January 09, 2015

MONTCLAIR, N.J. (AP) Some students at New Jersey's second-largest public university are not feeling the spirit even though Montclair State University is spending $210,000 for a 12-foot bronze statue depicting the school's red-tailed hawk mascot.

The students, who pay $11,000 in annual tuition and fees, believe the money could be better spent elsewhere.

''You know what could really help school spirit? If tuition weren't so high, if there were parking spots for everyone, if everyone actually knew who their academic adviser was, and if the administration actually listened to students like they say they will,'' student Jo Landau told The Record newspaper (http://bit.ly/1I0HZGO ).

About half the cost for the project will be paid by mandatory student fees from the Student Government Association, school spokeswoman Suzanne Bronski said. The rest will come from university funds. About $4,000 in private donations have been raised.

The Red Hawk has ''come to stand for the determination of our students to make something important of their lives and for the courage it takes to challenge oneself to truly fulfill one's potential,'' Bronski said. ''When freshmen come to campus, they become Red Hawks, and we hope that helps them find their new identities as independent young adults.''

Bronski said the statue will help generate enthusiasm for the school's Division III athletic program and reinforce a sense of community for the school's 20,000 students.

The statue is being crafted by Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, New Jersey, and is expected to be installed in front of the Panzer Athletic Center by the start of the fall semester, school officials said.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com

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