Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have to tell you, this whole renaming the Student Union thing has gotten under my skin.

I have been reading about it on the Plainsman.com and I was trying to understand why the SGA would vote down the resolution to extend James E. Foy's name to the new student union building. Right now, the building will be named after whomever ponies up $25 million to pay for it.

I see the point that the $25 million will help keep student activity fees down, that the university can really put that money to use and it will been "ear-marked" for student development and programs. But when I was at Auburn, our student activity fees (go toward maintaining student union, campus programs, student recreation center, etc.) were already close to if not the lowest in the SEC. So with inflation and all the growth on campus, I think those could stand to go up a little bit more. But of course, I'm not paying those fees, so I don't really know. And it's not like students were ever lacking in something to do, without $25 million to blow.

But here's what I do know - Foy is a man. Foy is a building. Foy is a phone number; but to reduce it to just one of those takes away from what Foy really means and embodies to most Auburn students. Which is why when I read that a student senator - who was a CWE Counselor, no less - called Dean Foy a "cute old man," I about spit out my coffee:

"We don't remember Foy or are respectful of Foy because of the man he is. Because to all of us, he's just, he's great I'm sure, but he's still the cute, old guy that says War Eagle at pep rallies. I'm not trying to take away anything from who he is, but we're all passionate about Foy because of the building, because it is where we spent our time, where we ate lunch, not because of who he is."

You know what? This makes me sad. I have an e-mail sitting in my draft box to this young woman. I'm trying to decide if it's too "cranky old alumna" to send. It's a nice e-mail, not mean or condescending, just explaining to her that her choice of words were really offensive to me as a member of the CWE family and hopefully all the rest of you that sat through Dr. C's slide show, learning from where everything from our orange and blue to War Eagle! to the seal and the creed originated.

I guess it's a full circle. She is passionate about the building because of the activities that it houses, where she spent time and ate lunch. Those activities are there, that building is there, because of Dean Foy. She and the other student senators may not recognize that, but lots of other people do.

I'm sure there'll be a solution worked out. The alumni are up in arms. Maybe some of the Auburn people that read this blog can help me/us understand both sides of this argument, or at least how this girl spent a summer in CWE and still manages to think of Dean Foy as not much more than a "cute old man." In the mean time, read a three-part series chronicling how he is so much more than that here here and here.

A proud alumna with some "cute old man"


  1. Damn senators. You can never trust em. I would have been a dissenting vote though. Maybe they could name it the Holiday Union.

  2. I stared at the little white, post on this blog box for a good while...writing and deleting and writing and deleting. Mostly, because eveything was spelled wrong because I couldn't get my fingers to move fast enough..but more importantly because this girl is a unicorn to me - a legend, a myth. Someone who is a CWE counselor and a Sentor...and yet thinks that Foy is just the place where Chik-fil-a is?? People like that don't exist. At least their not supposed to.
    Furthermore, there a MANY people in the history of auburn or even our country that we don't remember because of personal experiences...but yet we respect them and their legacy the same. DC is full of monuments built to men/women who I probably couldn't recall 1/10th of the things they did- but we honor them just the same- becasue at some point they did things far greater ( and more lasting) than someone with 25 million dollars.
    and im done... dismounting soapbox.

  3. I went to Auburn. I wasn't a senator. I wasn't CWE. I didn't spend any time in Foy Union. I've never met the man. I'm coming strictly from a logical standpoint. If the existing building named Foy were going to continue existing, be it as additional classrooms or whatever, then keep its original name and name the new student union something else. However, I've been hearing that they are going to tear the old Foy Union down? If that's the case, then the new one SHOULD be named Foy. Like I said, I never met the man, but I know he has done some incredible and lasting things at Auburn University. For that reason, his name should stay with the University for as long as it exists.

  4. As a former senator at large, I must say that I'm a bit dissappointed in these young people's decision. I actually had the priviledge of casting a vote as to where that new student union building would be located. I never imagined that it would be called anything other than Foy. What a sad day!

  5. As a former Senator-at-Large and President Pro Tempore I must say that just because certain people voted against it does not mean that they don't want to honor Dean Foy and everything he did for Auburn. I've met Dean Foy and I'm sure many of those "no" voters have to. There's no way you can meet him and not be humbled by everything he's done and is still doing. I mean hell, the Iron Bowl trophy is named after him. Not every vote in Auburn SGA Senate is black and white, cut and dry. As Dan said, the current Foy Union is still standing and is still named after him. If someday they decide to tear it down don't you think that some part/wing/conference room/meeting room/lobby will be named after him? They'll have a huge ceremony where they do a name transfer and the president will cut a ribbon. The SGA President will be there and everything. SPADE may even grace us with their presence, thumbs up. Until then there is no reason to make a knee jerk reaction and give up a potential $25 million.

    Anyway, go Auburn politics, yay.

    As a former CWE CC and HCC I must also say that I'm slightly disappointed in this girl's comments. I just don't think she gets it.

  6. I think it's always a shame when something that is a significant legacy for various reasons, like Foy Student Union, is disregarded because the legacy hasn't been made clear to new generations. (Not that we're all like a million years old or anything.) Just that the legacies and traditions that as a whole make up that "Auburn" that all the t-shirts, poems and sentimental alumni opine about are what set our school apart from, and above, others. I don't know the logistics behind the decision made, but apart from the decision, this girl's statement regarding Dean Foy is, to me, and unfortunate indicator that the current group of Auburn students aren't getting as full a view of the legacies of Auburn as past groups have enjoyed and appreciated. I hope that she is an outlier, and this is not in fact the case. And LJ, I vote yes on sending her an email.

  7. Read the article with the quote here:


  8. Will the "Elevens" be there? Oh, I hope so! Can alumni be in the "Elevens"? Still clinging to hope ;)

  9. I think anytime the you use the phrase "cute old man" to defend your point, then I can no longer listen or respect anything you have to say.

    Star, former CWE counsler, Auburn employee, alumna, and VP of Common Sense

  10. SEND YOUR EMAIL...and dont think twice about it! I read that article and was appauled at the disregard for tradition that Auburn has always been known for. This proves that it can be difficult to get caught up in politics and even easier to forget the "big picture."

    While funding is important, it saddens me to think that the future of Auburn is in the hands of the highest bidder.

  11. Wow, as an older alumni/graduate (i.e.your Mom's vintage) when they sitll called it Orientation and not the infinitely more descriptive Camp War Eagle; the first thing we went to was a general meeting at Langdon Hall and the first order of business was a rousing cheer of "Wo(sic)Eagle" lead by Dean Foy. That set the tone for the adoption of the Auburn Spirit especially for those not born with it (born with it like me and your Mom and sister.) It is that spirit (perhaps memorialized with a video like the blocked punts)and I think the arguement would end, or perhaps somebody or somebodies can pony up the dough and simply say I
    (we) would like the name to be The Foy Student Union. Love your blog, read it often but respond sparingly. Howz the running?
    Larry A.


Oh goody!

wordpress blog stats