UCR’s annual Heat concert was cancelled by the HUB Board, citing El Nino weather as the reason. After a school wide survey, which overwhelmingly showed that students wanted to keep and reschedule the concert, the HUB Board decided to consider moving the event to spring quarter.
Given the popularity and amount of anticipation surrounding this event, the HUB made a wise decision in possibly rescheduling Heat. Considering that student fees pay for the concert, moving it prevents a waste of the money the HUB gets every quarter. Unlike the cancellation two years ago, this year’s cancellation would not waste money, but it would mean that graduating students would not get to see their fees at work.
Because bad weather has been behind both cancellations, it is possible that the time for which Heat is normally scheduled may not be viable for UCR’s largest concert. If this is the case, the HUB needs to do one of two things: Either Heat must be cancelled as an event, with the funding it receives going to other UCR events, or a more appropriate time of the year must be chosen for hosting the show. Permanently cancelling Heat would allow the other UCR concerts to be bigger, while permanently rescheduling it would mean keeping one more event, with the hope that cancelling it again will not be necessary. In both cases, students will still see their dollars at work, albeit in different ways.
Regardless of what the HUB Board decides to do with Heat, it is imperative that it make its decision with the student body in mind, and with accountability to the same. Cancelling Heat a second time, admittedly on a much longer notice than last year, undermines student confidence in the administrators who plan the concert. It smacks of incompetence that the board has had to cancel a highly anticipated show twice, without a backup plan, due to something as unpredictable as weather (weather should have been expected to go badly, per Murphy’s Law).
Furthermore, the student body has a right to know what is being done with the fees it pays into the system. Cancelling events, especially when money has already been spent on planning, construction, supplies and other expenses related to hosting a major concert, results in an unrecoverable loss of student funding. When so much money is being spent, there should naturally be an insurance policy in the form of contingency plans. In the event of, for example, unanticipated severe weather, there should be a plan on the table for rescheduling Heat, without having to wait for student outcry. The students should be able to logically expect that those responsible for planning certain events will have thought out different possibilities in executing those plans.
Two positive aspects of student-administration relations arise from the unfortunate cancellation of Heat. The first is that the decision was made early, albeit without consulting the student body. This allows the HUB Board to plan a rescheduled Heat, without the total loss of resources, not to mention the blow to student hopes, that resulted from the first cancellation. Not only that, but the HUB Board decided to give $200,000 to ASPB for Spring Splash and Winter Soulstice, which would have been spent on Heat, meaning that the money is still usefully in circulation.
The second positive aspect is that ASUCR Vice President of Finance Shafi Karim advocated on behalf of the students regarding how to follow up on said cancellation. By this direct survey of the members of the student body, the HUB Board got a clear idea of what they want. It was this survey that prompted the HUB Board to consider rescheduling Heat, instead of the outright cancellation that they had arrived at. This show of concern for student interests is at least a partial penance for the previous lack of accountability in their decision-making process. That said, the student voice should not be allowed to completely overrule the decision of administrators. Heat could very well be impossible to pull off as an event, so the student body’s opinion cannot be allowed to bully administration into setting up a concert that may become a money pit. Instead, it should be sought out, considered and be one of several factors in a proper decision.
Heat, like the other UCR concerts, is more than just a chance to hear some music. It’s practically a reward for all the studying that must be done, and it allows everyone to de-stress. More importantly, however, it is a chance for students to bond and to form relationships with other students and the campus. By cancelling it without a second thought, the administration throws away an opportunity for students to become attached to the school and what it stands for. Without Heat and other events, UCR becomes, for some, a place to grind away four years that gets forgotten by the tired, stressed people who leave it.