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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Student Voice: What kind of future will the arts center paint for Wofford?

I’m assuming that the rest of you were surprised just as much as I was at the announcement of the Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts.Such an arts center will certainly bring new aspects of campus life to Wofford. It will bring improvements to our theater program, enhanced venues for art galleries, or perhaps new film classes that might broaden the art history department. Heck, we might even be able to have our own band at football games now. Those that are excited about the arrival of the arts center are elated, for they feel that it will help Wofford return to its roots as a liberal arts institution, and become less of a grad-school prep-school.

But I am confident that there are some that would caution such a shift, or at least a shift too far in that direction. Personally, I would’ve been turned off during my college search by a school that put too much emphasis on the arts. Perhaps I am not bourgeois enough, but I have never really been one to appreciate that weird bike-shaped sculpture outside Daniel Building. It might just be my limited perspective as a single student, but it seems that most Wofford students are like myself. The fact is, facilities exist around campus that cater to the type of students that the new arts center seems to be designed for, and they are hardly ever utilized. I hardly ever see anyone observing the art hung in Campus Life and the library, and the fine art general education requirement seems to be regarded as a joke among the majority of students. I was surprised to find there is a music-recording studio in the basement of Olin.

Perhaps it is the administration’s goal to attract students that care more about such things by the construction of this facility and the expansion of related programs. But it is worth noting that Converse is extremely arts-centered, and they have been experiencing financial hardships resulting from declining

attendance. Of course it is easy to list a myriad of reasons not to go to Converse, but I fear that if Wofford goes too far down this road that we might encounter similar obstacles. Additionally, the college is less likely to benefit financially from graduates from an arts program for the simple fact that a career in the arts is less profitable and much riskier than one in medicine, law, finance, etc. Perhaps the next Daniel Radcliffe will attend Wofford and go onto achieve great fame and donate to the college, but the chances are slim.I am also concerned as to the way the administration went about making this announcement. Prior to the announcement, Campus Union unanimously passed a resolution that expressed some concerns regarding the direction that the strategic vision sought to take Wofford, and Dr. Samhat attended the next Campus Union meeting to answer some questions and promised to consider the feedback received. Then, on Oct. 21, members of Campus Union received an email advising them to mark their calendars for the day of the announcement. This suggests that very little effort to consider Campus Union’s input was actually put forth. I was also irked that the new Greek Row was announced via email days after the Arts Center in a way that struck me as though the administration viewed it as an afterthought.

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At the end of the day, I do not believe that the Arts Center will be the end of Wofford as we know it, but will likely bring about a change in the average Wofford student of the future. I was upset to see people giving a standing ovation after the mere announcement had been made, and now that I know a little more about it, I’ve remained seated.

— Luke Basha

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