To the Editors of the Crimson:
I find Undergraduate Council Chairperson Greg Lyss' letter just a bit disconcerting. As an eager young freshman, I was a member of the 1980-81 Student Assembly, the previous incarnation of today's Council. We, too, had plans for a University-wide concert, to be staged in either the football stadium or in Bright Hockey Center Various technicalities, such as administration disapproval, student apathy, and lack of a legitimate sponsor, caused the project to be killed. We did stage a "Concert in the Quad" in April 1981, featuring several student bands, but only a few hundred students attended.
The problems facing the Council and its proposed Grateful Dead concert are both similar and amusing. As Mr. Lyss points out, the Council first proposed that the Grateful Dead play, and then the Council went out to find whether there was student support for such a concert and such a group. Our Student Assembly of years past also decided on a few groups, and then discovered that students did not particularly want to hear those bands. One thing we never could have afforded to do, however, was to take a referendum on the matter.
Government, particularly student government, is supposed to be a dynamic process. Legislators make proposals with the aid and support of their constituents, and then go back to those same constituents for further advice and alterations. Had Council members canvassed their respective house committees, perhaps they would have a better indication of student sympathy toward University social events in general, and rock concerts in particular. Informal house committee discussions, led by Council members, were supposed to become commonplace under the new student government. Today, those discussions do occur, but no on a regular basis, and not in a very effective mannter.
Instead, we have a misguided (albeit well-intentioned) Undergraduate Council that votes to suport a proposed concert, and then goes out and spends student's money to hold a referendum on the matter. The whole point will be moot. Council Vice-Chair Brian Melendez assures us, if Dean Epps denies permission for the event. Even if that happens, the Undergraduate Council may still hold a survey (costing still more money) to determine whether students want concerts at all, and if so, the survey will ascertain which groups we will willingly pay to see.
Indeed, the Council has proceeded with this issue in a most backward and expensive manner. The Council should start from scratch, and conduct informal (i.e. non-monetary) surveys of the house committees. From these grassroots discussions, sufficient ideas will emerge so that the Council can plan a whole program of University-wide social events (ranging from concerts to festivals to contests). If it is found to be absolutely necessary, then the Council can conduct a survey to determine which concerts to stage and which festivals to hold.
But to vote in favor of a concert and then to ask the student body to vote en masse to justify the Council decision is somewhat ridiculous I for one do not understand why the Council is behaving so irrationally in the face of social events. As Mr. Lyss points out, the "Social Committee's report said that financial backing...permits...precautions...and the band could all be obtained." Can is a marvelous verb. Will is a whole different ball game. It is about time the Undergraduate Council assumed an air of maturity and responsibility toward the student body. We elected the Council members, but are they representing us? Rob Silverstone '84