The halls of Blum Union thrummed in debate during the weekly meeting of the Student Government Association Monday as the senators discussed a hotly debated bill regarding the seal emblazoned underneath the clock tower.
Senate Bill Fiscal Year 2017-75, introduced by Capitol Projects Committee Chairman Eli Dodge, proposed to remove the current seal, which reads “Missouri Western State College” and was placed in 1997, and replace it with one that reads “Missouri Western State University.” Removal and installation of the new seal is slated to cost $8,000. A plaque would also be installed citing a campus legend.
“There’s a legend that goes along with the seal. It states that any underclassman who walks on the seal won’t graduate,” Dodge said.
Opponents of the bill, such as Senator Reece Christensen, were concerned that the seal itself isn’t as important as what the money could otherwise be spent on.
“All the students I have talked to feel the money could go to something more useful,”said Christensen said. “We could spend the money on outdoor seating which would improve campus life for everyone.”
Dodge contended the money would be well spent continuing the beautification efforts on the Western campus.
“We’re emulating what other universities do, and they take pride in their monuments,” Dodge said. “We have a seal, and it doesn’t really represent our university anymore. I think the tradition is attached to the university and not to the seal. If you tell the students not to step on the seal under the clock tower it will always matter.”
Christensen countered this idea.
“If the tradition is based solely on telling people not to step on the seal, why not put up just the plaque and not replace the seal?” Christensen said. “If it’s not what’s on the ground that matters, then why spend $8,000 on it?”
There were also concerns over what would happen to the original seal when the new one replaced it. Christensen suggested finding out how much it would cost to save the original, but Vice President Connor Samenus quickly dismissed the idea.
“Options had been explored, but had quickly proven cost-prohibitive,” Samenus said.
After more than an hour of debate, the senate split the vote 13 for, four against and one abstaining to pass the bill.