Concert controversy: Who’s to blame?

The Beacon editorial staff

People love to complain. It’s a basic tenet of human nature. Take Wilkes University’s annual spring concert for example.

In theory, it exists as a way for the Wilkes University Programming Board to provide students with a night of affordable entertainment beyond the realm of Bingo and board games. Whoever headlines the concert is decided by the student body via online voting, so this suggests whatever band is chosen will be the one most students actually want to see. That’s all well and good … in theory.

In actual practice, the whole concert seems to exist solely as a means of providing students one more thing to complain about.

Last year, the spring concert gave us Mac Miller. Some were happy about that. Others complained. This year, the band Neon Trees is headlining the spring concert. When that announcement was made, once again, some were happy but many more complained.

Seems the chorus of whines rising around this year’s spring concert may be a little louder than usual. So much so that the programming board made it a point to post the results of the voting process on its Facebook page. Out of the 523 students who voted (remember that number, we’ll come back to it), 124 picked Neon Trees as their first choice to headline the concert. The closest competitor was Tyga, with 81 votes. That’s a win by a pretty clear margin. And, yet, the chorus of whines continues its sneering song.

If you use Twitter, you may follow an account that operates under the handle @Wilkesproblems and tweets self-flagellating satirical barbs about the trials and tribulations of life as a Wilkes student. Unsurprisingly, the account has recently posted several tweets poking fun at both the announcement naming Neon Trees this year’s concert headliner and the so-called “controversy” surrounding said announcement. There’s even a “Hitler Reacts” meme video addressing the issue.

While hardly the funniest use of the “Hitler Reacts” meme, for Wilkes students with a sense of humor, it does earn itself a few chuckles. Unfortunately, not everyone has a sense of humor. Some overly serious minds will undoubtedly agree with the video’s laughably ridiculous dialogue, which at one point has Hitler announce mid-diatribe that he’d “rather hang out with Stalin” than pay $10 for a Neon Trees concert. Others won’t agree, but will likewise fail to see the humor in such over-the-top declarations.

One of Hitler’s statements that does ring true comes when he says that “nobody f***ing voted.” Remember that thing about there only being 523 votes total? Well, when you take into account that Wilkes has more than 2,200 students enrolled in the undergraduate class alone (assuming Wilkes’ 2010-2011 fact book is still more or less accurate), it becomes evident just how few students even voted in the first place.

Let’s make this clear: If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about who wins. Seeing as how the majority of people who did vote did so in favor of Neon Trees, it’s a logical assumption that the majority of those complaining are those who did not vote.

Some have gone on to complain that they weren’t even informed of how or when to vote. With that in mind, here’s the facts: Information about voting was posted several times on the Wilkes University Programming Board’s Facebook page and Twitter account. An email did go out, but programming board representatives have acknowledged that the school’s recent switch to Gmail likely resulted in some students not receiving said email. Voting information was also available at last semester’s Snow Ball dance, and was posted in the Henry Student Center. An article likewise appeared in the Nov. 20 issue of The Beacon, and programming board representatives have said that word-of-mouth was additionally intended as a means of dissemination.

In other words, the information was out there. Those who’ve been so proactive about making sure their displeasure with the voting results has been heard perhaps should’ve been equally as proactive in finding out how and when to vote in the first place.

Having said all that, the pendulum swings in both directions. As acknowledged earlier, all complaints have roots in legitimate criticism. Sure, students could have taken a more proactive role in the voting process and would also do well to recognize that self-righteous negativity isn’t exactly helpful (c’mon now, you’re just bitter ‘cause Childish Gambino didn’t win, aren’t you?). But, at the same time, as much as the programming board deserves credit for all its efforts to inform students of how and when to vote, the cold, hard reality is that those efforts barely amounted to diddly-squat.

With just 523 votes cast in a school with more than four times that many undergraduates, it’s obvious that the programming board’s efforts it clearly weren’t effective. More needed to be done. More needs to be done in the future. Because all the good-intentioned efforts in the world don’t mean a thing if they aren’t effective.