|Friday, November 20, 1998||
Volume 64, Issue 64
Moeller on Smoking
Lisa M. Chmiola
Before the parade passes by
In a campuswide referendum on whether to build a $48-million student recreation center, students approved the idea -- but for supporters of the Recreation 2000 proposal, the victory was pretty short of overwhelming.
The proposal was approved by a margin of 53 to 47 percent -- or 289 votes. Though the total voter turnout (nearly 5,000) was impressive, could the fact that the package passed by such a slim comparative margin be a problem down the road?
Assuming that nearly 5,000 voters give a fairly accurate representation of campus opinion, a 289-vote margin would seem to suggest ambivalence.
And that ambivalence is the message UH will be taking before the Texas Legislature when it seeks governmental approval for the new fees students will pay to cover the cost and maintenance of the recreation center.
The margin must be disappointing to those who lobbied for the proposal's passage. With the support of administrators and student leaders, one would have expected the package to be approved by a landslide -- the equivalent of a parade full of fire trucks, marching bands and big floats laden with leggy coeds.
But taking a 5.8-percent approval before the Legislature when millions of dollars in student fees are at stake might be as effective as a parade featuring a flutophone band and a rotund, mustachioed woman in a Pinto.
In other words, UH had better have a knockout proposal to take to Austin to back up the underwhelming student approval. If not, we may find ourselves driving the same old Pinto we've had for years.