The Chronicle’s View

The new world affairs committee established by the Associated Students of the University of Utah Presenter?s Office is for a niche which is already filled. Many entities on campus already attract important speakers on current events.

While the goal of increasing student awareness of world affairs is a valid one, ASUU?s effort is misdirected?funds could be better spent elsewhere.

The Hinckley Institute of Politics hosts politicians and explores issues through panels and speeches held on a weekly basis. It?s hard to imagine how the Presenter?s Office might improve on the institute of politics? work in the arena of local politics.

In the past, the institute has hosted Shimon Peres, the Israeli foreign minister and, later, the Chinese ambassador to the United States.

The Middle East Center recently brought Thomas Friedman, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist, to speak on globalization. There is no dearth of local or international speakers on this campus.

The student body itself should provide politicians?like Ralph Nader?with the motivation to visit.

Neither the center nor the institute use student fees to fund their presentations. Neither charge admission.

High-profile speakers like Bill Clinton and Henry Kissinger, the two examples given by the Presenter’s Office, cost a pretty penny.

One has to ask if it is realistic for an organization with a budget of about $400,000 to attempt to reel in speakers who charge up to half that amount.

More importantly, should they?

Even if corporate sponsors are found to support the cost, should ASUU be spending a significant portion of student fees that could go to child care or the tutoring center?filling the unglamorous, but much more crucial niches?

The Presenter?s Office should focus its efforts on staying in touch with the students who fund it.

Often, student fees seem to wind up behind shows like The Capitol Steps or Chicago City Limits, which appeal to a much older crowd. In many cases, students must still purchase tickets, essentially paying twice for admission.

ASUU should not use student fees to subsidize entertainment for the community at large?only those the office was created to serve.