rather ask themselves why USF needs such a memorial and if there isn’t a better way to spend $65,000 of Student Activity & Service funds or student money.