Op-ed | Event shafted: Asleep before midnight
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 07:11
I would say most Tufts students agree that the school’s party scene is predominately, and on some nights solely, reliant on Greek life. Sweaty basements and “Gangnam Style” constitute a typical Friday night and satisfy both the need to unwind and to make regrettable decisions following a stressful week.
But for many, an alternative to the frat party is a welcomed occasion. Whether it’s a B.E.A.T.s show at the Crafts House, Open Mic Night or Film Series, a change of pace is always refreshing. Often flying under the radar, Midnight at Tufts, a “student booking group dedicated to bringing up-and-coming, local, and/or independent music to the Tufts community,” has helped filled that void. With a limited budget, Midnight provides an alternative “social space around great music of all genres” — a respite from Pro Row for anyone interested.
On Friday, Nov. 6, Midnight at Tufts hosted a concert with the Krill, a band partly comprised of Tufts grads, and Ava Luna, a Brooklyn-based experimental indie band. Midnight at Tufts’ shows are consistently put on in the Crane Room due to its amply sized stage and expansive dance floor. Event Staff assists in ushering the events and keeping order by checking IDs and monitoring behavior. The concerts fluctuate in popularity depending on the acts, but a Facebook event for the free Krill/Ava Luna concert indicated upwards of 100 potential attendees. Though the room has a marked maximum occupancy limit of 90 people, Midnight felt there was low probability of meeting the room’s capacity.
As expected on the night of the show, dozens of students flocked to the Crane Room to catch the free concert. Per usual, three Event Staff members dutifully checked for Tufts IDs, and the room began to fill with eager concertgoers. As the show’s start time approached, more and more students arrived, expecting no difficulty in seeing the bands. But for whatever reason — perhaps overwhelmed by the turnout — Event Staff arbitrarily cut off the number of students allowed in to see the show. And this is where my and many others’ frustration begins.
It is reasonable to limit the number of attendees to adhere to state laws and safety regulations. It is reasonable to explain with respect and maturity why some students will be unable to see the concert. It is even justifiable to speak with the necessary authority to keep frustrated students in check. But it is beyond disgraceful that the Event Staff dealt with this situation — a concert intended for as many students as the room could safely hold — with complete disregard for all of the aforementioned expectations.
Let me begin with a simple example. Inside the Crane Room, the capacity is clearly marked with a limit of 90 persons. But according to Event Staff, it was, insistently, 75. All right, so 15 people isn’t a huge difference. Except estimations from members of Midnight inside —I clearly was stuck outside — explained that the room was half-full at best. What’s more, it was apparently too difficult to allow one person to enter if one person from the concert left. So while two people here and three people there decided they had their fill of live music for the night, the 35 or so people patiently waiting outside on the patio were irrationally turned away. To make matters worse, any attempt to reason with Event Staff resulted in a rude dismissal and an order to leave the premise.
But that’s just one injustice, and if the insolent behavior had stopped there, no one would have been too fed up. But here’s another example: Most students accepted that they were going to appreciate the music from outside, so a handful gathered by the room’s windows to listen. Two students recognized each other through the screen and struck up a conversation. Yet, rather than a respectful request to talk elsewhere, the Event Staff called the student obnoxious and a disturbance. The windows, which had been opened for ventilation, were shut in authoritative defiance.
You might be able to retort that the Event Staff had a significant crowd to keep watch over, and with only three members at the show, felt threatened. Or maybe it was too chilly, and tempers were at their limits. But it didn’t stop there.
When one particular concertgoer left the show, he shouted to the crowd that someone else should take his place inside. For whatever reason, this translated to a snappy, even malicious response from the Event Staff that he must leave before his name is found out. In the Event Staff’s defense, the student instead stayed on the patio. However, the student created no further disturbance and behaved exactly like the other students who were benignly enjoying what music they could hear. But apparently, such flagrant disregard for orders required TUPD cars to control the crazy rioting and looting that was clearly about to ensue. The night concluded with officers telling patio-squatters to vacate the premise because a patio — with a table and benches — is no place to congregate.
I feel it is unfair to blame the unprofessional, immature and excessively rude behavior of a few Event Staff members on the Event Staff as a whole. The Event Staff plays a necessary role in supervising campus events. I’d even say those at the Midnight show were doing their job by manning the Crane Room’s door and watching the crowd. But in a community that tries to foster respect, the actions of those individuals were so beyond the spectrum of acceptable that I can’t help but feel incredibly indignant at how the situation was handled. At no point was anyone endangered by the crowd outside, nor was anyone disrupting the concert in process. The intolerable, obstinate and derisive behavior of the Event Staff would have made you think otherwise.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll settle for a frat party. At least I sometimes get into those.