Verbum Ultimum: Inconsistent Programming

by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 5/16/13 10:00pm

Tonight's Green Key concert, featuring Shaggy and ASAP Rocky, represents the culmination of a dramatic year for Programming Board. Dating back to the controversial location and ticket sales for Avicii last winter, the last large concert it sponsored, the group's record in planning and running music events is far from sterling. Programming Board's operations have been marked by a lack of organization and transparency, and are in dire need of improvement.

Many students will recall the mess surrounding Avicii's visit to Hanover; the ticketing interface was confusing and difficult to use, while the Class of 1953 Commons was woefully inadequate for the number of students who wanted to attend the concert. While we understand that there were significant institutional barriers regarding the concert's location, the reasons for Programming Board's inability to secure a larger space, like Leverone Fieldhouse, for the event were not made public until well afterwards. Given the poor level of communication in this situation, one might have expected Programming Board to do more to improve its image.

Instead, transparency issues continue to plague this organization. Incredibly, the group could not be bothered to send out a campus blitz to announce the initial concert lineup of ASAP Rocky and Major Lazer. Nor does Programing Board heavily utilize social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to publicize events. Furthermore, its representatives regularly refuse to speak with The Dartmouth's reporters. In fact, The Dartmouth first learned of Shaggy's performance due to an update on the artist's website, and even then they refused to comment. But perhaps most troubling, last spring term, Programming Board required a transfer of $10,000 from other student organizations in spite of having been initially granted a budget of $320,000 for the academic year. We can only speculate about the current situation given their refusal to disclose information about current spending. Noticeably, Programming Board no longer subsidizes student tickets at the Nugget, presumably due to budget woes. Its basic failure to communicate with the student body is both inexplicable and reprehensible. Taken together, these actions show a blatant disregard for the student body that Programming Board exists to serve.

Three years ago, under former student body president Eric Tanner '11, Student Assembly chose to move away from programming and focus on policy. While we are not here to comment on this particular decision, Student Assembly threw the gauntlet to Programming Board to provide campus with a variety of events in an open and inclusive process. It seems that it has had difficulties doing so. Putting aside the challenges of attracting big-name artists to Hanover, we believe that there is substantial inefficiency and inconsistency within Programming Board that must be addressed. Improved financial disclosure and more public communication would be a good start. If the organization is unable or unwilling to put its house in order, the Undergraduate Financial Committee should redirect Programming Board's funding to other organizations that could better put the money to use.

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