With SCOPE in flux, spring concert not a 'guarantee'
It's nearing the time of semester when the Student Committee on Popular Entertainment typically announces the spring concert, but this year is different. With the organization currently under the management of an advisory board following the suspension of many of its members, students aren't quite sure what to expect this semester.
SCOPE was given a Student Activity Fee subsidy of $162,400 for fiscal year 2013. The organization has been under sanctions all year following a theft in April 2012 by one of its former members. SCOPE only recently had some of its members reinstated, and it hasn't had control of its budget for the entirety of the school year.
Members of SCOPE said they do not know what the organization's subsidy is currently being used for.
"No one gives us a straight answer," said Bethany Bucciarelli, the acting executive director of SCOPE.
SAFC Chair Bryan Merrill and SAFC Chief Financial Officer Justin Ykema, who are currently in charge of SCOPE's budget, said that the money is being used to bring a concert to campus and is not being diverted to other organizations, such as WUNH for its renovations. They said that the radio station is getting its money elsewhere.
"WUNH is finally saying they'd like to use their reserve money for renovations," Ykema said. Merrill also strongly emphasized that SCOPE's budget is in no way affiliated with WUNH.
"SCOPE's money isn't disappearing," Ykema said.
William McKernan, the Financial Affairs Chairman and Student Senate Business Manager, said that the money isn't being touched and that it wouldn't even be possible for it to disappear.
"The university has a tracking system. No one should be accessing their money," he said.
The only part of SCOPE's budget that has been used this year was when some of it was given to CAB for Homecoming. Merrill and Ykema said that SCOPE had owed CAB money and chose to give it to them this past fall.
Dominic DiCicco, the former business manager of SCOPE, said that this isn't true.
"We set a certain amount aside for fireworks each year but we didn't owe (CAB) money," he said.
The rest of SCOPE's budget is slated to be used to bring a concert to campus this semester. Merrill and Ykema have already had twenty different artists fall though due to issues such as cost or availability and they currently have three offers extended that they're still waiting to hear back from.
"We're hoping there'll still be a concert, but we can't guarantee it," Ykema said.
Merrill and Ykema said they are both concerned with making students happy and hope they can get a big enough name. They don't want to book a smaller artist for the sake of having a concert.
"It's not just getting a show, it's getting a good show and making sure student money is being spent responsibly," Merrill said.
"We're trying to make a lot of people happy, and the clock is ticking and the money's not growing," Ykema said. Bringing a concert to UNH is a big responsibility for two students who have never done it before, and they said that it's difficult without SCOPE's help. Ykema thinks that the organization isn't interested in helping them.
"I reached out to select SCOPE alumni and the response I got was, 'I'd rather not help you. I'd rather see you fail,'" Ykema said. "They want Bryan and I to fail because they want the university and MUB administrators to see the vital role SCOPE plays in bringing concerts to campus."
Some members of SCOPE wish that they could play a part in bringing a show to UNH this semester, though.
"The way SCOPE feels is very mixed," Bucciarelli said. "It's not that we want to see them fail."
DiCicco agreed and said he hopes that a show can be booked.
"I hope they can have a concert this semester, and I hope SCOPE members can be involved. There's no reason for them not to be," he said.
Bucciarelli just hopes that things will work out for the best.
"I hope that whatever they do they do it correctly, because that's what students deserve."
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