NewsNite. 02.17.12

by the NewsNite. Webmaster on February 17, 2012


This week Phil Trexler, Jody Miller, and Ed Esposito join Eric Mansfield.

Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander wants to keep violently mentally ill offenders out of the county jail. The panel discusses the pros and cons of this decision and who will be affected by the fallout.

Tyree Feaster, who confessed to involuntary manslaughter of ShawRica Lester in The Cage nightclub shooting, has been released on a technicality. The panel’s discussion is here on NewsNite.net.

University of Akron has commissioned a study to look into constructing an arena downtown. Is this connected to the recent hiring of Jim Tressel, or the last piece of Don Plusquellic’s legacy?

Akron Public Schools has announced a proposal to close three elementary schools at the end of the school year. Budget shortfalls, failed levies, and a declining population have stressed the school system to the point that big moves are being considered. The panel finishes the discussion here on NewsNite.net.

For our last segment, Angela Presutti, Director of Young Professionals of Akron, joins Eric to discuss ‘brain drain’ in the Akron area. The Young Professionals initiative strives to create a greater attachment to the area within their community in order to slow or reverse that drain.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

James February 18, 2012 at 8:58 am

Regarding a University of Akron Arena. First of all, The University and the mayor have indeed come together to talk about the arena. To say they haven’t is not true. Also, if the downtown area is not that far from the UA campus, the opposite is true too. What we should make clear is that it doesn’t take much for people downtown to walk to the campus. People all over Akron ( and Canton, Cleveland and NE, Ohio) are accustom to going to The University of Akron campus .

Now let’s consider who is paying for a new arena. The University is and not the city. Dr Proenza and the entire university community has more of a right to put their arena on the campus than the mayor does insisting it goes downtown. If he wants to have a downtown arena, let him pay for it with city funs. He needs to put up or shut up. Placing an arena on the campus does not discourage people in Akron from coming to the arena. In fact I think a campus location will encourage people to come to the arena more so than downtown. The UA is about the region and not just the city and it is a safer space than downtown Akron.

Also, Jodi the reason why the UA stadium isn’t populated as much as it should be is because our football team is a failure not because of its location. Do you actually believe that downtown will make a positive difference in attendance for an arena or a stadium? I think to suggest such a thing is absolutely absurd if not dishonest.

The fact is that a University of Akron Arena belongs on the University of Akron Campus and it will be user friendly for the entire community as well as the student body as are all university facilities. Look at the UA Performing Arts Hall (E.J.). that is on the campus and is funded by UA and its students, yet the overwhelming majority of its audience are non-UA student community members.

You guys act like there is an alligator infested mote around the campus when nothing could be further from the truth. The campus has been a destination location for the community and region for well over a century. There are not any obstacles preventing all summit County residents from coming to the campus. However, in your show you portrayed the university in the opposite light. How disingenuous!

It’s not rocket science. The university will pay for an arena that is a university arena and a university arena belongs on the university campus. For once, Akron needs to stop trying to hijack and pilfer UA facilities in an attempt to make then look non-university city facilities. You got away with it with E.J. Thomas Hall. Imagine what you will do to an off-campus university facility.


James February 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

April 19, 2009

Dr. Luis Proenza, President
The University of Akron
302 Buchtel Commons
Akron, Ohio 44325

Dear Dr. Proenza,

I appreciated reading about your comments in your travels across campus recently. I especially liked your remarks about the need to encourage students to participate in campus activities and how an on-campus stadium will contribute to that encouragement. I couldn’t agree with you more.

In that spirit, my hope is to see this principle applied to locating a new basketball arena in the heart of the UA campus. To me, everything that has been said about why we are getting an on-campus stadium logically applies to why we need an on-campus arena.

I believe college students want to have a sense of belonging to their university through its facilities and programs. An on-campus arena will go a long way to create that sense of ownership and excitement. College students want to feel connected to the greatest things their school has to offer. I believe it provides them with a sense of pride and spirit essential in making a university look like the excellent school it truly is. It contributes greatly to a university’s reputation and image. I also believe that parents want to know that their children will be able to attend activities WITHIN the campus and that integrated campuses have a higher status and image than those whose buildings are spread amongst the greater city. Building a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena conspicuously in the heart of the UA campus will add significantly to an exciting environment that will encourage UA students to participate.

It would also seem imperative that a winning basketball team be physically part of the UA campus and not divorced from the very university it represents (Rubber Bowl). Also, I am excited to think about how an on-campus arena’s positive effect on the UA student body will spill over to influence our basketball team to excel and become even better, especially if we are talking about being a part of the Big 10! Imagine Big 10 Basketball being a part of the UA campus vs. “in downtown Akron.”

I also believe that an on-campus arena will serve as an important recruitment tool for UA’s sports programs and enrollment in general. My understanding is that once searching students and their parents set feet and eyes on a campus, it doesn’t take but a matter of minutes for them to decide whether or not it’s a good fit. I believe that if they see a state-of-the-art arena directly on campus instead of having to be paraded downtown, the chances of their picking UA are enhanced greatly.

A multi-purpose arena will bring people and excitement to the UA campus, whether it’s for basketball games or internationally known concert stars. Imagine not only the excitement, energy and pride running through the campus community, but also the variety and number of non-UA people coming to and seeing our UA campus. I don’t think you can buy better advertising than that, especially when one considers pre-event media exposure. Think of the pride and recruitment value when an announcer is heard saying, “…on The University of Akron campus” instead of, “…in downtown Akron”.

Some can spin that downtown is a part of the UA campus. Downtown is not on campus in letter and more importantly, spirit. In short, if it doesn’t look on-campus, it’s not. I believe that when potential students and their parents visit and consider UA, they are largely influenced by what they see as opposed to any spin delivered to them. No amount of explanations, qualifiers, UA banners and “Fear The Roo” decals will convince a recruit and his/her parents that a downtown arena is a part of The University of Akron.

I also believe that a UA arena needs to be closer to other UA sports and recreation facilities already on the campus just for the sake of integrity if not practicality.

I encourage UA to continue on its excellent course of establishing healthy, physical boundaries. Boundaries should not be confused with walls, and don’t let anyone accuse UA of putting up walls by creating a beautiful, authentic and integrated campus. Boundaries say to a community, “welcome…this is where you are”. They give The University of Akron credibility and class. They make the UA student body excited and even prouder of their school and their campus. And, UA students will share their pride and excitement with others who are not yet a part of The University of Akron.

Building a new arena in the heart of the campus will help keep The University of Akron a vibrant, exciting and pedestrian friendly place to be.

A university honors its host community by being a great university.


James February 18, 2012 at 11:42 am

I think the idea of UA building an off-campus, downtown arena is ludicrous. The eastern most campus venue is not at all far from downtown businesses. And UA’s on-campus facilities have been contributing to downtown businesses as per an ABJ story in the past. Russ Pry referred to the UA stadium as a “plum for downtown”. Dave Liberth dubbed the site east of the stadium when it was thought a SkyWay restaurant was going there as “a welcome addition to downtown Akron”. Out of one side of their mouths, the Beacon and the mayor call the campus a downtown one and then out of the other side of their mouths they say it is separate and far from downtown. Then the panelists on your program turn around and admit that downtown and campus are not far apart. These flip-flop positions are conspicuously disingenuous and reek of dishonest agendas. Just how many sides of your bread do you want buttered?

The fact is that as the UA (true) campus improves and grows so does downtown. UA doesn’t have to compromise its integrity in order for it to help downtown draw more people to it. Besides, it is not Dr. Proenza’s job to develop downtown in that direct of a manner. It is the mayor’s job. UA has more than provided fair contributions to downtown through founding UPA and continuing its participation in the organization. And the mission of UPA is to develop off-campus neighborhoods around campus and not the campus itself. UPA does not tell UA where to put their campus facilities. That is not part of their mission and neither is it their architect’s (Ecstut)

Collaboration between the university and the community involves mission critical products born out of joint research, and academic outreach not contaminated joint capital improvement projects with downtown politicians.

We are just beginning to have a beautiful integrated and authentic campus and it is essential that a new UA arena be on the UA campus in order to continue that authentism. We do not need the mayor to try and reverse that process and end up making UA look like just another cheesy community college. We are not Cleveland State or some 5th rate trade school and we certainly don’t need to look like one. Downtown Akron doesn’t look like a campus and therefore is not part of the UA campus.

I see this effort to get UA’s arena downtown as bogus. It is an attempt to give credit where it is not due. The same dishonest stunt was tried with the stadium.


UA student February 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

“…Any student who frequents the Polsky Building throughout the day is well aware of the presence of “less than desirable” members of the community who freely hang out outside, linger inside and roam the hallways and bathrooms.

I know that the hot topic tends to be student safety on the south side of campus, but Polsky tends to never be addressed as a problem area. Many students share an “uneasy” feeling when entering Polsky from the third floor and it should be addressed that the University should make an effort to restrict access for non-university persons, as well as provide on-site security…”

Just one among many reasons why The University of Akron is crazy to even entertain the idea of building a student arena off the campus in dowtown Akron. A downtown location would discourage not only UA students to go to their own arena but community members as well. The students who live at 22 Exchange are having the same type of problem and will vacate that premise the second UA opens more on-campus dorms. UA fills on-campus dorms faster than they can build them, but not so in downtown Akron.

And look at downtown Cleveland’s football and baseball stadiums. That is a far better downtown than Akron could ever be and they have problems filling those two stadiums even with professional teams. A downtown location would be the kiss of death for UA’s new arena. Besides, we students deserve to have our arena on our campus. The mayor of Akron is notoriously anti-student when it comes to The University of Akron.


UA student February 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

By the way, It is my understanding that the so called concept of “span-the-tracks” was an objective in desperate search for a goal some 30 years ago and has long been abandoned as having any real purpose or meaning by the university. Someone on your panel is stuck in the past.


Go Lance February 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

Food for thought: “Akron beacon journal

University of Akron approves downtown stadium
POSTED: 11:19 a.m. EDT, Aug 01, 2007″

According to this ABJ headline back in 2007, a campus stadium is a downtown stadium. So, why wouldn’t a campus arena be considered a downtown arena?

Also, some very good points, Lance. I would like to add that it only makes sense for the university to put its new arena on the actual campus. Appearances make a big difference if you want the university to reap the benefits of having a new on-campus arena. A downtown arena will not look like part of the UA campus and I believe the mayor and a few other hacks know this and are depending on it. They want the university to build downtown so they can take credit for the arena and make it appear as though it is a non-univesity city of Akron building.

The other point to be made is that the true university campus has been hosting events for people all over NE, Ohio for over a century more so than downtown Akron. Any current campus facility can prove that the campus is used by non-UA people on a daily basis. The arena can be for the city just as much if not more by being on the campus than being downtown.

Downtown would be the kiss of death for The University of Akron and an arena.


UA student February 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I hope no one is buying into the mayor’s recent statement in the press that an arena will get more use downtown than on the campus. It is simply not a true statement and the mayor knows it. I believe he also knows that the university has been in continued discussions with him and other city officials over a new arena.

When people from Fairlawn, Bath, Montrose, Highland Square, Firestone Park, Goodyear Park, Wadsworth, Medina, Cleveland, Canton, Massillon, Columbus, PA and more flock to the UA campus for everything from a ballet to an art show to a basketball game, soccer match, symphony, Broadway play and musical, baseball game, a tour of Hower House, the Student Union, Guzzetta Hall, E.J. Thomas Hall, Paul Daum Theater, Jackson Field and soon to a football game, they couldn’t care less that these venues are not downtown. The campus has been a destination location for people all over this community and others for well over a century and with great success. In that vein, downtown becomes immaterial if not worse when considering where to build a new arena. However, a campus location is essential when considering a new arena. In fact, I will submit that a downtown location is detrimental to a new arena. I wish it weren’t so and I hope one day it will change, but downtown, especially after dark is far more scary than anywhere on the campus. I know when I attend an event on campus after dark, I feel much safer and secure than when I am in downtown Akron. I find that most people I talk to feel the same way. I also know that UA students, especially female students get harassed when they are forced to go to the Polsky Building, the public library and even Quaker Square. Don’t think that those facts don’t get back to tuition paying parents.

People from all over the region are accustom to coming to The University of Akron campus for a diverse array of events. As Dr. Proenza states, “The University of Akron is the place to be.”

The mayor’s attempt at forcing people and students to go downtown by ripping off the UA campus shows his and the city’s desperation. If downtown officials would learn from The University of Akron and develop downtown with integrity and real commitment as opposed to the recent dishonesty shinanigans, perhaps they could accomplish something as great and impressive as The University of Akron campus.

If student attendance is low at any venue on campus, the answer isn’t to build a venue downtown. Regardless of the level of student attendance, the university’s obligation is first and foremost to the students and its campus. That said, if student attendance is a problem, then the university is obligated to find out why and fix it. They can’t just throw up their hands and take the position to build a university venue away from the students and their campus.

The students are UA’s primary customers especially if the arena will be multi-purpose. If the fan base is predominately non-UA student and it can‘t be rectified, then perhaps UA should step aside and drop not another penny on an arena and let the city build, pay for and operate a new arena off campus.

In any event however, if the university is going to foot the bill for, own and operate an arena regardless of fan base, then it still obligates the university to build on campus which remains a destination location for UA students and for non-UA students from this and other surrounding communities. The facility’s on-campus status will have recruitment value for new UA students in general and for the basketball program.

Also, there are not that many UA students living downtown in the off-campus, non-university apartments. Their demure presence in downtown is a feeble excuse for the University of Akron to build an $80,000,000 major campus asset off the campus and in downtown. Also, as UA continues to build more and more on-campus housing, students from downtown will migrate east and back to their campus. UA fills their dorms before they are even done building them. Not so for downtown.

Reality is that UA students will flock to a venue as long as the venue is part of their campus and features what the students want. If we give the students a winning football team, they will fill the stadium and if we consistently give the students a champion basketball team, they will fill an arena especially if that arena is built in a manner that demonstrates UA students come first. The JAR (which has a shameful student seating section) was built by an anti-student president (Guzzetta) and an anti-student board of trustees and legislature. And now, the City of Akron has an anti-Student mayor. We need on-campus structures that are UA student friendly and that includes E.J. Thomas Hall another problem campus facility that was the result of anti-student people who did not and does not put students anywhere near the top of the priority list.

UA’s job is to correct the problem and not make the problem worse by building student facilities off the campus, especially when it wants to increase student enrollment to 40,000 in eight years and attract bigger and better recruits for its basketball program. Building downtown is giving up and an inappropriate way of spending university and student dollars. Also, alumni will withdraw financial support and they should if UA even tries to go downtown with a new arena. I know one alumnus who will stop all contributions to UA and shut down his endowment fund if UA engages is such a kamikaze mission as putting its arena downtown.

UA supporting alumni and other major contributors to the University of Akron will not let the mayor of Akron pick their pockets.

When will some of Akron’s self-serving politicians realize that The University of Akron is no longer Hilltop High and is certainly no one’s personal or political prostitute? The mayor and a small minority of his minions need to back off.


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