The Rebel Yell sat down with CSUN Fine Arts Senator Tyler Carlton to talk about his thoughts on student government. The full audio interview can be heard on The Rebel Yell website at unlvrebelyell.com.
The Rebel Yell: As a fine arts senator, what is your opinion about the recent defeat of $30,000 to subsidize tickets for theatre performances for students?
Tyler Carlton: I understand that there are a lot of senators that are very much like, “if we’re going to spend our money it should benefit the majority of the students.” Which is great, but then you have to look at how many events are there that can benefit the majority of students. And then you look at voting records and they don’t necessarily follow that path.
Part of me thinks that there are a lot of senators that use that as their “oh I’m a good person because I’m only going to vote for things that benefit everyone,” but they’re really going to only vote for things that benefit their college. As far as theatre tickets go, every student is going to benefit from that. Someone from liberal arts or someone from sciences can go see the show for free. And there were senators who [said] we should cut down the money and give it to students who were only in the fine arts, or cut down the money and give it to students who are only outside the fine arts. I can understand that, but that’s excluding students, and you guys want things that benefit all students.
The theatre tickets ask for $30,000 because that’s what was given in the past. The library asked for $15,000. That’s $45,000 and [CSUN's total budget is] $1.2 million. $45,000 for two things that will benefit all students is not bad at all.
RY: Would you support any senator that came to you with an item that would only benefit students from their college?
TC: Depends on the reasons. The reason we were asking for the free tickets is because it’s not like theatre is trying to get out of having our students pay for the tickets. We’re trying to let you go see a show without having to pay $10.
For someone to want their lab coat paid for, that’s for that specific class. I won’t benefit from that. Now I’m not saying I’m opposed to it so long as they can give me a valid reason to vote for it.
Now if someone can present to me why it would be beneficial for everyone if we pay for their lab coats, then fine, I’ll let you try to convince me. I walk into every senate meeting with an opinion on everything, but a very open mind. I will listen to any argument.
RY: In the recent elections, the other fine arts candidate, Joseph Thomas, was disqualified by the elections board for campaign violations after he won the popular vote in the college. Your ticketmate Evelyn Smith then succeeded to his position. What do you say to students who may have voted for Thomas that now don’t understand why their representative was unseated?
TC: That was our thing, we want people to know that no one was cheating in this election. It wasn’t [that] we were trying to disqualify him … The rules were broken whether directly or indirectly, and on our side we want to present fair government for the students, and by us filing the complaint … and actually I filed the complaint. Evelyn had no idea. I did it because I found the posters [that Thomas' campaign was alleged to have placed illegally].
The rules are very vague in some areas, but the rules we got him for were not vague at all. We only got him for the rules he broke. Because like I said, the whole point was not to disqualify him, the point was ‘you break the rules, you break the rules.’
RY: What do you think the effect that the new Smith Performing Arts Center downtown will have on the UNLV theatre department and its performers?
TC: I have family in Arkansas, and the Walton family built a huge performing arts center there, and it includes not only a stage performance area, but a fine art gallery, so that way all art forms are recognized there.
And there are a lot of community theatres around there and there are some repertory theaters, and they’re like “oh, we’re going to have competition now,” but at the same time it’s bringing things that they would have never brought in.
UNLV could never have brought in the national tour of Wicked that’s going to be there next season. The Book of Mormon is thinking about coming there next season. They wouldn’t come to UNLV, because though we have wonderful facilities, we’re not able to house Broadway tours like that.
We wouldn’t’ be able to have Mary Poppins tap dancing on the presidium as easily as they can in the Smith center. It’s just like in the Venetian you can see Phantom of the Opera. You know, we already have big shows that are on the Strip, so it’s not like we were the only performance thing you could see, and now you’re going to have competition.