Despite some controversy and disapproval, plans to build a Matador statue at CSUN are moving forward.
The Cal State Northridge Alumni Association and Associated Students (A.S.) have collaborated together to raise the estimated $150,000 it will take to erect a statue on campus.
“It’s supposed to be a point of pride,” said Conor Lansdale, A.S. president. “We’re trying to give them a tangible, physical representation of a Matador.”
He added that many students had been expressing a desire for such a landmark on campus, something that would represent the campus and the community.
However, the idea has faced opposition. Students concerned with the budget crisis and how it affects the school’s spending oppose the idea of the statue.
Senior Cristal Sanchez, accounting and finance major, said she does not agree with how the school is spending its money.
“If there wasn’t a budget crisis I wouldn’t be opposed to it,” said Sanchez, 24. “I actually think it’s kind of cool.”
Dr. William Watkins, associate vice president of student affairs, said most of the opposition is coming from some who are opposed to the mascot itself, the Matador, not the statue representation of it.
Lansdale said he hopes the statue becomes a symbol of school spirit that everyone can come to see.
He added that a statue can be a representation of that sense of pride “24/7.”
It can be shown to incoming freshmen at orientation and be visible to parents when they visit on weekends, Lansdale said.
Senior Francisco Garcia, finance major, said he thinks it brings more to the school culture.
“It will give the students more pride,” said Garcia, 28.
Estimated in the cost of the statue are plans for design, assembly, construction, mounting and installation, and landscaping around the area, Watkins said.
A.S. allocated the first $10,000 for the project. The money came from students’ funds about a year ago and was used to search for a designer for the project, among a few other things, Lansdale said.
“The statue will be funded entirely by alumni donations,” Lansdale said.
Watkins said the project is still in the design stage, but the design should be finalized soon. However, the actual construction date would be pending until all the money has been raised.
“I’d love for the statue to be in place at the start of next spring,” Watkins said.
Lansdale said the statue’s location is currently under debate, to be placed either adjacent to the Matador Square or on the Sequoia Lawn.
The bronze statue will be approximately six to seven feet tall, Watkins said.
A marquee of the statue is intended to be on display on campus in the next few months for students to view, Lansdale said.
The original idea to adorn the campus with a statue began in the 1990s, when the art department hosted a contest to come up with the design. After the Northridge earthquake, the plans were rapidly pushed aside, Watkins said.
In 2008, during former A.S. President Miguel Segura’s term, the plan to build the statue was revived. When the original artist was contacted to aid in the design, plans fell through when certain state requirements could not be met, Watkins said.
He added that it was then that the nationwide contest was held. Artist Jon Hair submitted the design that is to be used.
Intended to be a gift to the campus for its 50th anniversary, the Matador statue project was fostered with hopes of building more school spirit among students.
Watkins said he hopes the statue will become an iconic symbol of the school and its mascot.