Montclair State University Drops $210K on Bronze Red Hawk Statue


Montclair State University has tapped Hanlon Sculpture Studio to create a 12-foot bronze statue of their Red Hawk mascot and will have to fork over a check for $210,000 upon its completion.

According to NJ.com, university administrators have said that the statue is intended to be “a symbol of courage and determination, is designed to reinforce a sense of community and to raise school spirit on the largely commuter campus.”

Students at the New Jersey school have other opinions about the hefty purchase, however. Student Jo Landau had this to say, “You know what could really help school spirit? If tuition weren’t so high, if there were parking spots for everyone, if everyone actually knew who their academic adviser was, and if the administration actually listened to students like they say they will.”

Montclair State University is the second largest college in New Jersey and is also publicly funded, which is a point made by Leah Stone, member of the Student Goverment during time the project was initially discussed.

She said of Montclair’s complaints about decrease in funding and subsequent raising for tuition, “If cutbacks have to be made, how do we have $200,000 to spend on a friggin’ chicken statue? At the very least it’s disappointing. I don’t understand the administrations priorities.”

According to Suzanne Bronski, spokeswoman for Montclair State University, around half of the statue will be funded by fees that are paid out by each students annually with the rest coming from university funds. Only a small portion of the cost is said to be covered by donations earned from private contributors.

Bronski says that the Red Hawk mascot has “come to stand for the determination of our students to make something important of their lives and for the courage it takes to challenge oneself to truly fulfill one’s potential. When freshman come to campus, they become Red Hawks, and we hope that helps them find their new identities as independent young adults.”

President of Montclair State University, Susan A. Cole, also defended the purchase and deflected a bit of the ownership of the purchase by pointing out that a suggestion to erect a statue of the Red Hawk mascot came from the student government. She neglected to note that the suggestion was made eight years ago and that most of those students are likely no longer in attendance. Stone also suggested that not all members of the SGA were on board nor did they feel this purchase was for anything other than its visual appeal.

Cole’s statement said, “For centuries, physical symbols, such as public monuments, statues, plaques, and architectural and artistic creations have played an important role in the life and traditions of communities around the world, including university communities. College is a transformative experience for young adults, and they take their identities as students and alumni of a particular institution with them through life.”

The $210K purchase marks the second instance of mega spending by a New Jersey college in recent months. Kean University also dropped a pretty penny on a conference room table in November, which cost $219,000 and outraged students.

It’s no secret that the student loan debt is ever rising and tuition costs are also beginning to creep up, which makes big spending on seemingly unnecessary items, like bronze statues and conference tables, all the more head scratching.

Students would likely take more from other on campus improvements, lower tuition fees or for their mandatory annual payment of $97.80 to go to anything other than a statue.

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