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Evolving an intelligent design

I agree completely with the students' goal of saving the magnolias ("Students hope to save magnolias," Nov. 17). They are iconic Southern symbols that the University should think twice about chopping down for the sole purpose of making its job easier. Although I am unaware of the construction concerns these trees may pose, I believe these issues should be more fully discussed and all options fleshed out before any drastic action is taken.

More importantly, though, the idea that these trees - or anything on Grounds, for that matter - are not "Jeffersonian" enough to remain is absolute nonsense. Almost nothing that has been built since 1825 is strictly speaking "Jeffersonian," since he did not plan or oversee its construction. In fact, certain buildings such as Old Cabell Hall are directly opposed to Jefferson's vision, as he did not want the Lawn to be closed off. Should we go tear down Old Cabell Hall simply because Jefferson would not have wanted it, regardless of its use or importance to today's University?

Perhaps we should take a commonsense approach and realize that such changes have been made for a reason. The pillars on the Lawn were painted white for a reason - they look better that way. Old Cabell Hall was built for a reason - we needed classroom space for our expanding University. The magnolias are there for a reason - they offer a beautiful frame to the most striking building on Grounds.

Perhaps we should listen to Jefferson's own advice that we should not be bound by "the dead hand of the past." Jefferson was an innovator and a thinker, not a reactionary. There is no way he would want us to try to transform the University into what existed when classes began in 1825, ignoring the progress, improvements and changes that have taken place throughout time. The University architect should take a minute to think about Jefferson's true vision for the University before putting forth another ridiculous proposal to revert to "Jeffersonian" appearances at the expense of the aesthetic appeal and utility of Grounds.\n\nOwen Gallogly\nCLAS III

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