Dear President Holt,
I am writing to you as a member of the Price community. I have some limited involvement with the college; involvement which I find to be very enjoyable and fulfilling. I know many students and faculty of the college and consider the college an integral and exciting part of the community. I have contributed to the college and I take some pride in the college and its successes.
I read with interest and concern the “ASCEU’s statement of expectations” in The Eagle (Vol. XXVII No. 9, Feb. 2, 2006). There are many of the issues with which I have little knowledge. However, several of the statements were inflammatory and highly insulting to me and others personally. I would like to point these out to you and explain my position.
I am a musician. I am reasonably accomplished in music. I play as a community member in the Eastern Utah Wind Symphony (referred to as “band” in your document). This is an outstanding group put together by Dr. Greg Benson. This organization was referred to on 2 separate occasions in your document with the term “mediocrity”. In addition, Dr. Benson, according to the document, is “required to recruit talented students for … band … etc.” Though his name is not specifically written, there is no other name that could be inserted into that particular reference.
I would like to make three comments. First, the wind symphony has improved tremendously in the 8 years that I have been here and is certainly not mediocre! Have you, President Holt, been to a program of this ensemble? If so, I would appreciate you appearing before us and discussing our mediocrity. My brother, a very accomplished musician, heard the ensemble 2 years ago and commented on the impressively high quality of the performance. The performances have maintained their high quality. Dr. Benson has brought together members of the college and community to create a fine ensemble. Before he came, the “band” was indeed pitiful. Could you please comment on why you would put in a public writing such divisive and derogatory comments?
My second comment refers to recruiting. Dr. Benson, on a shoestring budget, has been impressive in his ability to recruit students and build music in our community. During the past 3 years he has put together a fine summer band camp for local students. He has also run a camp for string and piano students. His time has been 100% volunteer and the camps are completely self-funded (no college funding). These camps have benefited hundreds of local students (including my own children) and created considerable goodwill for the college. He helps in the local elementary, junior high and high schools. He wishes to recruit as well as create musicians that will build a more solid future for the Eastern Utah Wind Symphony. I have been impressed with his efforts. I would appreciate it if you could call or meet with him so as to provide him with your additional requirements for recruiting students. If you have significant further suggestions I would suggest he would be happy to entertain them. If not, I would suggest an apology.
My third comment is a general one. I have spoken only of the music comments (specifically referring to the “band”). On this subject the document is divisive, insulting, and, in my opinion completely wrong. If I can assume that the research done for the rest of the document was as poor as that done for music, I must assume that the entire document is significantly flawed. I would request that the document be revised, that apologies be made where appropriate, and that a document be created that unifies rather than divides.
As an interested and active community member I am looking to the college and its students to be a matter of pride for our area. I have spent my fair share of time in institutions of higher learning. I am very sensitive to the need for change, improvement and reform to strengthen such institutions. I wish you success in your desire to see improvement in your chosen college. I hope to see a more tenable document in the future.
Sincerely, Brian R. Peterson, MD
Dear President Holt,