Last Friday, The Daily Beacon printed a letter from a concerned
reader who expressed his disdain over the Senior Gift Challenge Steering
Committee's recent unveiling of the 1995 gift - a stained glass panel to be
installed in the glass bricks of the John C. Hodges Library ground floor.
The writer considered the gift decision to be frivolous and a shame to the
senior class.

While it is evident that people hold this opinion about this gift and past
ones, something must be said in defense of the committee and its
decision.

This past semester, the steering committee sponsored information booths at
the University Center, in front of Glocker and right outside Circle Park on
three different occasions to solicit potential gift ideas from the
university community. Also, they held a publicized cookout at Tyson Alumni
House where they also asked for ideas and enlisted members of the student
body to serve on sub-committees to support the committee and organizational
process.

At each event, the consensus of the respondents seemed to be centered
around campus beautification. So, taking these comments into consideration,
the steering committee developed different ideas about making the campus
look a little nicer and presented them to Betsey Creekmore, associate vice
chancellor for space and facilities planning. Proposals were shot down for
different reasons, but primarily because several of the ideas were already
set to be accomplished by the university in its "master plan" or would
somehow interfere with the existing plan.

But the higherÐuppers agreed on the glass panel. The rationale behind the
stained glass goes like this: it will provide something esthetically
pleasing to the library that will help to overall spruce up the campus.
Also, the images of the stained glass will be an abstract artistic
rendering of UT's history and be a symbol for which the university
collectively stands. In other words, it's what the people asked for. Maybe
not specifically, but close enough.

The steering committee is not to be blamed, tarred or feathered for its
decision. Instead, they should be supported because if not enough money is
raised, the stained glass will not be embedded inside the glass blocks.
Instead, the panel will hang inside the library. So, how would you like
that to be your senior gift?

The Daily Beacon will take no editorial stance as far as what our
staff thinks of the gift. That's not relevant. But what is important is to
remember that each senior had his/her chance to apply for the committee or
to give resounding comments at the committee's highly visible attempts at
finding out what the senior class would like to give. Now that the decision
has been made, whether you support the idea or not, support the committee
for its work. UT has so few long-standing traditions, let's not knock the
ones we do have.

Future seniors, let this be a warning to you; if you are going to let
others lead you and do the work for you, don't be apathetic when they ask
for your help, and by all means, grin and bear it later if you don't put in
your two cents worth.

The Senior Gift Steering Committee will set up an information booth on
Tuesday at the University Center to tell people about the gift, the
fund-raising project and the logistics of the installation. Go by and talk
to them before you pass judgment.