Editorial: Don't stop the music
SCOPE should take part in production of spring concert
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 01:03
A front-page article in this past Tuesday’s issue of the The New Hampshire detailed how the Student Committee on Popular Entertainment’s budget is being handled the in wake of the sanctions levied against the organization last semester. With nine of its members reinstated earlier this semester, SCOPE still hasn’t been allowed to use any of its budget or take part in the planning for a spring concert.
Student Activity Fee Chair Bryan Merrill and SAFC Chief Financial Officer Justin Ykema have been charged with the task of controlling SCOPE’s budget and bringing a concert to campus. But as the halfway point of the spring semester has come and gone, it’s looking less and less likely that there will be a big show to bookend the year.
In Tuesday’s article, Ykema said that he and Merrill “can’t guarantee” a concert this semester, as 20 of their offers to various artists have fallen through. He described how the pair has reached out to SCOPE alumni for help, but they have been unwilling, instead telling Merrill and Ykema that they’d rather see them fail. While it may be a petty response, it’s not unexpected of alumni who saw their former org gutted and left to die last semester.
Instead of reaching out to alumni, Merrill and Ykema should work with current SCOPE members to bring a concert this spring. The duo is in an unenviable position, tasked with a job that normally takes an entire organization to complete. But with 20 offers already rejected, perhaps they should realize that they can’t do this on their own.
It is up to SCOPE’s advisory board, which Merrill is a part of, to allow the organization to help bring a concert to UNH this spring. The advisory board is in place to help SCOPE focus on its sanctions. But it makes no sense to allow nine members to rejoin the org and then keep them from serving their main purpose, which is to bring entertainment to the university. SCOPE could still operate under the advisory board’s guidance while helping Merrill and Ykema.
It would also be an incredible waste of current students’ money to not use SCOPE’s budget to book a concert for this spring. The organization was given a subsidy of $162,400 for fiscal year 2013. Very little of that money has been used so far this year.
Even if Merrill and Ykema do come through with a concert, it will be through an outside booking agency, meaning tickets will cost more for students. Take, for instance, the recent Tiesto concert, which was put on by NV Concepts, an outside company. Student floor tickets cost $40 for that show. But for the SCOPE-run J. Cole show last spring, student floor tickets cost just $18. SCOPE receives a SAF subsidy so it can provide affordable popular entertainment to UNH. With SCOPE not allowed to take part in the planning and production process, students will have to pay more for tickets.
The advisory board already revised its original, highly questionable decision from last semester to kick all members of SCOPE out of the org when it reinstated nine members at the beginning of the spring semester. It can certainly allow SCOPE to work with Merrill and Ykema to bring a concert to campus. If they do not, and there is no concert this spring, they won’t just be punishing one organization. They will be punishing the entire student body, and wasting their student activity fee money in the process.