Barron Hall and Aimee Font-Sanborn are two students who, among others, in the College of Visual and Performing Arts spent about three weeks during the spring 2003 semester designing a model for an on-campus memorial of the Sept. 11 attacks. They were chosen by Student Government to build the memorial.
For about two years, Hall and Font-Sanborn have not yet seen the funding and the memorial has not yet been built. Both Hall and Font-Sanborn presented the memorial’s final design Tuesday night at the SG Senate meeting and asked the SG Senate to once again seriously consider funding the project this legislative term. Senate President Stavros Papandreou requested Tuesday that the SG senators find out if USF students want the memorial or not. SG would have to allocate between $50,000 and $65,000 from unallocated student activity and service (A&S) funds for the project.
“The only real reason we are here is for the students and we need to plan and go out and see what the students really want,” Papandreou said.
Font-Sanborn said she thinks the memorial would be a good way to remember the attacks and a place for students to gather. She added that the delay of construction is frustrating.
“I don’t want to be defensive about it, but they came to us to build the memorial and we competed to design it,” said Font-Sanborn, a USF architecture student. “Three weeks of work is an understatement because we really spent the whole semester doing follow up work for the project.”
“All the while we thought the money was there,” said Hall, paint and drawing area coordinator at USF.
Former student body president Mike Griffin proposed the 9/11 Memorial in fall 2002. Griffin also proposed to fund the memorial and allocate $50,000. The USF Physical Plant selected a site located beside the Student Services Building in a circular area surrounded by trees. In December 2002, a project/selection committee was formed by the College of Visual and Performing Arts and decided to select students from the School of Art and Art History and the School of Architecture to form design teams. Then during the spring 2003 semester these teams were part of a three-week workshop created specifically for the purpose of designing the 9/11 Memorial. The student teams were instructed to create their own concept and design, Richard Beckman, associate professor of sculpture, said at the meeting Tuesday night.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity for students to design a memorial and for them to leave something they produced behind,” Beckman said.
At the end of the workshop the 20 teams, Font-Sanborn said, were narrowed done to four finalists. The four finalists then presented their concepts and designs to SG in April 2003. The SG selected Hall and Font-Sanborn’s design pending the final decision to fund the project, which was supposed to happen in fall 2003.
Elena Vee, a SG senator for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, said the memorial never received the funding, and she since has been approached from several art students about the 9/11 Memorial and when it was going to be built. Vee said she feels that it is still an issue today, which is why it being brought up at the Senate is meeting.
“This is still a big issue in my college, and I need to help them,” Vee said. “I feel it is important.”
During Tuesday’s Senate meeting, Font-Sanborn and Hall said the original allocated amount of $50,000 might have gone up because it has been more than a year since they requested a bid from a contractor, and therefore construction costs may have increased. In addition, once funded, the memorial may take anywhere from six months to a year to complete.
Andrew Aubery, student body vice president, said he is for the memorial and that even though the executive branch is not in charge of allocating money, he and student body president Bijal Chhadva are advocating for it.
“I think it is a good idea to have a memorial,” Aubery said. “It is a big process and right now everyone is confused about what past administrations have said, and we promised this two years ago and now just want to see if students still want it.”
Aubery added that SG has about $860,000 in unallocated A&S funds. The allocated $50,000 to $65,000 would be deducted from that $860,000.
“The A&S Unallocated funds are there for reserve and can be used for example if the university has a problem that is SG related, say if the Marshall Center roof needed repair,” Aubery said.
In response to how students would think about spending $65,000 of student body money towards a memorial, Vee said SG tried to fund it other ways and the amount is not that much for the memorial.
“The amount is small considering some memorials cost about $1 million, plus $65,000 out of the $860,000 unallocated funds is not a lot,” she said.
At the end of their presentation, Papandreou requested that Font-Sanborn and Hall write a quote for the project, including how much the memorial would cost, who would build it and when construction would begin. Hall said they would also give a detail contract that was written up about where the allocated money would go and provide three quotes from three different contractors.
Vee said there is a resolution already written up to approve the funding, and she hopes that it will be brought to the floor next Tuesday; however, she thinks the resolution may be delayed because of Papandreou’s request.
Students can vote for or against the 9/11 Memorial online at www.sg.usf.edu or sign a petition which should be handed out soon by SG senators; however, a copy can be found in the SG office on the second floor of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center.