Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER: Camp closing necessary

While the impending closure of the Sargent Center for Outdoor Education is a shame, it falls short of tragedy. I have been to the SCOE five times since arriving at Boston University as a freshman in 1998. These experiences were memorable, but hardly indispensable. SCOE is just a place, and, as Rachel Swartz mentioned in your article, (‘Sargent Camp to Close Aug.’ Jan. 29), ‘it is the activities, not the place, that matter.’

Moreover, while the SCOE is dear to some of the small groups that visit for a weekend, no one can justifiably characterize it as an integral part of the college experience for the majority of Boston University students. In a letter to the editor, (‘The Case for Sargent Camp, Jan. 29’) Greg Freed writes, ‘few realize the importance of the SCOE’s work and the scope of its impact.” I would go a step further and say that few realize the SCOE even exists, perhaps fewer still would miss it.’

For those who haven’t been paying attention, we are in a recession. Colleges and universities across the country are making difficult choices as they deal with the straitened economic times. I was heartbroken to read that Brandeis University is closing its Rose Art Museum and selling the museum’s entire collection of modern and contemporary art. Arizona State University is laying off over 200 adjunct faculty members. Other schools are raising tuition, reducing financial aid budgets and freezing salaries. Sacrifice is difficult, but unfortunately necessary.

I trust the BU administration not to have made this decision lightly. I’m sure that no one really wants to get rid of the SCOE, but the university has to close its budget gap somehow. That said, I fear that the advocacy of the ‘Sargent Coalition,’ ‘-‘- however well-intentioned ‘-‘- may be pernicious in the long run. If the university does reconsider closing the SCOE, what will be cut in its stead? Faculty positions? Financial aid? Services here on the Charles River campus that thousands of students use every day?’ Given those alternatives, I think we can do without the 700 acres in New Hampshire.

Brian M. Sirman

CAS ’02; MET ’08; GRS ’12

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  1. i agree. why should BU be throwing money away in a place most students will never even go to while making cuts here in boston? i’m sure SCOE is a nice place, but it’s wrong to keep it open during this recession.

  2. I agree for the most part with this letter. I would hate to see truly valuable programs, faculty, or financial aid decreased due to “700 acres in New Hampshire.” However, I think the writer misses that point. Sargent Center may not have affected you but it has affected many, many people over the last 97 years. I disagree that the Sargent Coalition may be ” pernicious in the long run.” Let their voices be heard. Let them fight for change. In the long run, it will be BU’s choice. I hope they don’t decide to cut or close something that is near and dear to you.