Update: UVA joins telescope project

On Thursday, October 3, UVA Vice President and Provost Gene D. Block announced the news that Guy Lopez didn't want to hear: UVA will join the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) project on Mt. Graham in Arizona.

Lopez, an activist opposing the new telescope on land considered sacred by the nearby San Carlos Apaches, was profiled last week in The Hook ["Aiming high," October 3, 2002].

Earlier, Lopez had dismissed UVA's efforts, which included creating an advisory committee as well as cultural and educational exchanges for faculty and students, as a "paternalistic bribery scheme." He had hoped the UVA Board of Visitors would hold off on the $4 million investment. But like all contracts under $5 million, the decision was under the control of Leonard Sandridge, the University's chief operating officer, says spokesperson Louise Dudley.

By the end of last week, Lopez seemed resigned to the decision.

"We will continue to work with UVA to ensure that the pledges they've made to reach out to Native Americans as this project goes forward are carried out," Lopez says.

UVA claims the new telescope– equipped with two 27-foot mirrors– will provide images as clear as those from the Hubble Space Telescope.