A time to refocus

by THE DARTMOUTH EDITORIAL BOARD | 1/13/95 6:00am

Students must realize that blind cries of "Save Webster Hall" will fall on deaf ears, and instead should refocus their energy to convince the administration that students want a medium-sized programming venue.

Like it or not, the administration is not likely to budge on its plan to convert Webster into a new home for Special Collections. The College has been planning the conversion for more than two years and has already raised $3.3 million.

Berry Library is going to be constructed regardless of whether the student body approves. The College has $30 million earmarked for the project, which is the heart of north campus expansion. The College cannot begin construction of Berry Library until Special Collections has been moved out of Baker Library.

So if people truly have a problem with Webster becoming Special Collections, the time to express that feeling was two years ago. Students should now try to achieve a manageable goal: getting the College to raise the necessary funds to build a new space for programming.

The real issue is whether Webster's conversion leaves the campus without a place for medium-sized student events, such as music concerts and popular speakers.

Students and administrators need to focus their time and energy on debate. The question of whether the College should or can afford to build a new auditorium to replace Webster is not an issue that can be decided in five minutes or through an informational campaign such as the one being run by the Assembly.

The campus should shift its efforts from trying to save Webster Hall to debating whether a new student auditorium is feasible or even desired.