A Letter to the Editor: Ian Rollins ‘23
Despite contrary belief, Student Senate did not postpone National Act with Waka Flocka Flame to purposefully piss people off. There are several reasons as to why we felt it was necessary to postpone the event to next semester rather than proceed with our original plan, the night before Bell Game. I’d also like to add that my original announcement explained that while we hoped to schedule National Act for the night before Bell, the language of my announcement explicitly said we “were looking” to plan National Act on that date. We did not necessarily finalize the date within that original email. However, here are additional reasons explaining the decision to postpone.
Firstly, the “logistical issues” that we posed, in fact, were legitimate. Several members of the administration met with me prior to Fall Break to discuss this matter. Because we are hosting the Bell Game, the College needed to prioritize risk management and liability; more security personnel are needed than a typical Wabash football game and this created issues for us. There is only so much that we can do as students and effective risk-management for an artist like Waka Flocka, is not one of those areas. Thus, we needed to rely on the administration and Nick Gray to provide risk-management aspects such as extra security personnel, but I was told to proceed with caution because the administration would not be able to provide enough security to not breach Waka’s contract due to the Bell Game situation.
Additionally, Waka required 3 rental vehicles, 2016 or newer, and this would have been difficult to meet given the shortage of rental vehicles in the nation and especially Crawfordsville. In his “rider”, the specific requests within his contract, Waka asked for very specific staging, barriers, lighting, and a tunnel that connected him to his “private dressing room with a bathroom” to the stage without allowing students to see him until he got on stage. We did not realize the extent of his rider until 4 weeks into the planning process and at that point, it would have added a tremendous cost to an already expensive event.
Given the timing of the event, if we stuck with the original date, we would have had to pray that the weather cooperated. We did not have any access to a rain location if the Mall did not work out and this would have forced us to by extensive tenting, even if it ended up not raining. This alone could have cost Student Senate and the students an additional 25,000. Not to mention, we would have risked Waka showing up for 5 minutes, getting too cold, and bailing.
There have been sentiments going around campus that this decision was BS, that Student Leaders do not know what they are doing, that we purposefully cancelled National Act, that the administration does not want us to have any fun at this College. I would heavily push back on most, if not all, of these sentiments. The administration really did not force us to make any decision. They simply wanted us to think critically about the implications that would arise if we ended up pursuing the night before Monon. The decision was made after group discussion within Senate leaders as I explained to them that I would rather organize a well-planned, administration-supported, and weather-independent National Act to ensure that students can enjoy themselves knowing that National Act did not kill our entire budget and that the weather will be nicer. If people want to push back and claim that the weather did not matter because it was the night before Bell Game, so be it.
The administration members who helped at the start of the planning process are not responsible for the cancellation of a night before Bell Game National Act, I’ll own up to that responsibility. They simply helped me, and other members of Senate realize the nature of the obstacles that we would face if we attempted to pursue the night before Monon. Granted, we were not told about the logistical problems (lack of risk-management, security personnel) until we had already talked with Waka’s team (4 weeks’ worth of work and planning). However, I would not attribute this to anyone within the administration. The reason that we were not able to efficiently plan out National Act for this semester stems from a larger issue within Senate. I did not have the power to begin working on National Act until President Bass was inducted into Senate. Having no ability or time to put in work or plan-out a National Act for the Fall semester due to budget and policy limitations, leaves Senate leaders in a tight spot during the Fall semester and thus the reason that it many individuals feel like “there’s nothing to do on campus.”
Take my opinion however you want or come talk to me if you have serious problems about the decision. And for the record, the money that was allocated to fund National Act is not “gone.” It will simply rollover to next semester as we are looking to plan National Act sometime in April around Pan Hel.