Who Killed Spring Fling’s Vibe?

The title of this post is not meant rhetorically. It’s a serious question: who killed Spring Fling’s vibe?

Was it the student attendees, some inebriated and inconsiderate, who jumped over the barrier when the floor of the rink was at capacity and allegedly behaved drunkenly and belligerently when asked to back up? (“Some students ought to be ashamed of themselves,” observed a witness who asked to remain anonymous.) Was it the massive security detail (Public Safety and CSC) who guarded every nook and cranny with the graveness of airport TSA agents and reportedly physically abused one student and verbally harassed another? Was it the organizers (Spring Fling Committee or otherwise) who neglected to inform students in advance that they would be turned away if they arrived late, even while other students were visibly exiting, and flipped on the lights shortly before Ab-Soul’s set, possibly to punish students for failing to obey orders that were largely unintelligible over the ice rink’s cavernous din? Or was it the fucking weather, or maybe Spurrier-Snyder Rink itself, which has never seemed like a less suitable venue for a free, unticketed performance by one of the fastest rising rappers in the world in 2013? At least it wasn’t Kendrick Lamar, who, despite subpar conditions and acoustics better suited to a high school gym, performed “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Money Trees,” and other highlights from Good Kid, M.A.A.D City with admirable energy and charisma, wooing throngs of adoring fans who knew precisely how to yell out “Drank!” or “Ya bish!” on cue and reportedly popping over to Warren after the show, decked out in a Wes sweatshirt.

Described by A-Batte as “an interesting sociological experiment” and by Samira as “sort of like a middle school dance when they turn the lights on because too many kids are grinding,” this was an interesting Spring Fling. But despite a great lineup, it probably wasn’t an altogether successful one.

This post will attempt to figure out why. It probably won’t succeed.

* * *

The Entrance

The event began at the entrance to Freeman, where students were asked to separate along gender binary lines and present their WesIDs before a quick security pat-down. (One student ahead of me was asked to recite his ID number, because his hairstyle was slightly different than the one pictured on his WesID.) The entrance was reminiscent of 2011’s infamous Matisyahu show. “We understand that some students may not feel that one of the two most common gender pronouns may apply to them,” announced an all-campus email on April 11, 2011, “but we ask that those students choose to enter whichever line they feel most comfortable in.” This time, no such announcement was sent out.

Later I learned that at least two students skipped Spring Fling altogether because of the nature of the entrance.

“Being trans*, part of what made me skip Spring Fling was the picture my friend sent me of the entrance to Freeman,” Ashe Kilbourne ’14 explained over Facebook chat. “Generally, I’d say this kind of highly public segregation is potentially humiliating for trans* people, and the gatekeepers involved rarely have any sensitivity to what they’re doing/policing. I heard upon granting entrance to a male and his female guest, a security guard told the guest to ‘give him a big kiss when you get inside.’ This seems exemplary of the entitlement people in gender policing positions feel to insert their rude shit into your life.”

Kilbourne mentioned that they weren’t the only trans* person who opted not to go inside for this reason.

“The offer to ‘choose the line you prefer’ only gives the illusion of security,” Kilbourne said. “Trans* folks may prefer one gendered space over another, but they are almost guaranteed harassment or incredulous looks if they follow their preference and don’t have passing privilege.”

The Venue Capacity

Not long after I entered Freeman around 3:00, during Ryan Hemsworth’s set, I began receiving texts from friends who were denied entry altogether.

“They’re shutting 100s of ppl out of springflung [sic], employee says ‘we are not letting anyone else in,’ even as ppl leave,” Ben Soloway ’13 texted me at 3:46. “Wtf is going on in there.” Wesleying photographer goatmilk was similarly denied entry, hence the lack of decent photography in this post.

Not that it’s a surprise that the ice rink’s capacity can’t accommodate the entire student body, or that Kendrick Lamar drew a crowd nearly twice as big as last year’s lineup. Glancing at dozens of empty bleachers and a handful of students exiting the show altogether, I realized that this sort of thing was probably governed by a legal capacity, or maybe the whim of the fire marshal. But I was surprised that the venue’s limited capacity hadn’t been made clear to students in advance or included anywhere in the housekeeping email that was sent out on Wednesday. Was it really a shock that scores of latecomers would show up around 4:00, planning to skip the openers and only catch Kendrick? Naïve or not, they weren’t expecting to be turned away.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that Wesleyan doesn’t have a better way to throw an all-campus event indoors,” commented Will Feinstein ’13, who co-chairs Spring Fling Committee with Dylan Bostick ’13. “Kendrick Lamar understandably drew a much larger crowd than last year’s acts, so there were capacity problems that we never encountered last year. Ideally, every student should be able to attend the event, but with the rain Wesleyan really has no way to accommodate everyone.”

According to Feinstein, the tent that’s usually used for the Tent Party before Commencement is too expensive to be a viable option.

“This sucks,” he added, “and I wish that everyone were able to enjoy or experience the show in the same way.”

Photo by Eric Lopez '15.

Photo by Eric Lopez ’15.

The Floor Capacity 

Then there was the issue of the capacity on the floor of the venue itself, which was capped at 1,300 people. Latecomers, who arrived earlier enough to get in, were fated to watch the performance seated on the far bleachers, from which the beats were a reverberating echo and Ab-Soul’s figure a distant shape. Every two minutes or so, someone would try their luck jumping over the barrier, daring security guards to put up a chase.

“I completely understand the temptation to jump the barrier to get onto the floor, but the fact that so many people did this put the floor at 200 people over capacity by 3:00 p.m.,” complained Feinstein. “The fire marshal could shut down the event at any point with this capacity breached so egregiously, so unfortunately when people left the floor, it didn’t mean that more people could enter. We were already operating way over capacity.”

Others pointed out that there was tons of empty space on the rink itself:

“Some people failed to understand that just because there is some physical space on the rink, it does not mean that more people can fit and maintain a safe situation,” Feintein explained to me. “I know a lot of people were thinking ‘One more person won’t be a problem,’ but the problem was that everyone in the stands was thinking that same thing.”

“If I were up in the stands, I absolutely would have been clamoring to be on the floor,” Feinstein added. “But you have to remember that some people did not even get into the venue.”

But were security guards overzealous in enforcing this policy?

“I saw a CSC security guy yank a girl by her hair when she went over the barrier onto the rink,” Samantha Maldonado ’13 said. “That was totally uncalled for and inappropriate. Maybe the security guard was power-tripping or frustrated with all the kids hopping the barrier, but pulling someone by the hair crosses the line.”

If you managed to make into the floor at all, there were more problems to be found—like the lack of accessible bathrooms and the dwindling water supply:

“Logistically, there were mistakes,” admitted Eric Lopez ’15, another member of Spring Fling Committee. “The inability to move between the rink to the bathrooms was a mistake. Not having enough water was a mistake. Not enough security was a mistake, as well. There were things that I and the Committee could have planned and carried out more efficiently, but in no way does that enable a mob of people to take advantage of what many called a ‘privilege.'”

Lopez tried to solve the bathroom crisis by “allowing people to flow in and out on my end of the rink, but even then students offended and yelled at people who were only looking to keep the area safe.” Lopez was also the one who asked SALD’s Elisa Cardona to turn the lights on around 3:15.

“I did not know that the lights would not come back off. Elisa asked for the lights to come back down now that people had settled, but no one wanted to take the risk anymore,” Lopez said. “The trust was broken and it was shocking to know that.” The lights remained on for the rest of the show, and Cardona took the mic to ask students to move back and stop jumping the barricade:

From my perspective up on the bleachers, the echoes in the rink were far too heavy to catch what Cardona was saying (I assumed she was asking people in the bleachers to sit down, but then Lopez praised those in the stands who “understood what was going and still danced to their heart’s content”), but the frustration on all sides was palpable. According to one witness who watched from a much closer vantage point, Cardona, as well as a Spring Fling Committee member who also took the mic, was met with swears, “people screaming and throwing shit,” and “middle fingers from like over 100 people.”

Student Behavior

The most disturbing reports of student misconduct during Spring Fling generally involved attempts to jump the barricade or otherwise get a better spot.

“Some of the altercations during this conflict between security and students, and unfortunately in my and other cases, students and students, were just not acceptable,” Feinstein commented. “I’ll just say that intoxication is never an excuse to treat people like shit.”

“I was manning the barricades and implored a group of people not to jump them, as we were over capacity and the fire marshal was coming,” Committee member Penina Kessler ’15 told me via email. “I ended with ‘Please don’t be that asshole who gets Spring Fling shut down.’ Direct quote from a girl jumping the barricade: ‘I would love for a chance to be that asshole.'”

“I was in the stands and I just saw people being super nasty to the event staff,” recalled a member of the class of 2013 who asked to remain anonymous. “Basically it was kids being really entitled and rude and obnoxious and insulting. I know there was some stuff going on with kids getting tackled for no reason or whatever, but it goes both ways. There was such a clear lack of respect for event staff who were just trying to do their job.”

The same senior watched as a “tall guy” approached a female staffer who was a student. “Yo, I had a math class with you, you’re so dumb, you don’t know numbers, this is clearly not at capacity,” he reportedly told her. “Actually it’s 200 over capacity,” she replied, to which he said: “You’re just power-tripping.”

Meanwhile, Eric Lopez observed as “over 20 students” reportedly bombarded a handicapped steward. Here’s an excerpt from the written account that Lopez sent me:

After the Ryan Hemsworth set I had set out to hand over a frisbee team tank top to Kendrick’s crew. Yet before  I could do that I was pulled by Elisa Cardona and told to ‘stop those kids from jumping over the barriers right now.’ I had understood that the fire marshal was going to arrive to the show to investigate if the new estimate of 1,200 on the ice rink floor was feasible for future events and because of that I took action quickly.

I saw a handicap-able steward being bombarded and even pushed backward by over 20 students. Another steward was being accosted at a personal level. Stewards who were usually dealing with adults had been relegated to working with children. I had been up since 6:00 a.m., prepared for the worst, but in some ways I wasn’t prepared to be let down by my community. I saw inane levels of idiocy and entitlement in the eyes of classmates that not only discouraged me about my position on Spring Fling Committee but also my place at Wesleyan itself. I’ve worked tirelessly to make this event happen and to watch people tell me that they ‘pay $60,000 to go here’ and ‘deserved to be on the floor’ or even, ‘Who do you think you are?’ [was discouraging]. I am your classmate and your friend. Nothing more. I only I tried to put on a show that you would all love. There are rules with an indoor arena like anywhere else in the world. If students had arrived at the opening of the doors as many people did, those people who spit their insults and complaints at me wouldn’t have been in the situation they put themselves in.

Part of the problem, I think, is that the time frame for making it onto the floor or the capacity issues in general were never communicated with students in advance. But the behavior on the rink may well have been worse—especially around the time the lights were flipped on before Ab-Soul’s set.

“It was honestly scary for me to see people screaming and throwing shit on the floor,” said a member of Spring Fling Committee who asked to remain nameless. “It’s really hard to get through to drunk people, and drunk people don’t want to hear this stuff. I did think there was going to be a riot.”

But Lopez, who has dealt with unruly audience behavior at shows he’s organized in the past, somehow remained positive. “I came home proud of the event I had help create,” he wrote to me. “I came home incredibly disappointed with a contingent within this University. I’ll keep on putting on shows and handling those who can’t hold their liquor.”

Alleged Public Safety, CSC, and Police Misconduct

Before Spring Fling even ended, reports of unwarranted Public Safety and police aggression and brutality surfaced on Twitter:

“We saw CSC hassling a black male student in a brown furry vest with salmon pants and black leather studded ankle boots,” Maggie Feldman-Piltch ’14 explained over email. “A middle-aged white officer in a blue fleece with short hair and glasses was hassling the student, putting his hands on him repeatedly. The student fell into the stands. He was clearly resisting but very peacefully, totally verbally, and was very calm. A white male student in a dark blue basketball jersey with an iPhone began taping. The other student was being forced up the stairs step-by-step backwards by the male guard. A white female guard stood behind the male guard to help him balance. She noticed the student filming and instructed another officer to support the male officer and went over to him yelling for him to stop filming.”

A student witness managed to catch part of this on video:

Meanwhile, Catherine Zhou ’13 was tweeting about a different incident entirely.

“P-Safe pinned down a senior, he’s clearly not resisting but they don’t let go,” Zhou wrote to Wesleying. “When event staff saw me taking a video they attempted to block me. Either way, he wasn’t resisting.”

As it turned out, both Zhou and Mia Rossi ’14 caught part of the latter incident on video. Zhou’s video concludes with a CSC staffer attempting to block the camera:

The senior was soon identified as Andrew Pezzullo ’13. I contacted Pezzullo for his perspective on what went down. Pezzullo claimed that it was Middletown police, not Public Safety, who pinned him down. His account is lengthy and disheartening, but probably worth reading in its entirety. He’s given me permission to publish it here:

I was definitely pinned down by Middletown police and threatened arrest for “disobeying orders.” Basically, I was leaving the concert though the main entrance to Freeman and noticed that a bunch of people (100+ people) were being barred from even entering Freeman (doors barricaded by police and people forced to stand outside in the rain). It seemed an absurd injustice, so I walked over to an administrator (not P-Safe) and asked them why students (with legitimate IDs or guest pass tickets) were being barred from coming in to Freeman to enjoy the show, especially those who were celebrating their final semester.

Very quickly, Dave Meyer came over and got in my face and said I would need to leave. I backed up and said something like, “Excuse me, for what? What did I do?” He grabbed my arm and hailed the two police officers who proceeded to bring me to the ground. I resisted going down briefly and kept asking a bit frantically, “What did I do? What did I do?,” but the two police officers overpowered me by tripping my legs and pinning my arms behind my back. They took me all the way to the ground. After being pinned on the ground for a bit, they asked me if I was calm and would get up and walk over to the side of the lobby with them. I agreed. They picked me up with my hands behind my back and walked me to a bench. I sat down. They told me I could very well be going to jail.

At this point, I apologized, acting remorseful for the “trouble I had caused… that I was only asking a question.” One of the officers tried to convince me that I had pushed Dave Meyer, saying something like, “Okay, there was an altercation, so you pushed him?” which I categorically denied. They took my state ID, my current address, and my phone number, and one of the officers walked away to record it. He came back and asked me what year I was. I told him a senior, that it was my last week, whatever. He said usually in situations like this I would be spending the night in jail, but they were going to cut me a break, but if they ran into me again “causing trouble” that I would be going straight to jail. I thanked them for their lenience (though it was painful to do) and one of the police officers walked me out the back entrance of Freeman. On my way out he mentioned that if I suffered any injuries, I should direct my inquiries to the Middletown Police Department. Bit sore today, couple of bruises, but generally unscathed physically!

It was a very confusing and disheartening experience and a real capstone for me it terms of my perception of Wesleyan. These past three years (I transferred here my sophomore year) have been one long and painful disillusionment with respect to the integrity of this institution. I think that the Spring Fling fiasco (not simply my little run in with MPD, but the whole botched execution of the thing) represents a profound lack of creativity, reason, and forethought in North College, SALD, P-Safe, and ultimately the President’s Office. Everything that has happened this year (need blind, racial profiling, arbitrary and vindictive student judicial proceedings, etc, etc.) has left me honestly really sad.

Outgoing Public Safety Director Dave Meyer, who is visible in both YouTube videos, sent me a much briefer account of the altercation:

Zach- I really can’t comment on this with out some more information.

Sent from my iPhone

I’m not sure what to add to Pezzullo’s testimony, except that I hope there’s still time to send it in to Margolis Healy, the external firm that is currently reviewing Wesleyan’s Public Safety after a year full of controversy and distrust.

* * *

Now What?

So what’s the solution?

Ari Ebstein ’16 (a freshman, which means he probably hasn’t experienced any previous Spring Flings) voiced one idea in a Wesleying comment about the WesRave:

this should replace spring fling, and that money which we spent on security and big name rappers whose lyrics you couldn’t hear (except when they were talking about Bad Bitches of Patron) should be directed to financial aid. spring fling concert could just be like the Mash the first week of school this year, which was awesome and way free.

honestly, i felt so much more a part of my school last night than I did during the mass, corporate, securitized, impersonal, barriered performance Kendrick and crew put on. they’re great artists, to be sure, not trying to hate on any of them — but the setting could have been a fucking arena in Idaho for christ sake, so uncreative and not a place for school spirit. that plus a whole lot of people didn’t get in… that plus a million more problems, basically yea — WesRave > Spring Fling, $$$ for Financial Aid > $$$ for Corporate Rap Artists

Is Ebstein on to something? It’s strange to see terms like “Corporate Rap Artists” bandied about in reference to Ab-Soul and Kendrick Lamar, who only a year ago was a little known 24-year-old rapper signed to Top Dawg Entertainment. But Ebstein seems to recognize that it was the setting and atmosphere, not the music, that made Spring Fling feel “mass, corporate, securitized, impersonal.”

At this point I’ve written well over 3,000 words about Spring Fling, and I’ve hardly even mentioned the music. Maybe that’s because I missed Girl#$wag and Anamanaguchi, or maybe it’s because I was too distracted by the tensions in the air to focus much on the music while I was there, a preoccupation that much online discussion since Thursday has reflected. I suppose it should be said that the music definitely didn’t kill the vibe, but it wasn’t enough to salvage it, either.

Or maybe it was.

“A friend of mine texted me to breathe,” Eric Lopez recalled. “I did and was finally okay with the lights on when the concert restarted. Ab-Soul came on and I sang along to every word. Kendrick came on and I sang along to every word. The show ended and I was sad at what I saw, but knew that at least some people were happy.”

Related
Spring Fling ’13: The Rumors Are True, Ya Bish
Guest Post: Yes, It Is a Problem That There Is Not a Single Woman in the Spring Fling Lineup
Girl#$wag Takes the Crown at Battle of the Bands, Will Open Spring Fling
Spring Fling  Committee Starts Charging Money For Guest Passes, Because Kendrick
Spring Fling Interview: Anamanaguchi’s Luke Silas
Ice Rink To Be Converted Into Swimming Pool Full of Liquor for Kendrick

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  • johnwesley

    You guys shouldn’t beat yourselves up so much. You pulled off a major event with -0- arrests and -0- peep sent to the emergency room. Given recent Wesleyan history, that’s a successful event.

  • wesbiker

    It would be really funny to see how this comment thread would have evolved if people couldn’t say “entitled” “privileged” or “$60,000/year”

  • Concerned Student

    I think an email should be sent to President Roth about all
    this. This man seriously struggles to see what’s going on on campus. I don’t
    even know how someone like Dave Meyer maintained a job for so long, especially
    at Wesleyan, which is supposed to be a liberal institution. He saddens me with
    how rude, racist and insensitive he is. I hope the administration does a better
    job at hiring someone new and I am truly sorry for what happened to that
    student because Meyer felt like instigating a false situation. He
    constantly lies so I would take the student’s side on this one. How is this man
    still allowed to do anything after how he’s treated students of color on
    campus? He should have been fired a long time ago. Honestly have never
    encountered someone who I have no respect for in my entire life until I came
    across Dave Meyer. Has he done anything positive for Wesleyan at all? I highly
    doubt it.

    • Another Concerned Student

      Him, Scott Backer, Rick Cuillton, Dean Whaley they are all surprisingly incompetent and mean spirited considering their jobs. I have no idea who decides to hire these people but it’s clear that Roth is either totally oblivious or completely apathetic to it all. The administration needs a complete revamp and I wouldn’t mind if they started from the top.

  • we should have kendrick again next year. the refix.

    • Cray Cray!

      I’ll pass.

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  • Jackson Ulrich

    Can someone speak to why it was in the hockey rink and not the fieldhouse?

  • anon15

    I was in the stands. I saw someone who had just entered the arena. One of the women part of the event staff (i think the same one featured in the above video) must have thought the student had jumped over the barricade. She grabbed the student by her tank top rather aggressively and pulled her back almost causing her to fall. I admit, students should not have been jumping over the barricade, but the instructions were not clear at all. Students started filing in rapidly towards the end of Ryan Hemsworth’s set, and many looked confused as to what was going on. The girl from the committee trying to tell everyone to sit down just sounded like mumbling to me. Practically every word was unintelligible.

  • Discontent Senior

    As a Senior I can unfortunately say I haven’t had a good Spring Fling since my Freshman year. That’s not to say that I haven’t had a good time, only that my fun was completely irrelevant to the various feeble attempts at an all-campus spring concert. This year was by the worst though, just absolutely terribly organized to the point that it seemed like the administrators generally wanted it to suck.

    Thank you for writing this article because the concert this year was truly the most poorly organized, offensively strict, and insultingly condescending event I have been to in my entire life. I showed up in time for Ryan Hemsworth but the atmosphere was so terrible that I chose to leave with my discontent friends before Ab-Soul even took the stage.

    I am out of here next year but I really hope things change, not just for Spring Fling but in general. The only way things will get better is if students demand a change, and press coverage is a good first step. That being said, its not all bad news. At least we can all rejoice that Dave Meyer is finally leaving after his abismal career as the head of campus Public Safety.

  • good kid

    Kendrick was still AMAZING though!!!!!! #wescantkillhisvibe

  • chill with the gender stuff…

    only at wesleyan would people complain about gender segregated entrance lines. all that does is give you a choice of whether you want to be patted down by a male or female identifying security guard. the rest of the problems with this event were very legitimate but this one is honestly a little ridiculous. what the solution to that? hire a trans* person to do pat downs and have a trans* line? thats even more divisive and would require discriminatory hiring policies

    • fuck you

      seriously? fuck you and your cisnormative/cissexist privileged bullshit. why do you even go here?

      • chill with the gender stuff..

        whats your solution then? how could they have patted people down more efficiently? not saying gender binaries are the greatest thing, just saying thats how all large events are and there isnt an obvious better solution. have you ever been to a major sporting event or concert? its just whats done… would you rather have creepy security dudes groping all the female students?

        all that being said i completely support everyone’s right to identify as whatever they want and full equality for all. i am strongly opposed to discrimination but this my friend is not discrimination its logistics…

        • Angry Queer Girl

          You clearly have not been to any gay pride festivals. It’s not how all large events work. And assuming that women should be searched by women and men by men is cissexist AND heteronormative. Are we assuming the PSAFE officers are all straight? Like, whether someone is male or female really should have nothing to do with whether I’m okay with them searching me if they’re being professional and doing their jobs right. Wtf? And the fact is, not everyone identifies OR physically is male or female. This school has a responsibility to the safety of its students, and having an entrance that reads as a potential (and I’m sure actual, if any trans* students braved that entrance) site of harassment does not meet the standards we expect of a school that prides itself on its inclusivity and diversity.

          • alum

            How do you propose they have the entrances, then? Honest question…

          • Batte_A

            I haven’t been to any gay pride festivals either, but it didn’t take me too long to think we could just not have gender-segregated lines…

          • alum

            Bingo.

          • 2013

            Not errbody is so liberal. I’m more comfortable getting to choose if a man or women pats me down. The event staff, who are paid contracted staff and not Wesleyan students, may also have a preference of who they pat down. Sorry if that makes me sexist/cissexist/heteronormative.

          • Batte_A

            It doesn’t, but (and this goes for “senior” too) why are we acting as if non-gendered lines and choosing who you receive a patdown from are mutually exclusive things? I guess I should’ve mentioned that I think doing both of those as the biggest step forward. And if there’s no workable match between a student and security member (which should be rare), then let ’em in.

            (Personally, I’d rather have some alternative to patdowns that doesn’t set off everyone’s “but terrorists!” alarm, but I’m not tryna do more than the 5 minutes of Googling I did yesterday to propose something at the moment. Isn’t Wes a safe enough place to just ditch them, if we’re already checking IDs?)

          • 2013

            Yo, that’s terribly insensitive. We are in Connecticut and are still in the shadow of one of the worst shootings ever in America that happened just down the road. Thank God they do a quick patdown. Basic security measures at an event packed with people is not just intelligent, it is absolutely necessary (consider liability issues also).

            No workable match then let em in? A lot of people may happen to decide to identify differently for about 30 seconds just to ensure we gets our flasks in.

          • senior

            The problem with this, and one of the reasons behind the two separate gender lines, is that there is a higher likelihood that a security guard will accidentally or purposefully make a patron of the opposite gender uncomfortable than a trans* patron being made uncomfortable by a male or female guard, just as a result of the much larger number of non trans* patrons. Im not sure of the correct way to deal with this but potentially making many more people uncomfortable does not seem like the best way

          • Chile

            well said

          • Student

            For my feeling of safety, I appreciate having the choice of who pats me down. I’d be interested to hear the input of the security staff also. Everything has to be taken in balance…

          • thoughtful observer

            its funny how all the people who are offended by this are offering no better solutions, just bitching. real respectable “Angry Queer Girl”

  • RFB

    Just throwing out there that the entrance security also told my guest that she “oughtta give me a big kiss on the lips.” Harmless but still disconcerting given that he was standing under the gender norm sign. No part of the organization around this seemed good except for some actions of the SFC

  • meme

    FAILURE honestly

  • Angel Armstead

    The amount of money going into Spring Fling is the source of a lot of the problems. Students feel “entitled” to see Kendrick/whoever the headliner is because they know Wes is paying then tens of thousands to come. Those tens of thousands are just about the size of the debt a lot of us will be in after we graduate. Is it reasonable to link the Spring Fling budget to our own debt? I don’t know. But I think people like Ari Ebstein who discuss changing up Spring Fling are onto something: maybe the school shouldn’t be spending so much on this event. “Why the fuck am I paying for UCAB?” is a pretty toothless joke/complaint amongst my friends, but it gets at an issue that’s really bothering me as I gaze out upon 25 years of loan repayment:
    Wesleyan needs to seriously consider how much money it puts into “student life.” There are lots of great things happening around here that I have no problem helping to pay for, but is 60k for a single afternoon one of them?

    • would have been money well spent if they had the organization to match the investment. 60’000 is one full year of student tuition (aka a drop in the ocean). if that concert had been unforgettable than i don’t think we’d have as many comments protesting the financial aspects of the event. i know this comes across as an ‘entitled’ comment, but in truth, 60’000 is not very much money relative to overall expenditure. im sure that much is spent by the school on keurig capsules/loo paper/wtv else.

      • Angel Armstead

        I don’t disagree with any of that. I think if the school is going to hash out that kind of money it’s worth hashing out a little more to have a contingency plan for rain, be it a tent or whatever, that actually works.
        I do stand by my larger question, which I’ll be more explicit about: Why is the school paying a lot for student entertainment in general while cutting need-blind and putting lots of kids in lots of debt? It’s totally possible that this argument doesn’t make any economic sense, but until someone convincingly dispels it for me, I’m hanging onto it.

        • fair enuff.

          • ya’bish

            $80,000/2,900 = 27 dollars a person.

          • wesbiker

            $270 is the full Student Activities Fee… Which is *still* nothing compared to the cost of everything else.

        • wesbiker

          The thing is, Spring Fling is paid by our Student Activities Fee – which, at $270 per person, is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of raising financial aid, not to mention that finaid comes from completely different coffers. I agree that it is important to have better-planned spring fling events, and if that means sacrificing $10,000 in artist fees for a usable outdoor tent, I’m 100% fine with that. If anything I’d rather have smaller artists come that are more excited about performing for a bunch of college kids.

          • afdaf

            You guys are severely underestimating how much it costs to book an artist. If you want smaller artists than go to the many shows organized by students throughout the year at Eclectic and a host of program houses.

            It was an absolute MIRACLE that they managed to book Kendrick this year and get anyone else at all. Kendrick usually receives in excess of our entire budget for just one show! Its honestly no that much to ask to have a decent Spring Fling. If you think spending is the problem then look at our fellow NESCACs which spend much more on their Spring Flings and still cost significantly less than Wes.

            You should all be worried about the school’s relatively pathetic endowment. It has been terribly managed for years and while Roth loves to pat himself on the back for “raising” the endowment it is still significantly lower than our peers. Partly because while Roth considers himself a great fundraiser and all, the schools overall decline has led to a continued decline in alumni giving. Alumni giving is essential to expanding the endowment but our administration alienates so many students that they vow to never give back (like me for one).

        • Who Is This Kid^^^

          It’s not just possible your argument makes no sense, it DOES absolutely makes no sense – Your ignorance is shocking to me. What are all these “student life” expenditures that your referring too?? The school funds almost nothing for students. As a leader of a student group on campus I can tell you that the administration makes you jump through hoops to get even $100 for food at an event, not too mention that they’ve been making such drastic cuts to student group funding on campus that the Argus may have to be discontinued because the school will no longer pay for their publishing!!! All of this when the WSA leaders two years back were stealing money from the student activity fund to buy their friends fancy meals at expensive restaurants.

          Not too mention a tent??? Are you kidding me??? You cannot put a stage on wet ground, period, tent or no tent. If you recall, it hardly rained the actual day of Spring Fling, the move inside was made the day before because the ground had become too saturated to safely support the stage and they did not want to risk exposing electrical equipement to water. The contingency plan WAS the hockey rink, it was just extremely poorly executed. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there aren’t exactly a wealth of spaces on campus to hold large indoor events.

          Also hop off the need blind train already! Need blind was based on an economic system that was inherently flawed. It was sucking so much money out of the system over the past decades that it is partially responsible for our joke of an endowment today. Also I hope you realize need-blind is not synonymous with financial aid, almost no schools in the country have need-blind admissions anymore.

          Also NEWSFLASH but EVERY major, private University in the United States is putting kids in serious economic debt. It’s not like other schools just dish out free educations! If you didn’t want debt you should have gone to a state school – you would have a Spring concert with hundreds of thousands of dollars put into it and still be paying about a third of what you do to come here.

          If your that desperate to find a way to cut your education expenditures than try to lobby to be exempt from the mandatory meal plan and on campus residence. You could get a reasonable of-campus apartment in Middletown and cook your own food for HALF of what you are currently required to pay Wesleyan to do it for you.

          • UH NEWSFLASH BUT THERE IS A PRIVATE COLLEGE THAT DOES JUST DISH OUT FREE EDUCATI—

            Wait, never mind. Sorry.

    • Wes Senior

      I cannot even believe that you think that 1) 60k is a lot for a spring concert and 2) that this 60k (which collectively adds up to about $20 a student) is at all related to your debt or anyone else’s. You do realize that nearly every school has some sort of spring concert that is free to the students, and their budgets are often double or even triple ours.

      Also less money into “student life” are you kidding?? Wesleyan already puts a minimal amount of money into student facilities, dining, and events… like the seriously could not put any less into it. They force kids to live in triples in 6×6 rooms, haven’t updated the libraries or science facilities in god knows how long (how old are the library/st lab computers for instance???) and do nothing to lower meal/residence plans. Not to mention that spring fling is the ONLY event that the school sponsors for the entire school each year. I cringe to think what this school would be like with even LESS student life expenditures, Middlesex Community College has nicer facilities than Wesleyan for christ sake!

      If you want to complain about expenditures at least be smart about it. Your priorities are so entirely misguided that I don’t even know where to start. How about the $17,000 MANDATORY meal plan and on campus residence fee. That’s 850 TIMES the amount that each student pays for Spring Fling each year. Or how about the fact that the school pays Roth in excess of $500,000 a year while covering his expenses for travel, food, housing and family education. How about the fact that they bought PSafe $5,000 Segways so they could look even more worthless and inept as they bum around campus.

      I really wish you didn’t have that debt too, but your blaming the completely wrong things for Wesleyan’s insane ticket price. Did you know that Wes is one of the most expensive schools in the country?! Significantly more expensive than most Ivy Leagues or other Nescacs and I can tell you for a fact that most of those schools care more about “student life”. What are we paying for? To further contribute to lining Roth’s pockets so he can continue his millionaire status? For a “top notch” education from a school whose name isn’t recognized anywhere off the East Coast (“O Wellesley I thought that was all girls”)? Maybe its to fund PSafe who has done NOTHING to stem the frequent student assaults, sexual violence and robberies that have been so pervasive during my time here (IN FACT THEY’VE CONTRIBUTED TO IT!!!)? All I do know for sure is that the $20 contribution from each of us towards spring fling is ABSOLUTELY NOT why ANYONE will be working off student debt, and to even suggest that it is a factor is completely misguided and frankly idiotic.

      Sorry that you probably chose the wrong school, but blaming the schools expenditures on “student life” for its price is absolutely absurd.

    • English Teacher

      I hate how everyone throws around the word entitlement. Entitlement simply means a guaranteed right to certain goods/benefits, usually based on a prearranged agreement. If you buy a show to a ticket you ARE ENTITLED to see it. That’s the definition of the word, regardless of the negative connotations you are attempting to add. One way or another students payed for Spring Fling, and the school DID guarantee that ALL students would have access to the show. Therefore they were all rightfully entitled to see it and the school broke that agreement.

      Students are also entitled to be treated with respect and dignity by PSafe, the police and event staff, but that doesn’t make them “entitled”.

      • wesbiker

        Yeah seriously. There’s a lot of self-righteous “privilege guilt” that goes along with any discussion surrounding student activities/incidents/what it means to go to Wes. Yes, we are all privileged to be here. Yes, there are people in the world who are much worse off than Wes students. Yes, it’s awesome that we as students have the resources (whether from financial aid, outside scholarships, wealthy relatives, etc.) to attend this institution and get such a good education. NO, it is not unreasonable to expect entrance to a concert that you a) paid for and b) were told you could attend.

        People who want to just throw around the privilege argument need to take it in context of what it actually means to pay for something in the economic sense: yes we are privileged; no that does not mean we should have to endure shitty planning and behavior on the part of the administration/Psafe/CSC/etc etc etc just because we go to an expensive school. Not to mention that the people who cry privilege need to step back and take a look in the mirror: everyone here is privileged; get over it. Now let’s face the issues rationally.

  • TRUTH

    Honestly Girl#$wag was my favorite part of the day……they should have been the main act

  • lol. what a shambles. excessive security, inability to exercise common sense were the key causes of the spring fling failure. OF COURSE students are going to behave badly. OF COURSE the security is going to be overzealous. just accept that this is the nature of such events. We appreciate the efforts of those who spent their funds/time/energy organizing what should have been a fantastic event. but we need to stop OVER-ENGINEERING and OVER-PLANNING. no one is going to have serious fun is there is a big queue, no re-entry, marshals left right & centre, and sterile lighting. these events are not good if you aim for ZERO CASUALTIES. they are good if you make reasonable efforts to LIMIT THE NUMBER OF CASUALTIES. i imagine that in the absence of state law, school paranoia (concerning liability) and general idiocy that this would have been a BANGER. next time we spend Xthousand on artist AB&C we need to do that expenditure justice but telling the meddling bureaucrats to go home, and keeping things simple. to quote gordon ramsay ‘fuck me’.

    • confused

      I don’t understand this comment. Of course it would be a more enjoyable experience without the long lines, security, etc. but how else are the crowds going to be controlled? It’s clear to me that there was a serious overreach on the part of the security staff but also that there were Wesleyan students behaving unacceptably. How would you “keep things simple” while still ensuring the safety and enjoyment of the event?

      • i feel that the crowd didn’t really need to be controlled. when we look at other concerts in the world, the crowds are much larger and much more aggressive/boisterous. one of the reasons we feel that the crowd needed to be controlled was because of the bad behaviour brought on by attempts to control the crowd. aka if you box ppl in/deny them entry and re-entry than they are going to push past you/yell at you/disregard the rules. my point is stop trying to control. if you want clean/safe event don’t bother inviting Kendrick…

        • confused

          You’re right that some elements of the crowd control were unneeded. But I stand by my opinion that on May 9th, certain people in the ice rink were completely out of line and there had to be someone who had to step in and stop it. A university concert is different from a concert at a public venue and I don’t think this is an fair comparison to make. And yes, maybe a more “tame” act would have caused less rowdiness but maybe people would have been drunk/rowdy anyway. If we didn’t have Kendrick and we had some smaller act people would have been upset. Either way, there is no way to please everyone but I don’t think that not controlling the crowd at all would have led to a safe place for audience, the event staff, or the artists (also worth noting that although I’m not privy to the contracts of the artists, i’m pretty sure it would have raised red flags if there was no security at the venue).

          • the issue is why a university concert should be treated any differently to a public concert. i don’t think it should. why would it ever have been that dangerous…security should have been minimal.

          • a lot of it was beyond the organizers’ control – fire safety regulations have to be adhered to whether the spring fling committtee wants to or not

          • SmartWesStu

            Anthony, there is plenty of security at public concerts, ESPECIALLY when they are in a closed space. Should there be an emergency, safety crews need immediate access to the venue, while those inside of it need access to the nearest exit. However, should the event have been outside on Foss, security wouldn’t have been that serious because there’s plenty of places to run to should the ground have caved in. -_- Moreover, Kendrick, although not that big of a rapper yet, needs to be kept safe, as per any artist’s contract regulations. So try to think about the situation from a different perspective.

          • jfalk

            As someone who considers themselves a big music fan, I have been to more than my fair share of concerts and I have never, NEVER had an experience that felt so controlling and wrong that it forced me to leave. Concert security is supposed to be a passive precaution for IF something goes wrong. The school has become so afraid of liability lawsuits that it has gone way to far to try to police students. If that had happened at a real show people would have demanded refunds.

          • wesbiker

            Not to mention that they’re not even policing students for the students’ safety – the administration is clearly more concerned with its own reputation than the actual safety and well-being of us. (See: TdF fiasco, sexual assault being swept under the rug, Psafe abuses being ignored/downplayed, chalking ban, etc. etc.)

      • this is what most kendrick concerts look like. this is at the apollo in london: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lomkul1fFvw

        it is crowded/noisy/slightly dangerous. you have to tolerate a few casualties to throw something proper.

    • Dave Meyer

      What I found interesting is that the event definitely seemed to be “over planned” but it didn’t seem like safety was really the goal. For example – not letting people on the hockey rink leave to use the restroom or get water is pretty dangerous in its own right, not too mention inhumane (and possibly illegal). Add in the inevitable drunkenness and drug use of the students and its down right hazardous to make it so difficult for people to access water. Or the blatant physicality and aggression from PSafe and the security personell, its not like they were just trying to keep order they were actively policing and harassing students who had done nothing wrong at all.

      The most disturbing part of the whole thing to me was the overtly oppressive aspect of the whole thing. It had a creepy “Big Brother” feel to it.They micromanaged every little thing they could to enact as much domination over the students as possible. They turned on the lights so they could watch our every move, meticulously controlled where we could and could not go, and used physical force and verbal abuse to ensure sure they maintained complete control. It felt like a concert in North Korea, not Wesleyan University.

      And I’m getting really sick of all of this nonsense from PSafe. What would happen if a student one day hits a psafe officer back? I seriously doubt they would sweep it under the rug like they do every time a PSafe officer is accused of assaulting a student…

  • ’15

    “It was a very confusing and disheartening experience and a real capstone for me it terms of my perception of Wesleyan. These past three years (I transferred here my sophomore year) have been one long and painful disillusionment with respect to the integrity of this institution. I think that the Spring Fling fiasco (not simply my little run in with MPD, but the whole botched execution of the thing) represents a profound lack of creativity, reason, and forethought in North College, SALD, P-Safe, and ultimately the President’s Office.”

    This is an important story and President Roth should respond.

  • Student

    I don’t know why Lopez is surprised with students treating other students like shit. Check the WSA, the Argus, practically any event…

  • monovore

    “I was manning the barricades and implored a group of people not to jump them, as we were over capacity and the fire marshal was coming,” Committee member Penina Kessler ’15 told me via email. “I ended with ‘Please don’t be that asshole who gets Spring Fling shut down.’ Direct quote from a girl jumping the barricade: ‘I would love for a chance to be that asshole.’”

    FUCK YOU, girl climbing over the barricades. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM WITH WESLEYAN and why people hate our student body. YOU ARE FILTH. I hope you suffer, you ENTITLED CUNT.

    • perhaps

      perhaps calling people filth and cunt is a part of the problem?

    • talk about unpleasant. you wont even make that comment and admit who you are at the same time (who is monovore?!) ‘i hope you suffer’? plainly ridiculous. ppl do not hate our student body…whoever you are stop getting so excited and improve your vocabulary (‘cunt’, ‘fuck’, ‘suffer’, ‘flith’) you sound like a 5 yr old so have go have a spin on it….

    • ajfkla

      Wait a sec… who’s the cunt? Cause it was a little unclear…

  • Bond

    Ah Frosh. Gotta love em eh?
    But I digress…
    Knowing that many were victims of different types of foolishness and “business-as-usual” procedures doesn’t surprise me, but it does pain me. Wesleyan does this. Every. Fucking. Year. It’s like nobody gets that the Hockey Rink is both horrible for acoustics and ill-suited for an onslaught of 1000+ drunk, often entitled, but nevertheless unmanageable, people. It doesn’t surprise me then that all or any of this happened.

    To make a long story short: Wes needs to either plan better for the weather, or establish a new alternative venue on campus for large (spring fling-esque) events. It is idiotic that every year we can put out tents for R&C (regardless of the weather mind you) but we can’t put out a damn tent for spring fling.

    • schoolboy queue

      “According to Feinstein, the tent that’s usually used for the Tent Party
      before Commencement is too expensive to be a viable option.”

      • Bond

        granted, i get that. but if we know it’s going to rain every year, why do we not find other viable options? it’s hilarious how we hope and pray instead of plan.

      • Calling BS

        So get rid of Anamanaguchi or even Ryan Hemsworth! Given the choice, I would have much preferred to see Girlswag, Kendrick Lamar and Ab Soul outdoors over what we had in the hockey rink.

        Another source of funds– what about the 15 thousand dollars that we spent on lighting? I’m sure that could have helped. Instead, it all went to waste from the lights being on.

        Why dont we have senior commencement pre-party in the hockey rink and spring fling in the tent 1 year and see how that works? It would be the same price at the end of the day…

        I’m not a senior so maybe that’s not really my call but maybe you guys wouldn’t mind sacrificing a little after the senior cocktails fiasco?

        I don’t see why people are getting mad and calling the student body entitled. When you’re forking over 60k a year to attend a school, you’re not JUST paying for the education. It’s not unreasonable to expect the things you pay for. Spring Fling might be a privilege but its one thats funded from our pockets. I know when I chose to attend Wesleyan, the musical acts they had a reputation of attracting was definitely factored into my decision.

        • logic

          No one is “entitled” to a spot on the floor because they pay tuition. The event started at one. There was a capacity on the rink floor. If you showed up late, you didn’t get a spot on the floor. That’s how shit works.

          • wesbiker

            …except that they made no effort to inform the students of this capacity, or that they would be denied re-entry. Students were unaware of some very important policies and that’s part of the reason everyone’s so mad.

        • In The Know

          Lights were 1k, less than money that goes toward fencing if it’s outside.

          Obviously the event is designed to be outside. No one wanted the rain.

  • More BS

    You didn’t talk about ridiculous the no reentry was or the fact that Elisa was cursing at the student body over the sound system.

    • WesStu

      Elisa did not curse…EVER! Get your facts straight.

      • Bobby

        Wait yeah she did, I’m almost positive. That multiple people think she did is a telltale sign that the venue was not appropriate – especially considering she was trying to communicate with us in the bleachers – to convey anything aural to Wesleyan students.

      • afad

        Even if she didn’t curse she would be pretty hard pressed to have been more offensively condescending. I mean seriously, she was acting like she was trying to get a bunch of kindergartners to share their toys. She should of shut her mouth and focused on running a decent event rather than wasting everyones time and escalating tensions because she wanted a handful of kids in the bleachers (which were half empty at the time) to sit down. Her insultingly demeaning tone was the last straw that made my friends and I leave.

        • offended

          you couldn’t even understand what she was saying – her whole is to appease students and no one ever thanks her. rather just bitches at her. Sorry that you and your friends felt like her “demanding” tone made you leave the FREE concert wesleyan was providing you.

          • unclear

            What *was* she saying, anyways?

        • GET REAL!

          I have a problem with your sense of entitlement and thinking that she ruined the event for you. I was standing front and center and was hearing what was coming out of her mouth. No cursing or anything of that nature. However, should she have decided to take further action, it would have be rightfully done. A small group of people were SOOOO GONE that day that they were literally throwing themselves between the bleachers and rink floor – so I’m sorry, remind me in what world is this acceptable? I encourage you think a little further beyond the Wesleyan bubble, should any of these events have occurred in a venue like Madison Square Garden, do you think they would calmly tell you to relax or perhaps in your world, lather you with roses for your brave act of…(remind me again)? Don’t fool yourself. GROW UP!!! Mommy and Daddy have done enough thinking for you, try doing some of your own. If anything, you should be focusing your attention on the way David Meyer and his posse were preying on the weak outside of the rink.

  • surprised

    that you didn’t mention how rude/entitled the people on the ice rink were to those in the bleachers

  • Abe

    Great article, thanks for the finals distraction

  • i got a question

    what does the asterisk next to trans represent? not being a dick just genuinely curious

    • wesbiker

      It’s a wildcard character that implies it could be anything after (i.e. trans* could represent transgender, transsexual, etc.). It’s essentially a way to be inclusive without having to list out all possibilities every time you write it. People do a similar thing with vegetarian/vegan by writing veg*n.