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Surely you can’t be serious
This week, SADD is sponsoring sections of the National AIDS Memorial Quilt to campus for the first-ever display at Quinnipiac University. The quilt is a nationally known program that promotes AIDS awareness, and displays are held across the country for education and those with a personal connection to the disease to visit.
Over the past year, we have worked hard to make all the arrangements necessary for a successful display. Sections have to be reserved almost a year in advance, and groups hosting displays must fill out a lengthy application accompanied by a detailed diagram of display logistics, including dates, times, and room dimensions. In addition, a significant amount of money had to be budgeted and spent for this When the quilt sections arrive, they have to be monitored 24 hours a day until they are returned.
One year ago, we sent in our application and reserved Alumni Hall for two days – April 13 and 14, 2005. We used the university’s room reservation program online, as all organizations desiring a room are instructed to do.
Like so much else at this quaint little university, the room reservation system is apparently just a farce. This past winter break – that’s less than four months ago – we received an email from one Karla Russo in Public Affairs. It told us that even though we had gone through the same system as everyone else, we couldn’t display the AIDS quilt on the afternoon of April 14. Alumni Hall was needed by her department for a reception for the “Quinnipiac Business Leaders Hall of Fame.” To be clear: this is a reception. That means people stand around and make awkward small talk before heading off to the actual event, which is being held at the Omni Hotel in New Haven. In exchange for evicting us, she offered a “small reception” – generously paid for, it was grandly pointed out, by Public Affairs. She did not, at any point, offer an apology, or even some semblance of understanding. Perhaps that would have been a bit much. We are only undergraduates, after all. We don’t pop up on the money-hoarding radar screen.
The absurdness of this email demanded a second reading. Is that how the system works? If we decide we need a room at the last minute, can we just email whoever has it and say, “Hey, I know you have the room reserved for your event already, but mine is so much more important. Here’s some cookies and coffee – now get out. And no, I really don’t care what you were going to do with the room.”
Of course, we fully understand the need to grovel at the feet of Quinnipiac alumni who have made even a modest amount of money. Manufacturing a rosy school image isn’t free, you know.
Ms. Russo obviously did approximately no research at all to see what event she was summarily canceling. Her facade of negotiation ended with the same result as when it began: Public Affairs gets whatever they want. The students and their trifling little organizations are a mere annoyance.
Hopefully, this will serve to educate Ms. Russo just a bit on the quilt, and the topic of AIDS awareness in general, though it is doubtful she can bothered to read the real newspaper of the university she works for. We hope that in her sparkling little world of bunnies, flowers, and QU Daily, she never has occasion to interact with someone who has lost someone to the disease.
To this end, we demand that Karla Russo call the National AIDS Memorial Quilt Foundation today and explain exactly why Quinnipiac University cannot host the display as originally requested, as we had to do. Perhaps the excuse of “well, pretty much all we care about here at Quinnipiac is money” will sound better coming from her. We couldn’t quite pull it off.
Accordingly, when we get the 300 or so phone calls from Public Affairs asking us to “please pretty please” give money to Quinnipiac, we will explain each and every time why we will be giving no money to a school that holds image and cash flow to a higher priority than its students. Our parents will be doing the same, as will just about everybody that we know. We encourage anyone who has the capacity to think of someone besides themselves to join us.
Lastly, the offering of a “small reception” is arrogant, grossly inappropriate, and wholly insulting. A display of the AIDS quilt is a solemn occasion, and we do not want Ms. Russo and her silly QU Daily cheerleading squad throwing a party anywhere near the place. If we wanted to crank out our own everything-is-fantastic-hooray propaganda, we could certainly do so without help. Instead, we propose that Public Affairs keep the pitiful $30 they would’ve spent on us and buy a really fancy shovel to start digging a foundation for a new dorm.
For more information, go to www.aidsquilt.org, and please visit the display today or tomorrow in Alumni Hall. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on April 13, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 14.