This past Thursday evening the Katzen Arts Center was officially opened during a black-tie, invitation-only party.
While it was nice to see the complex lauded by the board, donors and others, it is disappointing that students were not welcome to attend the opening event. Former AU President Ben Ladner and his wife, Nancy, were invited by the Katzens to attend, but neither was present at the opening of the building to which they donated $20 million. The Katzen’s were staunch supporters of Ladner during the recent investigation into his alleged misuse of university funds.
Now that the facility is in use for the first time, information has come out that students have been required to sign tedious contracts promising to do everything from picking up their leftover art waste and not washing their hands in the bathroom sinks. We all want the building to remain tidy, but it is an art building, and no one should be surprised if clay or paint is seen in the bathroom.
There have also been grumblings from clubs being told to pay for using the building after-hours. The policies for using Katzen should be cleared up so students can fully utilize this new addition to campus.
News has also begun to leak out about the possible severence package for former President Ladner. Originally, the amount tossed about was $1.6 million, but now the figure has gone as high as $4 million, including relocation expenses and base pay for the next year. Forget a golden parachute, folks; AU is about to bestow a platinum one to Mr. Ladner. The board should release information directly to the students, not just to The Washington Post. If they are going to extol the virtues of transparency, they must finally begin practicing what they preach.