In last Wednesday’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting (on April 19th) the concert committee requested $10,000 to fill a deficit of over $16,000 for the upcoming Uproar concert, featuring singer-songwriter Mike Posner.
The committee had originally come to SGA requesting $16,560, but this total was negotiated down to $10k in SGA’s finance committee — which is the preliminary stage of requesting funds from SGA. After much deliberation during Wednesday’s general assembly meeting, SGA moved to allocate $5,000 to the concert committee in an effort to remain “fiscally responsible.”
Jacob Krol ‘18, SGA executive secretary, unpacked the events that transpired between the concert committee and SGA in the following statement to The Weekly:
“… [it is] SGA’s mission to fund all student clubs, not just one in particular. Fiscal responsibility has always been a top priority, especially after the funding of the new [Director of Prevention and Education] position… we still treat our current balance with the same financial responsibility we always have.”
While SGA will co-sponsor the event with a $5,000 contribution, there was still a remaining $11,560 that the concert committee needed.
“The concert committee realized we were short on funds when reviewing our budget and the starting numbers with faculty,” said Madison McCandless ‘19, the treasurer of MAC who was present at the SGA meeting on Wednesday, in an attempt to further understand what went wrong with the concert committee’s budget.
“We are in a transition period with advisers and the starting numbers were confused with another department’s funds in the process of this transition,” said McCandless.
The scramble to raise a large amount of cash a week out from the concert is incredibly problematic. Furthermore, students should be concerned with how their student activities fee is spent.
Because of the vague responses given by the concert committee, it is hard to troubleshoot exactly what led up to the organization realizing they were short more than $16,000 four weeks before the concert.
“MAC has more than doubled the number of campus-wide offerings that have been provided in the recent past and they have done this largely on the same budget they have had in the past years,” said Dean of Students Alison Gulati.
In other words, MAC has been doing too much with too little money.
At one point, Dean Gulati discussed the possibility of including a nominal fee, meaning students would need to pay anywhere between $5-10 at the door for Mike Posner, to cover any extraneous costs. However, funds for the concert eventually emerged from the Dean of Students Office, Seegers Union, and Student Activities.
“While MAC could have charged students a ticket fee, students have already paid an activity fee and the spring concert is a major event that students look forward to all year,” said Gulati. “The Division of Student Affairs is very committed to students getting to enjoy entertainment that is free and open for all, so we have prioritized assisting with this event for that purpose.”
While the concert funding shortfall has been resolved, the problem of a significant student activity group on campus mismanaging their budget needs to be addressed. Plenty of factors contributed to the budget scramble, many of which were out of the control of current MAC board members. Yet, MAC still managed to have a successful year.
“…MAC and Concert Board… have worked incredibly hard to enhance social life and social options for students on campus in accordance with their mission,” said Gulati “I could not be more thrilled with their progress and commitment to a goal of fun, social community building on campus too.”
The Uproar concert is sure to be a social highlight of the year for MAC and potentially the whole community. But the student body should be asking: at what cost?