Sound Co-op cancels its events for the semester

This is its letter to the student body in full:

In light of the decisions made by Scott Backer and the SJB, and the subsequent appeal that was denied by Michael Roth (read here: wesleying.blogspot.com/2009/03/sjb-shuts-down-all-eclectic-events-for.html), I have decided that the Wesleyan Sound Cooperative will cease functioning as of Sunday March 29th until the Eclectic event-hosting ban is repealed or a satisfactory settlement is made between the school and the Society allowing for access to the venue. This means that all events currently scheduled are considered canceled until further notice. Shows this week (23rd – 28th) will still be happening, as there is obviously not enough time for organizers to plan around the shutdown. If you currently have a show planned later than this week, you will or already have received an email from a WSC member. Please do not contact me or any other co-op members regarding this decision, as there will be no special exceptions made and no questions to be answered except, ‘has the school overturned the decision?’ As soon as the answer to this question is ‘yes,’ the cooperative will run again as usual. We are still taking event requests on our website (wesleyan.edu/wsa/wsc) in the hopes that this situation is resolved quickly. If you are disappointed or concerned by the turn of events, I ask that you politely email either Scott Backer (sbacker01@wes) or Michael Roth (mroth@wes) to explain how the shutdown affects you and ask that they reconsider their actions so that an amplified and vibrant campus culture may continue at Wesleyan.

Members of the Eclectic Society founded the sound cooperative almost 20 years ago in order to facilitate musical events that would otherwise be impossible to fund using professional audio companies. The co-op allows anyone who is interested the opportunity to learn life long skills in technical audio production and event planning. As a result of its creation, and in spite of the fact that to this day Wesleyan refuses to create a viable administration-organized free event space, the Sound Co-op saves Wesleyan students somewhere on the order of $30,000 – 60,000 a year in professional audio service fees. This allows for many more events to be funded, which in turn means that the co-op runs slightly over one hundred shows every year. By this count, I have organized sound for over 300 shows during my time here at Wesleyan and am fortunate to have many talented people transitioning into control as I will be graduating this semester. The co-op has expanded during my tenure to include many events not related to live music, which I see as a great development.

Unfortunately, the decision rendered by Scott Backer and the SJB aims to discriminate between where and what type of event is allowable on campus, thus dictating the realms of campus culture. I personally find this detestable and am of the opinion that the full ramifications of the punishment levied have not been thoroughly considered. The shutdown of the co-op aims to help rectify this oversight.

I am basing my decision around the argument that if the Wesleyan administration wants to define campus culture and what is or is not allowable based on how ‘problematic’ or how much of a ‘liability’ they perceive an event to be for them then it is folly to have a student-run and student-funded business continue to facilitate a culture we ourselves are not in control of. The ethos of the co-op is one of absolute indiscrimination, as long as we have the equipment and someone signs up to work, we will work an event. Despite the fact that the shutdown will result in lost wages for co-op workers including myself, I feel that this is the only acceptably principled response to an unprincipled and poorly considered punishment.

Historically, the administration has been happy to allow students to organize and pay for their own shows and events because student-run and student-funded events increase Wesleyan’s social capital at essentially no cost to the school. Utilizing the WSA, SBC, and SALD for assistance allows for an incredible number of student-run events to take place every week. However, with the Eclectic shutdown, the administration is asserting that they do indeed have a say in how student funds are to be distributed and thus what events may or may not take place on campus. Eclectic is the only free student-run venue on campus that has a seating capacity of over 100. Therefore, unless the SBC has the funds to pay for pro audio services at other venues, I will consider the school to be the party responsible for funding and organizing sound services for student events. I do not report to any school administrator, I help run a club funded by the SBC in order to make campus life more exciting and vibrant. The co-op works in direct service to the student body but will not be coerced into accepting fluxuating social ethics determined ad hoc by the administration.

I’m sure you can surmise that the school has neither the resources nor the desire to take up the slack left over by the co-op (except perhaps regarding WesFest), so I will preemptively make the assertion that it is now YOUR job to organize and fund sound services for events you would like to have or plan to have on campus. Again, please understand that I am not doing this to punish the student body, but instead to force those who utilize the co-op and those that directly benefit from it’s existence to make their displeasure known to the administration. I know this decision will be incredibly unpopular but I ask that you fully reflect on the historical and ongoing relationship the co-op has to events held at Eclectic and consider this a sign of solidarity and not a dismissal of individual student groups or events. Regardless of your personal opinions concerning the Eclectic Society or the events held there, I urge you to consider that the series of decisions made by the administration are of a discriminatory nature regarding what types of events the school implicitly condones. The fact that the administration is now trying to dictate how students should spend their own money is nothing short of insulting. The more you make your displeasure known to administrators, the faster we can move on from this terrible decision and get back to having great amplified events across campus.

Sincerely,
Yale Yng-Wong ’09, President of the Wesleyan Sound Cooperative,
Amanda Contrada ‘10, Co-President of the Wesleyan Sound Cooperative, and Max Krafft ’09, Ben Bernstein ‘10, Tom Brewer ‘12, Adam Gunther ‘11, Bill Kirstein ‘10, Sam Long ‘12, Mary Longley ‘10, Sam Lyons ‘12, Dana Matthiessen ‘09, Howe Pearson ‘12, Jeff Rovinelli ‘10, Fareed Sajan ‘09, and Harrison Schaaf ‘11

140 thoughts on “Sound Co-op cancels its events for the semester

  1. Anonymous

    From this message: I understand that the administration did get involved (Roth apparently denied an appeal). But I am suspicious of the author’s claim that the administration is trying to control the social scene. As it was pointed out repeatedly when this whole affair started, the SJB issues the stop-order on events at Eclectic. Some clarification? I agree with 11:09 – a couple of passionate diatribes from Eclectic members or stand-ins does not count as transparent disclosure. The details of the ban have not been made fully public, nor has the probably very long list of previous offenses by Eclectic. No one actually believes that the ban was in response to a single noise violation! Now, the sound co-op, still without giving us precise and reliable information on the issue, asks us to blindly support the cause (in fact they don’t ask, they demand).. I think we all understand that the ban is very bad news for student partying, because Eclectic has been a constant of the Wesleyan social scene, but I personally think we cannot support an opposition movement if we are not given the correct information. Let me also venture a possibility: who knows what the social scene at Wesleyan could become if Eclectic was taken out of the picture, for some time at least? – who knows what other venues might step up their game and become a new hot spot? Maybe Eclectic seems so indispensable because it has become so huge a venue – take the elephant down, and it’s bound to be replaced sooner or later (perhaps by a slightly smaller animal, but that is not necessarily a bad thing). Eclectic does not have the monopoly on fun, nor should it necessarily have a preferred status as a fun venue. By shutting down the Sound co-op, its members are ignoring that possibility, and punishing the entire student body – most notably, as pointed out above, by creating a two-tiered model according to which those who can afford it get to perform, and those who can’t simply don’t.If we are to support Eclectic, and the sound co-op, (truly, I want to) we need to hear/read the full story. The responsibility does not necessarily only fall on the students – maybe a RothBlog post or a statement from the SJB would help too (I understand the confidentiality issues, but they at least could acknowledge what is happening). But we need information, and we cannot simply be coerced into giving our support just because we are asked to, even less just because we are asked to by the very people who are most directly affected (no, I don’t buy the Eclectic/Sound co-op separation)

  2. Anonymous

    From this message: I understand that the administration did get involved (Roth apparently denied an appeal). But I am suspicious of the author’s claim that the administration is trying to control the social scene. As it was pointed out repeatedly when this whole affair started, the SJB issues the stop-order on events at Eclectic. Some clarification? I agree with 11:09 – a couple of passionate diatribes from Eclectic members or stand-ins does not count as transparent disclosure. The details of the ban have not been made fully public, nor has the probably very long list of previous offenses by Eclectic. No one actually believes that the ban was in response to a single noise violation!
    Now, the sound co-op, still without giving us precise and reliable information on the issue, asks us to blindly support the cause (in fact they don’t ask, they demand).. I think we all understand that the ban is very bad news for student partying, because Eclectic has been a constant of the Wesleyan social scene, but I personally think we cannot support an opposition movement if we are not given the correct information. Let me also venture a possibility: who knows what the social scene at Wesleyan could become if Eclectic was taken out of the picture, for some time at least? – who knows what other venues might step up their game and become a new hot spot? Maybe Eclectic seems so indispensable because it has become so huge a venue – take the elephant down, and it’s bound to be replaced sooner or later (perhaps by a slightly smaller animal, but that is not necessarily a bad thing). Eclectic does not have the monopoly on fun, nor should it necessarily have a preferred status as a fun venue. By shutting down the Sound co-op, its members are ignoring that possibility, and punishing the entire student body – most notably, as pointed out above, by creating a two-tiered model according to which those who can afford it get to perform, and those who can’t simply don’t.
    If we are to support Eclectic, and the sound co-op, (truly, I want to) we need to hear/read the full story. The responsibility does not necessarily only fall on the students – maybe a RothBlog post or a statement from the SJB would help too (I understand the confidentiality issues, but they at least could acknowledge what is happening). But we need information, and we cannot simply be coerced into giving our support just because we are asked to, even less just because we are asked to by the very people who are most directly affected (no, I don’t buy the Eclectic/Sound co-op separation)

  3. Anonymous

    YOU ARE PUTTING PEOPLE”S THESIS AND THEIR WESLEYAN CAREERS ON THE LINE. THIS IS RIDICULOUS.this needs to be said AGAIN.

  4. Anonymous

    YOU ARE PUTTING PEOPLE”S THESIS AND THEIR WESLEYAN CAREERS ON THE LINE. THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

    this needs to be said AGAIN.

  5. Ian

    “Please direct your anger and hostility at the administration. It is their decision that warrants unrest.”Except since we know little-to-nothing of the real situation, it’s hard for students to really fairly side with Eclectic. Let’s put some credit where credit’s due: Eclectic’s handling of this entire situation has been piss-poor. Your “completely transparent outline” should have been available 3 weeks ago, not now. I know personally my reaction is to be upset about the administration’s decision, but canceling all events is serious enough that my only conclusion can be that there must be more to the story. Give us the facts, and then after we know everything you can complain about our responses.

  6. Ian

    “Please direct your anger and hostility at the administration. It is their decision that warrants unrest.”

    Except since we know little-to-nothing of the real situation, it’s hard for students to really fairly side with Eclectic. Let’s put some credit where credit’s due: Eclectic’s handling of this entire situation has been piss-poor. Your “completely transparent outline” should have been available 3 weeks ago, not now. I know personally my reaction is to be upset about the administration’s decision, but canceling all events is serious enough that my only conclusion can be that there must be more to the story. Give us the facts, and then after we know everything you can complain about our responses.

  7. Anonymous

    Is the equipment owned by Eclectic? Yale’s letter directly states the SBC funds the co-op. All in all, this decision will only alienate Eclectic from potential supporters. Considering their whole argument is, “Eclectic provides a music venue for everyone” it seems a little idiotic to “force” people to, essentially, whine to the administration at the cost of the student body coming together as one. I think it was a mistake to turn the argument from Student Body V. Eclectic Ban to Those effected by Sound co-op closure V. Sound Co-op/Eclectic

  8. Anonymous

    Is the equipment owned by Eclectic? Yale’s letter directly states the SBC funds the co-op. All in all, this decision will only alienate Eclectic from potential supporters. Considering their whole argument is, “Eclectic provides a music venue for everyone” it seems a little idiotic to “force” people to, essentially, whine to the administration at the cost of the student body coming together as one. I think it was a mistake to turn the argument from Student Body V. Eclectic Ban to Those effected by Sound co-op closure V. Sound Co-op/Eclectic

  9. Anonymous

    Eclectic will be issuing a statement today regarding the situation that will outline exactly what charges were brought against us and how we handle them. It should have been sent out before the Sound Co-Op statement but it didn’t because we are student, too, and sometimes mistakes happen. We will also be releasing a timeline of events building up to the ban so that there is total transparency. We could not do so before because it was an SJB hearing after all. Please wait for our statement before you use this blog as a sounding board for an Eclectic witch hunt. The facts are forthcoming in a well-written articulate fashion. Sound Co-op made this decision largely free of Eclectic and, frankly, since its conception in 1991 by Eclectic, Sound Co-op is a student group that has always been composed of largely Eclectic members. As you might take the time to notice, although largely composed of Eclectic members, Sound Co-Op also consists of five non-Eclectic members who agreed unanimously to go ahead with this action. Please direct your anger and hostility at the administration. It is their decision that warrants unrest. To quote Yale, “Regardless of your personal opinions concerning the Eclectic Society or the events held there, I urge you to consider that the series of decisions made by the administration are of a discriminatory nature regarding what types of events the school implicitly condones. The fact that the administration is now trying to dictate how students should spend their own money is nothing short of insulting. The more you make your displeasure known to administrators, the faster we can move on from this terrible decision and get back to having great amplified events across campus.”You want a campus climate where students have a voice and can engage directly with the administration? Well, Eclectic is trying to get us there. Protesting takes sacrifice and, yes, makes people’s lives harder. That’s entirely the point. Perhaps, it might be worth noting how much of an effect Eclectic and its members have on this campus. Sound Co-op is not a right, it’s a student group that provides an invaluable service to this school, much like Eclectic. 70% of events scheduled from now until the end of the year are scheduled at Eclectic. Doesn’t that make you furious? Please, organize to overturn this ban. Sara’o Bery ’09

  10. Anonymous

    Eclectic will be issuing a statement today regarding the situation that will outline exactly what charges were brought against us and how we handle them. It should have been sent out before the Sound Co-Op statement but it didn’t because we are student, too, and sometimes mistakes happen. We will also be releasing a timeline of events building up to the ban so that there is total transparency. We could not do so before because it was an SJB hearing after all. Please wait for our statement before you use this blog as a sounding board for an Eclectic witch hunt. The facts are forthcoming in a well-written articulate fashion.

    Sound Co-op made this decision largely free of Eclectic and, frankly, since its conception in 1991 by Eclectic, Sound Co-op is a student group that has always been composed of largely Eclectic members. As you might take the time to notice, although largely composed of Eclectic members, Sound Co-Op also consists of five non-Eclectic members who agreed unanimously to go ahead with this action.

    Please direct your anger and hostility at the administration. It is their decision that warrants unrest. To quote Yale, “Regardless of your personal opinions concerning the Eclectic Society or the events held there, I urge you to consider that the series of decisions made by the administration are of a discriminatory nature regarding what types of events the school implicitly condones. The fact that the administration is now trying to dictate how students should spend their own money is nothing short of insulting. The more you make your displeasure known to administrators, the faster we can move on from this terrible decision and get back to having great amplified events across campus.”

    You want a campus climate where students have a voice and can engage directly with the administration? Well, Eclectic is trying to get us there. Protesting takes sacrifice and, yes, makes people’s lives harder. That’s entirely the point. Perhaps, it might be worth noting how much of an effect Eclectic and its members have on this campus. Sound Co-op is not a right, it’s a student group that provides an invaluable service to this school, much like Eclectic. 70% of events scheduled from now until the end of the year are scheduled at Eclectic. Doesn’t that make you furious?

    Please, organize to overturn this ban.
    Sara’o Bery ’09

  11. Anonymous

    all of the equipment belongs to eclectic. its a leveraging tool. don’t like being “held hostage” by eclectic? figure out how to buy all of your own high end sound equipment over the next 20 years, and you can put on a really great show when you’re 40.

  12. Anonymous

    all of the equipment belongs to eclectic. its a leveraging tool. don’t like being “held hostage” by eclectic? figure out how to buy all of your own high end sound equipment over the next 20 years, and you can put on a really great show when you’re 40.

  13. Anonymous

    Whatever happened to Eclectic’s “oh we’re preparing a statement about what happened”? Why can’t the student body be told what’s going on here?

  14. Anonymous

    Whatever happened to Eclectic’s “oh we’re preparing a statement about what happened”? Why can’t the student body be told what’s going on here?

  15. Anonymous

    Events are still happening, only quietly. Very quietly. Sound co-op didn’t shut down events, they just took away the sound.

  16. Anonymous

    Events are still happening, only quietly. Very quietly. Sound co-op didn’t shut down events, they just took away the sound.

  17. Anonymous

    Word on 10:30. This move has actually made me a lot less sympathetic towards Eclectic. Maybe I would feel differently if the co-op were all non-Eclectic members, but this seems like Eclectic is trying to FORCE us to support them, without even having given us the full story. And that rubs me (someone who formerly did support them), the wrong way.

  18. Anonymous

    Word on 10:30. This move has actually made me a lot less sympathetic towards Eclectic. Maybe I would feel differently if the co-op were all non-Eclectic members, but this seems like Eclectic is trying to FORCE us to support them, without even having given us the full story. And that rubs me (someone who formerly did support them), the wrong way.

  19. Anonymous

    this isn’t exactly friendly, but it’s a good way to get shit did. props to eclectic for being willing to force the issueue.(also, 10:24, the equipment might be Wesleyan property, but the labor to operate it isn’t)

  20. Anonymous

    this isn’t exactly friendly, but it’s a good way to get shit did. props to eclectic for being willing to force the issueue.

    (also, 10:24, the equipment might be Wesleyan property, but the labor to operate it isn’t)

  21. Anonymous

    eclectic just fucking die already, we’re tired of this bullshit and you’re not that cool.

  22. Anonymous

    eclectic just fucking die already, we’re tired of this bullshit and you’re not that cool.

  23. Anonymous

    Isn’t the sound co-op’s equipment university property? What right do they have to withhold university-funded equipment from the rest of the student body? Not a rhetorical question, I’m actually askin.

  24. Anonymous

    Isn’t the sound co-op’s equipment university property? What right do they have to withhold university-funded equipment from the rest of the student body? Not a rhetorical question, I’m actually askin.

  25. Anonymous

    and Eclectic STILL hasnt come clean about why they were punished. yes, there was the noise complaint, but that was just the icing on the cake.what is Eclectic hiding? why were they punished so harshly? and no, it’s not some conspiracy theory involving Scott Backer and Michael Roth and any Williams-and-Amherst-izing… Eclectic did something(s) to warrant this punishment, and the campus deserves to know what.come clean eclectic, for the sake of Wesleyan

  26. Anonymous

    and Eclectic STILL hasnt come clean about why they were punished. yes, there was the noise complaint, but that was just the icing on the cake.

    what is Eclectic hiding? why were they punished so harshly? and no, it’s not some conspiracy theory involving Scott Backer and Michael Roth and any Williams-and-Amherst-izing… Eclectic did something(s) to warrant this punishment, and the campus deserves to know what.

    come clean eclectic, for the sake of Wesleyan

  27. Anonymous

    I support the sound co-op and eclectic. This is definitely getting our attention. I am a musician who has benefited from the timely and accurate service of the sound co-op several times, and never considered their inherent connection to eclectic until now. I hope the eclectic ban is overturned, because we need the independent music culture, both on the group and individual levels.

  28. Anonymous

    I support the sound co-op and eclectic. This is definitely getting our attention. I am a musician who has benefited from the timely and accurate service of the sound co-op several times, and never considered their inherent connection to eclectic until now. I hope the eclectic ban is overturned, because we need the independent music culture, both on the group and individual levels.

  29. Anonymous

    don’t like it? email michael roth and scott backer, the two who have made really poor decisions to lead up to this decision. this is something students need to rally around. we cannot let the administration just casually dole out unwarranted punishments that are this harsh and let them get away with it. it sets a really terrible precedent in regards to what might happen in the coming years. fight the man.

  30. Anonymous

    don’t like it? email michael roth and scott backer, the two who have made really poor decisions to lead up to this decision. this is something students need to rally around. we cannot let the administration just casually dole out unwarranted punishments that are this harsh and let them get away with it. it sets a really terrible precedent in regards to what might happen in the coming years. fight the man.

  31. Anonymous

    YOU ARE PUTTING PEOPLE”S THESIS AND THEIR WESLEYAN CAREERS ON THE LINE. THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

  32. Anonymous

    YOU ARE PUTTING PEOPLE”S THESIS AND THEIR WESLEYAN CAREERS ON THE LINE. THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

  33. Anonymous

    This administration is clearly in the wrong regarding the eclectic controversy. I think that most students believe that, and are in agreement that this is an unfair move made by our school.Regardless, what you are doing, Max and Yale, I believe to be equally harmful to the student body and music culture at Wesleyan as a whole. You are effectively shutting down the music scene at Wesleyan. Without sound co-op functioning, WesBands will essentially be paralyzed. This decision privileges those bands who have the economic resources to afford their own sound equipment or hire an outside service. It weeds out up and coming bands from our music community, who do not have the resources to otherwise fund their ability to play. You are hence enforcing an inherent classism in the music community here.I am a member of a band at Wes (who has in the past played eclectic as well), and though I am disappointed that we will most likely have to cancel shows because of this decision, that is not what most frustrates me about this move. I stand in solidarity with those protesting the eclectic band, just like you. But eclectic is not the only place where music happens on campus. To shut down all other music venue’s ability to provide music, you are handicapping every member of the Wesleyan student body, in their right to enjoy live music by their peers and by some visiting acts.I know that both of you, Max and Yale, are members of eclectic, so this ban hits you particularly hard. But I would ask both of you to look past that and see that we, Wesleyan, need you to be the conduit for our budding musical community. It is selfish to keep this amazing tool, sound co-op, to yourself by using it to forward your personal agenda against the administrations decision.I urge you to please, please reconsider this harmful decision. It does nothing but cause more spite and frustration within the musical community, as well as the student body at large.Thank you for all the time and energy you have put into sound co-op. You have made such a great contribution to this community through your involvement. Please don’t ruin it now.

  34. Anonymous

    This administration is clearly in the wrong regarding the eclectic controversy. I think that most students believe that, and are in agreement that this is an unfair move made by our school.

    Regardless, what you are doing, Max and Yale, I believe to be equally harmful to the student body and music culture at Wesleyan as a whole. You are effectively shutting down the music scene at Wesleyan. Without sound co-op functioning, WesBands will essentially be paralyzed.

    This decision privileges those bands who have the economic resources to afford their own sound equipment or hire an outside service. It weeds out up and coming bands from our music community, who do not have the resources to otherwise fund their ability to play. You are hence enforcing an inherent classism in the music community here.

    I am a member of a band at Wes (who has in the past played eclectic as well), and though I am disappointed that we will most likely have to cancel shows because of this decision, that is not what most frustrates me about this move. I stand in solidarity with those protesting the eclectic band, just like you. But eclectic is not the only place where music happens on campus. To shut down all other music venue’s ability to provide music, you are handicapping every member of the Wesleyan student body, in their right to enjoy live music by their peers and by some visiting acts.

    I know that both of you, Max and Yale, are members of eclectic, so this ban hits you particularly hard. But I would ask both of you to look past that and see that we, Wesleyan, need you to be the conduit for our budding musical community. It is selfish to keep this amazing tool, sound co-op, to yourself by using it to forward your personal agenda against the administrations decision.

    I urge you to please, please reconsider this harmful decision. It does nothing but cause more spite and frustration within the musical community, as well as the student body at large.

    Thank you for all the time and energy you have put into sound co-op. You have made such a great contribution to this community through your involvement. Please don’t ruin it now.

  35. Anonymous

    despite your well worded arguments, this is still a punishment to students. There are other venues. Yes, they can’t house as many people, but there can still be events. Now you are making it much harder for events to occur, which I think sucks. there is more to the eclectic situation than the campus has been told and this push back isn’t going to fix it.

  36. Anonymous

    despite your well worded arguments, this is still a punishment to students. There are other venues. Yes, they can’t house as many people, but there can still be events. Now you are making it much harder for events to occur, which I think sucks.

    there is more to the eclectic situation than the campus has been told and this push back isn’t going to fix it.

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