Mexican-Americans are getting stiffed right and left here in Arizona, the so-called Meth Lab Of Democracy.
The State Press, a student newspaper representing the largest university in our fair state, reports that Arizona State University is axing its mariachi band after 25 years.
ASU's current version of the program, which began during the Reagan Administration, is a combination of an all-student ensemble (a club that meets as part of a one-credit class) and an ensemble made up of both students and community members. It's been hugely successful, as you can see in the above video.
"It has always been a stable or expanding program," says the program's director, Richard Haefer. "It is a program that has allowed students to maintain contact with their heritage, grow and progress to complete their degrees."
So, yeah, it's been going strong for 25 years, helping Latin students connect with their heritage. Of course something like that won't stop some short-sighted middle-manager from tossing it out the window as part of his or her efforts to justify an administrative job. Right, amigos?
Enter School of Music director Kimberly Marshall, who says the mariachi program will now be "incorporated into the core curriculum of the school." Currently only four of the 26 participants in the program are stupid enough to be "music majors" in the middle of The Great Recession.
"It will be completely different," Marshall tells the State Press. "Instead of evening meetings of a community group and a group comprising students from across the University, mariachi training will be part of the ensemble training of all music majors, taught by a specialist performer during the afternoon ensemble rehearsal slots."
Translation: Our tiny sliver of this state university -- the music department -- is not benefiting from this program and no one above me has the balls to keep me from killing it.
The problem, very obviously, is that too few of the mariachi participants are actually in the school of music. The story quotes freshman nursing student from Nogales who said the program is her "connection to home." That doesn't mean shit to someone like the Oxford-educated Marshall, of course.
While that freshman is studying something smart -- nursing! -- that has a bright future even in these dire economic times and which will enable her to pay back her school loans and contribute to her community, Marshall's objective is to scam as many yuppie parents as possible into paying for a degree in music, which their kids can brag about while waiting tables at Mexican restaurants where mariachi bands play.
So, yeah, obviously Marshall, an expert on the organ, has no use for a bunch of Mexican students preserving their heritage. The mariachi band ain't helping Marshall reach her enrollment targets, it's just enriching the lives of students and the community.
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As we all know, that's the last thing any Arizona State University administrator wants to do.