SDC approves Arts Pass

A worried murmur spread around the crowded Morewood A Tower lounge on Wednesday. Approximately forty people crowded into the chairs, gathered on the floor, or stood against the wall, prepared to discuss the future of the Carnegie Mellon Arts Pass. The Arts Pass grants all Carnegie Mellon students free admission to six select museums in the Pittsburgh area: the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Science Center, Phipps Conservatory, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Mattress Factory.

The SDC meeting would have been routine; however, an urgent e-mail had circulated campus earlier that morning, warning that the Arts Pass might be canceled and galvanizing students for its support. For the past four years, the money to pay for the Arts Pass has come from a number of different sources. The Student Dormitory Council has contributed $6000 in the past. Residents from campus housing and students who lived off campus debated whether it was right for a portion of the SDC budget to cover admissions for non-residents. ?The question is,? asked New House resident Matt Angle, a first-year in the Mellon College of Science, ?who should shoulder the burden??

During the discussion it was debated whether housing residents are being charged twice because they pay a dorm fee and an activities fee, both of which help cover the cost of museum admissions.

Off-campus students, on the other hand, stressed the importance of the Arts Pass, especially to any art or architecture major. According to first-year art major Audrey Szeto, ?every professor always stresses that we should definitely go [to the museums].? Often, students are required to visit the museum as part of a class, or individually, several times a year.

Others claimed that many students never use the Arts Pass. ?Most of my friends never go, simply because we have so much homework to do,? explained Didi Garrity, a sophomore physics and professional writing major.

Nevertheless, some Resident Assistants organize specific trips for their floors. Many students pointed out that not only is the Arts Pass a great way to explore the city of Pittsburgh, it is also a factor in the college application process. Some students present at the meeting had chosen CMU specifically because it offered the Arts Pass program.

If the Student Dormitory Council had refused to cover the cost of the Arts Pass, the $6000 needed to pay for the program would have been temporarily covered by ?unallocated? funds, or would have been picked up by the Student Government. However, Student Body President Erik Michaels-Ober reminded those present that this would have been a very heavy strain on the resources available.

After half an hour of vociferous support for the Arts Pass, the eligible petition members unanimously passed the motion on the table, allotting up to $6000, or up to 5 percent of the total budget, to go toward the program. Junior Kyle Dominges, a history major, voted in favor of the Arts Pass because he has ?always supported it.?