SA reschedules spring concert, allocates additional funding for Charter Day weekend

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SA Vice President Samir Tawalare stands next to the speaker list, as senators debate rescheduling the spring concert. EMMA FORD / THE FLAT HAT

At the Dec. 4 meeting of the College of William and Mary Student Assembly, senators voted to reschedule the spring concert to move it back from Charter Day weekend. They also allocated additional funding to host an alternate event on Charter Day.

The original Spring Concert Act, passed Oct. 30, allocated $85,000 towards the annual concert. This bill also scheduled the concert for the weekend of Charter Day, in order to align it with the inauguration of College President Katherine Rowe and other events celebrating the 100th anniversary of coeducation. While in previous years, SA has held the concert Charter Day weekend, senators voted in 2016 to push it into March or April, to avoid conflict with the Grammy Awards.

This year, during the negotiation process for a headliner, a high-profile artist became a potential candidate. In order to secure this artist, SA would need to allocate additional funding. In response to this, Sen. Anthony Joseph ’21 and Sen. Brian Meyer ’17 M.Ed. ’19 introduced the Spring Concert Act Part Two at the Dec. 4 meeting.

“We don’t understand the impact that music has in bringing people together and getting out a message,” Joseph said. “Tentatively with the person we have who is coming to give this concert … this will give a huge message … there is a lot of importance when it comes to what music that you’re listening to.”

This new bill initially requested an additional $40,000 – intended to allocate $25,000 more to secure the headliner and $15,000 to host a replacement event for Charter Day weekend. The replacement event was specifically requested by College administrators including Vice President of Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06.

After discussion, the senate voted to amend the bill, so that total funding would be $30,000 instead of $45,000. Half of this amount will go to the headliner, and half will go to the Charger Day event. The amendment also changed the language of the bill, charging the College administration with matching the senate’s contribution to the Charter Day event.

In previous years, SA has allocated funding to acquire a high-profile comedian for Charter Day. At the Dec. 4 meeting, senators proposed bringing a comedian or having speakers that aligned with the theme of coeducation. No decisions had yet been made about the nature of the replacement event.

Had the senate voted no on the second Spring Concert Act, the event would have remained on Charter Day, and would have featured two lesser-known headliners that do not align with the theme of the 100th anniversary of coeducation.

“I’d rather spend more money to make a more meaningful event because though it’s just symbolic, it’s a big deal,” Sen. Kyle Vasquez ’21 said. “… The reality is, when big names come to campus, you have no idea how that puts us on the map. …The publicity that having big names come to campus gives to the school is literally insane, and the fact that we have that power is a lot.”

Class of 2021 President David DeMarco ’21 expressed concerns about funding the Charter Day event. DeMarco cited concern with assisting the administration with the payment of the Charter Day event because, according to him, the administration has often not assisted SA in funding when requested by the senate.

“I know that we are not the only ones with money on this campus and as I said before, we have asked them to fund things before that are more important than this and clearly they have the money, but they weren’t putting it out,” DeMarco said.

The senate voted through a simple majority yes to host the big headliner act later in the spring as well as the replacement Charter Day event.

“I think it is a better use of our money for who we are looking at and name recognition and being thematic and in terms of even attendance to spend about $100,000 from SA on [the new spring concert],” Meyer said.

Also at this week’s meeting:

  • Sponsored by Sen. Jack Bowden ’19, Sen. Margaret Lister ’21 and Senate Chair Ellie Thomas ’20, Student Assembly passed the Traffic & Pedestrian Campus Safety Resolution, which reaffirms the senate’s commitment to ensuring the safety of students walking on and near campus. The senate plans to take measures to install flashing beacons and lighting features and support the College’s efforts to build a sidewalk to connect the campus with New Town. This resolution will be followed up in the spring with at least three more bills, including one concerning traffic safety and two concerning campus safety.
  • Sponsored by Joseph, Senators unanimously voted to adopt their own version of Robert’s Rules of Order, a set of parliamentary procedures intended to increase conciseness within government, and also decided to have the SA vice president take on the role of parliamentarian, the individual who acts as an expert on Robert’s Rules.
  • Senators also unanimously passed the Martin Luther King Day Bill, sponsored by Sen. Anthony Joseph ’21, which will assist the Center for Student Diversity in funding a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event by providing the $5,000 speaker fee for journalist Roland Martin.
  • The senate voted to give a total of $15,000 (a $10,000 grant and $5,000 loan) to campus radio station WCWM 90.9 FM so that they can begin talks to potentially bring the artist Mitski to campus in March.