U.C. Debates Concert Fiasco

Treasurer Beys, Former Chair Rhew in Confrontation

From the beginning, the De La Soul concert was a story of dramatic confrontation.

Treasurer Michael P. Beys '94 booked the hip-hop band just weeks before the annual Rock for Shelter concert, lobbying to replace the previously slotted performers with De La Soul.

In a fevered meeting, the council broke precedent to conduct a phone poll of members on the question. Beys, already known for his outspoken nature, campaigned heavily in favor of the concert.

Beys called the concert a "guaranteed success." But Robert C. Rhew, former council chair, predicted a guaranteed "disaster."

And in the latest twist to the saga, the council on Sunday called an unprecedented vote to decide whether Beys should be impeached. Beys won the vote, which was cast by secret ballot, by an unknown margin and will finish out his term as treasurer.


Rhew served on the committee that drew up the original plans for Rock for Shelter, a benefit for area homeless.

Since De La Soul cost thousands more than the smaller scale bands Rhew and his committee booked, the risk was greater. And, Rhew argued, a benefit for the homeless is no place for a big risk.

In the end, Beys won that battle. But the war of personalities reached an entirely new plane this week, in the wake of the show's massive losses--amounting to upwards of $10,000.

Few, if any, on the council denied that theconcert was a nightmare of poor publicity, poorticket sales and stubborn University bureaucrats.

In fact, almost any agreement at all wasstifled by finger-pointing from each side of theissue.

Rhew, only partially placated by the corporatesponsor money that went straight to the homeless,blamed Beys for the failure. Charging him with"incompetence," "negligence" and "injury of thecouncil's good name," Rhew said he would settlefor nothing less than Beys' resignation orimpeachment.

"I could easily just slip away and forget aboutthis," Rhew said. "But it's painful for me to seeall I've done slipped away and to see ourtreasurer tiptoeing around failures."

Beys, partially vindicated by the council'svote against the motion for his impeachment, wasmaking no apologies.

He said that Rhew should be put on trial. "Thisis the action of a sore loser," Beys said.

Beys also attacked Rhew's record as councilchair, noting that he failed to deliver alarge-scale concert--something Beys argues is anobligation.

"We have $50,000 left over from grants," Beyssaid. "That is not ethical to horde."

The fallout of large-scale concert failures isnot a new issue for the council. A 1989 SuzanneVega show lost $20,000 and a Ziggy Marleyperformance cost the council $15,000 in 1990.

But the De La Soul losses this year seemed tohurt the council more than past failures, causingmarked divisions and infighting.

Council Chair David A. Aaronberg '93 supportedBeys. Council member Daniel H. Tabak '92 agreed.Guhan Subramanian, former chair, supported Rhew.

For certain, there was no consensus on where toplace the blame. And if members expected Beys toregret his enthusiasm for the show, they thoughtwrong. Beys maintains that he cannot be heldaccountable for the concert because theresponsibility for the details of the show, likepublicity and ticket sales, was not his.

"As far as this pertains to the issue at hand,I got a name and a date [for De La Soul]," Beyssaid. "From then on, there was a committee.