May 012012
Authors: Andrew Carrera

Students who trekked across the Lory Student Center Plaza on Monday were almost literally caught in the middle of the on-campus stadium debate, as the proposal’s supporters, opponents and information gatherers battled for attention throughout the afternoon.

The Associated Students of CSU organized the “comprehensive Plaza forum,” according to Chase Eckerdt, the organization’s director of Governmental Affairs.

“So far, we’ve done voice surveys and stuff like that, which are a little impersonal in a way. They’re a great resource, don’t get me wrong, but I think we can provide a lot more actual information when we’re in person because we’ve got books and pictures and everything out here,” he said, describing ASCSU’s role as a conversation facilitator.

Eckerdt and fellow student government representatives pointed passer-bys to blown-up photos of other universities’ on-campus stadiums and enlarged maps detailing where CSU’s proposed facility is likely to be built in order to address their questions, comments and concerns regarding the proposal.

“(It’s important) that we allow people to have the opportunity to express their opinion to us, because quite honestly, we’re a good channel of dialogue to the administration and the advisory committee,” Eckerdt said, referring to the group whose charged with researching the proposal’s feasibility and reporting their findings to university President Tony Frank.

Student government also brought Be Bold – the on-campus stadium supporters – and Save Our Stadium Hughes – its naysayers – to the Plaza to voice their opinions at the same time.

“It’s nice to have been invited,” said Dan Weatherman, an SOS Hughes member. “I’m glad they did that, because we need to have both sides,”

Electrical engineering Ph.D. student Kyle Tarplee agreed.

“So I’ve heard that the stadium is going to cost roughly $200 million,” he said. “And I know that’s not going to come from tax money and things of that nature, but nonetheless I can still think of 200 million better ways to spend $200 million.”

But his opinions are not universal. On a student government comment board, one passer-by scrawled, “Win games. Get support. Get new stadium.”

Despite the mixed reaction to Weatherman’s message, the conversations he had while he was on the plaza were reportedly civil.

“We all want the best for both the university and the city,” he said. “But that’s not enough common ground because we have such radically different visions of what is best and of who gets to define it.”

For example, they take issue with on-campus stadium supporters dubbing their organization “Be Bold.” Instead, Weatherman said, they should be wise.

“If you’re just bold without being wise, you end up being rash,” he said.

Be Bold member Tyler Shannon said he saw things differently.

“Well, I think it is wise to invest money in CSU by private donors and getting donors on campus so that they can reinvest into academics. I think that’s one of the most wise things we can do,” he said.

In his view, opposition to the proposal is misguided.

“Most of the students that I talk to are like, ‘I’m not even going to be here in three years, so it doesn’t matter to me.’ And the difficult thing for a lot of students is that they don’t know what an on-campus stadium does,” Shannon said.

“They’ve never been to Ole Miss, they’ve never been to Stanford, they’ve never been to these places that have an on-campus stadium to really be able to relate to the benefits that it brings to them.”

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at

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