By now, everyone on campus knows the fiasco that was UCONNIC this year, as Sean Kingston and Summer Walker, two of the three headliners of the music festival, did not perform. While Walker did not perform due to a last-minute weather-related cancellation, Kingston was cancelled by SUBOG due to his history with sexual assault. The cancellation came after several days of criticism and protests from students regarding the artist’s presence on campus, and the decision was announced last-minute, approximately 45 minutes before the event was slated to begin. Due to the last-minute nature of Kingston’s cancellation, SUBOG rightfully decided to refund every ticket sold to UCONNIC. However, with these costs, as well as the $44,000 owed to Sean Kingston and the $148,500 going to Lil Baby, the only UCONNIC headliner who performed, SUBOG has now lost nearly $200,000.
With these losses in mind, it is important to remember that earlier this year, the student body voted to approve an increase of student fees for SUBOG in order for more money to be allocated toward planning concerts put on by the organization. This fee increase may only be a one dollar increase per student per semester, but when totaled for all of the fee-paying students at UConn, it is a large increase to SUBOG’s budget per semester. In entrusting SUBOG with more of our money next year, we need to expect them to provide students with a higher-quality concert-going experience without the fear of artists being removed at the last second. It is time for SUBOG to put their money where their mouth is (literally) and provide UConn students with the concert experience they have promised us.
While the cancelling of Kingston was a good decision by SUBOG, and the subsequent fee needing to be paid to him is unavoidable, there are other decisions made by SUBOG that have students questioning their use of funds. In hiring Lil Baby, an artist that very few students were excited about (or even knew of) and paying him well over six figures to perform, student funds are not necessarily being used correctly. Many students would prefer that their money goes to an artist that they are interested in seeing, which often costs more money. However, with these increased student fees next year, hopefully SUBOG will be able to better take student opinions into account and book a UCONNIC artist that is appealing to students.
With SUBOG’s role of providing students with fun events and entertainment on campus, it is time they use their funds wisely. UCONNIC is an event that students look forward to all year, and the lackluster performance this year (and in years past) has disappointed and discouraged many. The budget we are providing SUBOG with for this event should be enough to pull off a great event next year, barring any last-minute complications, so let’s hope that they step up to the challenge.