Aural Wes, Wesleyan’s unofficial but well-pedigreed music blog, has a very pointed editorial by senior contributor “O)))”, a.k.a. Max Lavine ’10, who is pissed about Public Safety’s enforcement of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct in shutting down a show last weekend, and generally disappointed in a perceived decline in both the administration’s attitude and students’ enthusiasm towards student-organized music events on campus lately.
Last weekend, WESU’s 70th Anniversary show in WestCo Cafe was shut down by Public Safety after only one act played out of three scheduled punk/hardcore bands, for reasons unspecified by the author. Apparently people present thought this was a major overreaction to the offense, and the author is upset that the bands’ and student organizers’ time and energy in putting the show together were wasted.
The editorial finds this incident symptomatic of an administration increasingly hostile towards the independent music scene at Wes:
[…] the point I want to make here is greater. I’ve been organizing shows regularly on this campus for a good while now and it has become increasingly clear to me that Wesleyan has rapidly made itself into an environment that is extremely inhospitable to any sort of independent music scene. The bureaucratic requirements for booking shows are as myriad as they are constantly shifting and dysfunctional; most of the time when bookers have succeeded in jumping through each flaming hoop provided by the multiple organizations (who don’t really communicate with each other) necessary to deal with in booking, something tends to go awry anyway. When you’re dealing with bands whose primary income is not their music (e.g. 99% of working musicians), its terrible for them and embarassing for us when they get paid late or don’t get to play their set because someone was in a meeting, anonymous noise complaints get called in, or PSafe decides to arbitrarily exercise their power to end a perfectly well-mannered show.
I don’t want to make this out to simply be some kind of administrative conspiracy though. It is pretty obvious at this point that, relative to my freshman year, the administration has sought to regulate and normalize ever greater swathes of campus and has tended to turn autonomous student community like that found at student-run concerts into a liability to be controlled instead of something to be fostered and celebrated. And surprise, surprise the number of concerts that go on here has STEEPLY declined since my freshman year. But that’s only half the story.
That’s nothing new – people have feeling this for awhile now (most vocally so in recent memory when Eclectic was banned from hosting shows last semester), and complaints about the administration homogenizing Wes have been around forever.
This author also blames this year’s WestCo residents for being apathetic/lame, and implicitly wonders whether the WestCo we (at least, current upperclassmen and recent alumni) have always known is on its way out: