LETTER TO THE EDITOR – Don’t burn bridges with the community over natatorium

ULM Hawkeye

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I refer to Dr. Bruno’s comments in a recent Hawkeye article where he made manipulative and disparaging remarks about the community campaign to salvage the natatorium.

Most notably, that “When you start telling students what to do, they’re going to get angry,” in addition to his statement that the community effort was “undermining” students.

Anyone who was around and paying attention during the summer knows the groups Bruno was referring to in that article were the same ones he collaborated with over the break to discuss potential solutions for saving the facility. I guess he just forgot to mention that.

Understandably they feel used and betrayed by his choice of words, which misrepresent the community’s intentions entirely, seemingly for the purpose of diminishing student support for the reclamation by framing it as “telling students what to do.”

As a student, I’m pretty sure I spend most of my time being told what to do, read, look at, write and think about. Where did Bruno go to school?

But more importantly, in a time of fiscal crisis it seems foolish to build walls between the university and potential community partners.

When the community views the university as a resource they can use, then they will be much more likely care about (and thus invest in) its future. Sadly, during Bruno’s second year, he appears to be burning those bridges.

I am not saying that there are no good arguments for building a new pool more suited to student interests. As students, we pay thousands of dollars a semester to attend ULM, and if a facility is not shaped to fit our specific needs, that is a legitimate complaint.

However, we should also care about people other than ourselves. Opportunities for students to socialize are already vast, but the natatorium is the only facility our community has for its needs.

Some of the groups that use our pool have proud and longstanding traditions that would be uprooted altogether if a kind of leisure pool were built.

Personally, I feel a “two-state solution” would be best for both students and the community: something with competition capacity as well as social options.

Reportedly, the future of the natatorium will eventually be put to a student vote. I invite you to think about how community groups, as well as our relationship with them, could be adversely effected.

Do you care about where you live?

Joseph Roberts

Senior, General Studies