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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Editorial: what Obama’s double snub of UA means for us

    Talk about adding insult to injury.

    First Barack Obama took time out from his presidential duties to snub the UA men’s basketball team.ÿ””Arizona’s a great state; I love playing golf there, but they just squeaked in based on reputation,”” he told ESPN March 18. Then Arizona State University announced Friday that Obama would be delivering their commencement address in May. The university even rescheduled the graduation ceremony just so the president could be there.

    Our first question is simple: Why, Barack? Our county voted for you, the Daily Wildcat endorsed you (ASU’s State Press didn’t even endorse a candidate), and this is the thanks we get? You slight our basketball team and go speak to ASU graduates? This isn’t even the first time he’s been to ASU; he held a campaign rally there in 2007. He’s yet to show his face in Tucson.

    In all fairness, we suppose, Obama’s choice isn’t too hard to understand. ASU is the country’s largest public research university after all, and the fact that the UA is a better public research university probably doesn’t count for as much as snapping up those extra potential votes from students who’ll be casting their ballots in 2012. He may be our president -ÿand, so far, not a half-bad one -ÿbut he’s still a politician, and he’s got at least one major election to go.

    That doesn’t entirely explain how the state’s second-best university landed Obama. But President Michael Crow is a tireless advocate for his university, and a sharp one: His comment that lawmakers who cut higher education funding were going to transform Arizona into “”a far-off Third World country”” was probably the single most memorable remark of this year’s ongoing “”incredible shrinking budget”” fracas.

    Now he’s scored the biggest coup of all in the ongoing budget battle. After all, what better way to send lawmakers the message that “”ASU matters”” than getting President Obama to come speak at your graduation ceremony?

    The lesson for us here is as painful as it is plain: The UA really needs to start selling itself better.

    We’ve had our moments, sure -ÿASU flew into a frenzy when we unveiled our “”world-class university”” billboards in their backyard last year -ÿbut for the most part we’ve been content to ride on our reputation. We’ve swallowed our own hype, and it seems that we’ve concluded that we don’t have to prove our “”excellence”” to anyone.

    In a word, we’ve become complacent. Consider this pair of presidential snubs a warning shot.

    There was a time when the UA could take its superiority over its state sibling for granted. We made more headlines, broke more research ground, and we had the greatest college basketball coach in the world. But Lute Olson’s gone and the Mars Lander project is over. If we don’t maintain our presence in the headlines, we’re liable to slip off the public’s radar -ÿwhich won’t do us any good as state lawmakers write next year’s budget.

    The UA hasn’t announced its spring-commencement speaker yet, but it’s safe to say that ASU’s won this particular battle: No speaker this side of Elvis is going to seem like anything more than a blip next to the 44th president.

    Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Laura Donovan, Taylor Kessinger, Heather Price-Wright, and Nickolas Seibel.

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