Sunday, September 07, 2003

Pitt Gambles On Tuition Increase

The expansion of legal gambling in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been a heavily debated topic at the state capitol building in Harrisburg all summer long. Proposed venues have already been designated – nine at horse racetracks and two others: one for the Philadelphia area and one for somewhere in the nine-county Pittsburgh region.

Although the state senate still has not voted on the issue, the University of Pittsburgh is taking the initiative to house this venue location in the City of Pittsburgh itself. In a press conference held this week, administrators announced the purchase of over 10,000 slot machines, funded by the 9.5 percent tuition increase for the 2003-04 academic school year. University officials hope to install them within the Cathedral of Learning by the end of the calendar year.

“With the right marketing and advertising, we plan to bring in thousands of patrons to the brand-new Casino of Learning,” Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said at the press conference. “Not only will this premier, state-of-the-art gambling arena be conveniently housed right here in Oakland, but the profits from the machines will eventually help ensure the end of tuition increases for our students.”

Nordenberg’s administration plans to utilize the profits made from the machines to supplement money it receives from the state, lowering the cost of tuition for current and future students.
“The slots initiative will allow us to offer an affordable education,” Pitt spokesperson Robert Hill said. “And it will also bring in revenue for the University and for Southwestern Pennsylvania. We’re doing our part in revitalizing the economy – we’re bringing in jobs and educating tomorrow’s business leaders.”

Floor plans and designs for the revamped historical higher education landmark were also unveiled at the press conference.

Hill didn’t deny new rumors about a possible partnership with Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. for the new Casino of Learning. “If we’re going to have high-quality gambling, we’re looking into what established gambling venues are doing. The possibilities are endless for the Casino of Learning, and we want to make sure we start things off on the right foot.”

Students are still skeptical about attending classes amid a plethora of noisy machines and crazy gamblers.

“Well, I guess I could get used to hitting the books and then hitting the slots,” said Pitt sophomore Katy Browlee. “Does this mean that the Cathedral will be applying for a liquor license?”

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