Senate debate over tunnel mural heats up at meeting

This week Student Senate met to review a tunnel mural bill that would enable the senate to finalize plans to implement a mural to be painted inside of the underground tunnel that runs underneath Newman Road connection residence halls to campus. The discussion quickly turned to a heated, passionate debate between senators.

Ryan Prisock, capital improvements chairmen, proposed the bill to senate members Wednesday night via powerpoint. Prisock and the committee recommended to the senate unanimously to approve the bill.

”It’s one of those places on campus that is very dry,” Prisock said. “This project will not only be funded by the student senate but it will be entirely planned and implemented by students which I think gives this project great merit. Essentially, this project is improvement of the campus by the campus.”

Prisock explained that the process would entail interviews with students asking what they would like to see in the tunnel, then artist Jordan Murdock, art student, would create a design for the mural that would then be approved by the senate.

After that, senate will focus on getting donations and purchasing items needed to construct the mural.

If the sketch is approved, the project will go into execution where Murdock will stencil out the mural in the tunnel and then senate would host a student paint day where students could take part in the painting of the mural and leave their mark in the tunnel.

The tunnel would cost the senate $1,000 in materials, $2,000 in labor and another $1,000 is budgeted for contingency costs.

“We should approve this bill because for one it creates beauty on campus, it supports art and the art department, it fulfills our mission and also it’s all about Southern,” Prisock said. “From the start to the finish this project is about Missouri Southern State University.”

Senator Messer brought to the table to discuss the matter of vandalism. His concerns were that students would not appreciate the artwork and cause harm to it.

Prisocks response was that he hopes students would appreciate the gesture from student senate and turn that gratitude into a passion when it came time to paint the mural.

Senator Tomlinson suggested to the senate body that the mural would be a great way to reach out to more students and grab the attention of those who weren’t grabbed by the lion icon statue project.

“This is a fantastic idea although I do have problems with it,” Senator Martin said. “I would like to point out that the tunnel is an accident waiting to happen. There are several fractures within it that leak constantly. It is continuously trashed and dirty. If senate is going to fund this we really need to look at what we’re getting. Paint isn’t going to cover up the mess.”

Martin explored the idea that the tunnel should be structurally reconstructed before the senate is to fund money to make it look better.

“We have asked repeatedly for the tunnel to be properly cleaned,” Martin said. “I’m simply stating that the tunnel is a festering stink hole of mold and disgrace. I hate to be graphic, but if we are going to allocate money to a big project which this is, we should be doing it on a structure and surface that is going to keep.”

Senator Brooke Gipson explored the reason for turning such a looked down upon place on campus into something beautiful.

“It’s disgusting. It’s just bad in there, they call it the rapist tunnel and we should really fix that,” senator Gipson said. “I think the mural would really brighten it up. I know $4,000 sounds like a lot but it’s something that students would see as an improvement,”

The senate decided to table the discussion for the time being after reaching the time limit of discussion. The subject will be brought up again at the next meeting if there is a motion made to do so.