Thoughts on the orange bowl decision

August 27, 2007

To the University Community:

As has been said before, we have an extraordinary history and tradition at the Orange Bowl and that is why it is so disheartening that a decision to abandon our home could be made without further consultation of our student body. Although this may have been a carefully calculated decision months in the making, we the students have been left mostly in the dark during the decision-making process. The main source of information has been media and, if not for the press, our first word of this move would have come in an inadequate email message.

We have been told repeatedly that the university worked closely with the city of Miami in recent months, but we cannot help but wonder how closely the two have been “working.” If the two parties had been truly been working in conjunction in the past, perhaps city officials would have been more proactive as the Orange Bowl’s structure and amenities fell behind the times.

If the decision to move to Dolphin Stadium was made “reluctantly and painfully,” why was a news conference scheduled to announce the decision less than an hour after the executive committee began meeting to make that decision? When was the decision really made? Seemingly, long before last Tuesday morning. Some at The Hurricane considered it was all but a done deal last spring after President Donna E. Shalala visited the Student Government Senate and said she was still undecided.

Sure, Dolphin Stadium has first-class facilities. But tradition means more than just facilities.

As for the technological advantages, this isn’t about watching football on a huge screen. If that was our primary concern, we could just go to the Rat. Better yet, many of us could just stay home.

And what of the students who do have a voice? Though Student Government is limited in its power, we had hoped that that the members would have used their relationship with the administration to at least let them better know what students think. A “Save the Orange Bowl” petition online boasts more than 4,000 signatures. A UM-only Facebook group includes almost 600 students.

The decision that has been made directly affects students and, as such, a more collaborative process would have been appreciated. After all, the quality of a football game and a football season depends not on how comfortable the stadium seats are but on how comfortable the students and players are in that stadium.

Hurricane E. Board