Western Carolina University’s administration has long favored importing the ideas of others over cultivating and exporting the ideas of its own. This is despite Chancellor Bardo’s eerily ever-similar, bi-annual graduation speech highlighting that year’s one Western graduate who didn’t buy into him and his administration’s implied message of regional and institutional inferiority.
The expressed desire to import the ideas of others in the context of failure to cultivate and export our own ideas is at least demoralizing, if not insulting. From the jazz festival and the monstrous monolith of a performing arts center, both created for the purpose of bringing outside talent to this area, down to the fact that you can’t see a local band on campus, the message is clear. Local bands should apply to WCU with press packets boasting “Atlanta’s own…” Regional poets should describe their work as “gritty” and “urban.” Apologize for or even disown your region, your institution, then perhaps it will think you worthy of demonstrating to Bardo’s inferior WCU student what they lack.
Bardo’s vision even sought to, and to some extent did, turn this historically educational institution into a vocational one-from a university into a technical school. Several years ago many liberal arts programs fundamental to the university concept, entrenched at all but the worst public, higher education institutions in the state, and thriving at our sister school nationally, were at risk in favor of career-based programs. Perhaps our ideas would be good enough if Bardo were successful in dumbing down the University.
I bring all this up because I fear nothing institutional within this university works to support its students beyond the ordinary, while all of it works to support the ordinary beyond this university. Even our college radio station, a usually progressive institution within a university, has turned into our fathers’ college radio station. Either we shouldn’t call this a college radio station or we should challenge its format. These are supposed to be the most cutting edge years of our young lives and while writing this, no joke, I’m listening to Billy Ocean’s “Get Out of My Dreams and Into My Car” on power 90 dot 5.
Anyone out there remember when a modest rap act touting the exploits of themselves and the hippness of Western Carolina University made it onto campus radio’s regular rotation? Whatever you thought of the song itself, I bet you couldn’t help feeling a little bit proud of our university. Finally, a Western Carolina University institution was investing in one of our ideas. As average as the rap act may have been, the movement, or this institution’s equivalent to one, was exceptional.
Isn’t it about time for not just a movement but a revolution? While you’re busy waiting, call in and request one of our songs.
Walter Hill of Zyder Zee
You can request a song off Zyder Zee’s full-length, all-original, debut CD “let it glow” at 90 dot 5 by calling 227-7173. If that isn’t enough civil disobedience, you can also call our chancellor office at 227-7100.