(THIS JUST IN: Roth announces MoCon’s death sentence on the one day of the year students are too blazed, err, distracted to notice. Sly bastard.)
It was easy to hold out idealistic hope for MoCon’s survival last month when Roth acknowledged widespread alumni concerns by postponing demolition and promising to review options—again—for possible alternative uses of the condemned dining hall.
Alas, it’s not to be. Despite the impassioned pleas of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner ’87 and a billion other very angry alumni (including McConaughy grandson Jim McConaughy ’68), despite the touching Wesleying retrospectives, despite the Argus list of potential MoCon uses (personal favorite: “create a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit”), despite the 1,589 members of a “Save MoCon” Facebook Group, and despite the spontaneous MoCon flash party, Roth has concluded, finally, that Mococalypse Now! is the only viable option:
In order to keep McConaughy as an active part of campus we either have to invent a need that the current structure could meet, or we have to re-build the dining hall as something else in order to “preserve it.” Dividing up its great open space for some specific purpose that is antithetical to its design doesn’t really keep MoCon, nor does replacing all its essential components for use as an outdoor pavillion. And the expense would be staggering… millions over the next few years.
Ideas for reusing MoCon have been solicited for years, and delaying a decision any further seems to me irresponsible. So, with great reluctance I have reached the conclusion that we will not be able to maintain McConaughy. Instead, we’ll disassemble the building and recycle almost all its materials. Sometimes buildings reach the end of their lives, and this is what has happened with MoCon.
Still, Roth insists, that doesn’t mean he likes the decision any more than we do. In a blog post today both sentimental and pragmatic, the president pads the announcement with his own MoCon retrospective of sorts, recalling memories of Keith Jarrett and Pete Seeger concerts in the spaceship-shaped dining hall, of living across from the building his freshman year:
When I began my tenure as President of Wesleyan in the summer of 2007, I strolled over to my old Foss Hill room just across from the entrance to McConaughy Dining Hall. Standing in the circular driveway between my frosh dorm and the dining hall, I could almost hear the music that my roommate Richie and I blasted through the speakers we’d set in the window. On that Arrival Day in August 1975, we decided to announce our start as Wesleyan students by turning up the volume on Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone: How does it FEEEEL?
Roth answers Dylan: “It stinks. But the alternatives [to demolition] feel even worse.”
Thanks to anonymous shoutboxer for the tip.