Staff Editorial: Matador statue? Sure, why not

It’s well understood that CSUN is not going to win any awards for “school spirit.” There is a serious lack of university loyalty around here, which is easily diagnosed but not easily cured. So, you can’t blame the Alumni Association and Associated Students for wanting to create a Matador statue on campus to drum up some CSUN pride. The only problem is, it will cost around $150,000.

Say something as inflammatory as “new $150,000 statue” to a CSU student, and you can usually look forward to an earful about the lack of funds in the CSU system. A.S. was reminded of that fact Tuesday when two students argued against the statue at the A.S. meeting. The economic responsibility to place education first is something people have on their minds a lot lately, and rightfully so.

Yet, maybe A.S. is not who we should be gunning for.

Only $10,000 of the funding for the statue is coming from A.S. This amounts to less than 7 percent of the statue’s total cost. The rest of the $150,000 is being funded by alumni donations. In the big scheme of higher education, $10,000 is hardly a drop in the bucket. Enter CSUN alumni.

It seems odd that during a time when students are dropping out of school because of impacted classes, $140,000 from alumni donations is being used to erect a bronze replica of our mascot.

In case you haven’t a clue how alumni donations work, allow us to run it down for you: People who have graduated from CSUN can donate money to the school, and these alumni have the power to choose where their donations will be used. They may choose to create a scholarship, or to build a new Performing Arts Center.

Perhaps those who would provide the money for the upcoming Matador statue contributed because they cherish the degree they received from CSUN, and they feel the best way to show their appreciation is to have a giant bronze statue of our mascot brought onto the campus.

But clearly, there are better places their money can be directed.  More scholarships or donations for specific departments would be far more beneficial than a statue that would permanently symbolize the wasteful spending that has led to California’s draconian budget crisis.

Under no circumstances should we point fingers at the Alumni Association for their donations, especially since we can no longer depend on our own state to bail us out of our desperate financial crisis.  The generosity of those who decide to give should be acknowledged, and it’s their right to choose where their money will go.

Some may want to build this statue out of a need to see their names engraved on a plaque. If that is the case, while we can’t say thank you, we won’t stand against you. Others are donating this money out of unmitigated charity and a true love of the university. If that is the case, we appreciate your generosity, but for the sake of students on campus, we beg you: please consider our priorities.

Should the Alumni Association go ahead with plans to build the Matador statue?

View Results

  • Class of 1994 Grad

    As a proud Northridge B.A. graduate and someone who went to USC for a doctorate, I am honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the alumni support bringing the Northridge mascot to campus. It is the same honor I have when I donate to the department of my major.

    I was a student at Northridge before and after the quake. I have seen the transformation our university has taken and I can tell you from experience (I have worked at the UC and continue to work in the CSU), Northridge is becoming more of the academic powerhouse it has always been. Bringing Northridge’s mascot in the form of a bronze statue helps celebrate the rise of Northridge as a model CSU campus.

    I find it interesting how current students feel that a donation to the Matador Statue is a donation wasted. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

    When an alumnus gives money to a university to beautify the campus, is that money wasted?

    Since when did a Visual and Performing Arts Center help a student to graduate? Short answer is that it does and alumni are raising money for it as well.

    The lack of pride in Northridge some talk about? Us Northridge alumni put our money where our mouth is and give back to our beloved CSU campus. If any Northridge student wants to complain where I put my thousands of dollars to the university (you can call that pride as well), then I suggest you open your pocket book when you graduate from Northridge and give back to financially support whatever it is you want to support of the university that gave you the opportunity to earn a B.A. degree.

    Lack of campus pride?

    On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of alumni who choose to give back to Northridge in terms of time and money, I am here to tell you that the amount of money I have and will continue to give to Northridge can never match the pride I have for Northridge.

    • CSUN Alumni

      Class of 1994 Grad:

      Well said, my friend. I’m a BA and MPA grad from CSUN, and currently completing my doctorate at USC. I think we both know the power an icon such as a statue can have in uniting a campus, and bringing in alumni pride by way of donations, mentoring, employers, etc. You and I are blessed to have lived that as Trojans, and now want the same for our beloved Matadors !

      Go Matadors, and Fight On !!!

  • CSUN Alumni

    Perhaps you should research the relationship between alumni donations, iconography, mascot branding, and increased donations towards an institution for academic purposes. Look at the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at CSUN, or the Marshall School of Business at USC. Branding, through symbols, attract notoriety, and prestige, so students and graduates in the college or university have stock in the reputation created by that branding. The statue is a means towards that end. $150,000 is a minor drop in the bucket compared to the fiscal needs facing the campus, but the hundreds of thousands of dollars it can generate through renewed campus pride and alumni recruitment for donations to academic endeavors is a cost effective return on investment.

    I was approached to donate towards the Matador Statue, and I have made my pledge. At the same time, I felt it necessary to match that donation by donating funds to my academic department and to the President’s 21st Century Fund which is earmarked for the most pressing needs of the campus and the students.

    I was already an active alumni member, but the statue is something I have seen impact alumni donations on other campuses, e.g. USC, where symbols have a signficant role in promoting a world class institution, which in turn attracts alumni, donors, employers, researchers, etc.

    The priority is to promote a world class institution through mechanisms such as the V-PAC, the Statue, the new Rec Center. The priority is for the community, the city, the country, and the world, to view CSUN, its academics, and its students and graduates, as a world class institution, and not that “Cal State in the corner of the Valley with a bunch of orange trees.”

  • David (the small-L libertarian

    Maybe that’s what the alumni want: a symbol of the wasted taxpayer monies that enable CSUN to have a six-year graduation rate of 46 percent.

    • David (the small-L libertarian)

      And take a look at this timely article in the Los Angeles Times: California spent nearly half a billion on college freshmen who later dropped out, study finds http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-college-study-20101011,0,1357854.story

      • CSUN Alumni

        That has nothing to do with the Matador Statue. Students enter post secondary education unprepared due to deficiencies in the K-12 system. Many of these dropouts have not passed their remedial courses, and opt to try again at community colleges. Then they return to a university. It’s not true for all cases, but a large percentage of them.