Winter Carnival festivities are almost upon us and to add to the festivities SAC is paying $12,000 to bring live entertainment to campus. Last year students voted to bring the band Luscious Jackson to campus in the spring. This year, however, no surveys were distributed to gather student input.
Unlike the democratic voting process used last time which allowed students to vote for their top choices among five possible music bands, SAC decided that they did not want to deal with another survey.
Apparently SAC felt a reggae band was most appropriate for Winter Carnival (a Winter Carnival whose theme is Moogano, an obvious pun on the site of the Winter Olympics) and, rather than give students the chance to offer suggestions or vote on a choice of bands, SAC used last spring’s survey as an indicator of “student interest and recognition” (according to Kate Irving ‘99, the chairperson of SAC) of the band that will be performing at Williams in two weekends, Third World. From this out-dated survey â€” in which students who have since graduated or gone abroad voted and in which students on campus now but who were away last spring voted â€” SAC felt they had sufficient student input to make a decision.
It should be noted that SAC members made effort to get student input from Ephs outside the club. However, this effort was limited to “the people we know,” as the Winter Study chairperson of SAC, Kevin Bolduc ‘99, said.
We will admit that it is worthwhile for students to be exposed to a wide variety of music. And some students are apparently familiar with the band. Even so, the decision to simply ignore a broad consensus of the musical preferences on campus is disturbing.
The Student Activities committee seems to think that their opinions, as well as those of the group of friends they know, constitute the majority opinion on campus. Apparently to have any voice in SAC activities, Ephs have to become members or be close friends with members.
SAC compared Third World to Guster, another band for whom no survey was taken. While many enjoyed the Guster show, the fact remains that student input was not solicited. Any time SAC spends in excess of $10,000 to fund anything, let alone a one night concert, the student body ought to have a voice in the decision process.