Students, UCAB strive for harmony
February 12, 2008
Despite UCAB’s quest for musical diversity, the event-planning organization has been receiving a focused stream of criticism on Facebook.
p. Feedback exploded, seemingly overnight, on the wall for a Facebook event promoting the Charter Day concert featuring local band Mae. The vast majority of that feedback was negative, some of which bordered on vitriolic.
p. According to music committee member Emily Sherbin ’09, however, the negative feedback isn’t abnormal.
p. “We always get negative feedback, regardless of who the band is,” she said. “The amount for Mae has been pretty much on par with most other groups we’ve had, it’s just that this has been more public.”
p. Sherbin said that UCAB has been looking into how to use Facebook as a resource. To achieve this, Sherbin created a Facebook group called “UCAB Music Feedback” for the sole purpose of collecting comments for the UCAB music committee.
p. “We’ve always had a feedback site for UCAB — called Love It? Hate It? Rate It! — to get student opinions on events,” she said. “But a lot of feedback has been popping up on Facebook, so we made the group so we can get suggestions and answer questions directly.”
p. Despite these efforts, students’ comments seem to indicate that they are not happy with UCAB’s attempts.
p. Of course, the music committee members know they cannot please every student with every show. They’ve seen their fair share of comments that read succinctly: “Fuck Mae.”
p. “We do make an effort to listen to students’ comments,” Sherbin said. “We look into pretty much every band that people suggest, and the comments have been a great resource for events we are planning like the Fridays @ 5 series.”
p. Yet, some students who have posted on the Mae event page are still skeptical as to how receptive UCAB really is.
p. “I’m not trying to endorse one person’s music over another,” Sewon Chung ’10 said. “I’d just like to see UCAB work with students more to find good bands.”
p. Other students are concerned with the fact that the committee has admitted to deleting comments from the Facebook event page. An administrator of the group deleted at least two posts because they were deemed unconstructive.
p. “That just sends a bad message,” Claire White ’08 said. “Is there no way to talk about it without it turning into a fight?”
Unlike some students on the Facebook page, Chung and White posted several comments that sought a middle ground.
p. “It’s important to make positive changes instead of putting people down,” Chung said. She listed several bands that she thought fit the preferences of the College and also called for an open forum to help UCAB gather ideas.
p. White also liked the idea of a public survey to generate ideas. “Then, if people don’t get involved, that’s their fault,” she said.
It seems clear that the criticism will never go away. Both UCAB Music Committee Chair Jeanna Occhiogrosso and Sherbin maintain that they will continue to take constructive criticism seriously. Needless to say, when UCAB announces its choice for the spring concert, there will be more naysayers.
p. Assistant Director of Student Activities Programming Joe Lowder posted on the Mae event site that UCAB had been in contact with The Decemberists. According to Occhiogrosso, the band recently turned down the opportunity because the members weren’t sure they’d be touring in the spring.
p. “We’re really disappointed,” Occhiogrosso said, “but we want the campus to realize that this is the kind of thing that routinely happens to us as we work through the process of planning a show.”
p. Meanwhile, the music committee continues its quest for diversity, trying to gain support along the way.
p. “The name of the game is diversity,” Occhiogrosso said. “We’re not a hip-hop booking agency, we’re not an indie booking agency, we’re not a rock booking agency. We really try to satisfy different tastes on campus.”
p. But most students want to avoid mediocrity for the sake of diversity.
p. “It’s a shame,” White said. “I know we’re not a huge school, but I feel like the kinds of bands that we’re getting lately aren’t the types of bands that we should be getting.”