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The Scarlet & Black

Letter: A Soft Rock Response

I understand that there has been recent concern among some students regarding the genre of music slated to perform at Block Party. I think this problem stems from a misunderstanding of the content and quality of the performers that I have contracted to come. I recognize that as the organizer of an all campus event, I have a responsibility to make sure that Block Party is the best event it can be for everyone. I hope you do not doubt my intentions with regard to this.

At this point, it is important to clarify exactly what I am doing. In addition to increasing the amount of food, beer, and games at Block Party, I contracted this band to play well-known covers of light rock and other genres of music. My thought was that this would provide some easy and fun listening background music as people are celebrating the end of the school year.

However, as a party organizer, I am having trouble understanding the strategies SGA is employing to handle the constituent concern. I was of the understanding that my role as host conferred onto me certain discretionary privileges in addition to the responsibilities I have already undertaken in the extensive planning of this celebration.

The fact of the matter is, SGA and ACE approved me to use funds in this way and, given this approval, I made financial commitments to performers with those funds. I now face the reality of having to break my contract with these performers, which reflects poorly on the professionalism of myself and Grinnell College students. I remain confused, also, as to why funds were not simply withheld. It was my understanding that the proceedings of SGA, particularly the approval from ACE and Joint Board, are in place to address concerns about whether my discretion reflects the desires of the student body (a somewhat impossible task that is best accomplished with good judgment and humility).

Despite my disappointment with these proceedings, I think that we can compromise and resolve this issue. Perhaps, though, this is a situation which highlights problems in the budget process and suggests that SGA needs to reform some of its policies regarding the allocation of funds. To the individuals who voiced this initial concern, I would have been more than happy to address your concern in conversation as the tenets of self-governance suggest. I am disappointed with how all of this was handled.

Ultimately, it is my hope that everyone comes to Block Party on Friday May 18th and has an incredible time. See you on the BLOCK!

—Matt Rosenbaum ’12

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