SA's VOICE party appears to have lost its namesake as complaints following the announcement for this year's Fall Fest continue to go unanswered.
The Spectrum spent the weekend trying to get comment from SA regarding the enormous backlash that ensued following the announcement. Although SA didn't clear anything up, it did offer this response:
"This reaction, whatever is going to happen was going to happen because it was so late in the year anyways that any artist that was picked, whatever students were going to say was going to be positive or negative either way because it was so late in the year and students were already anticipating an earlier show," said SA Entertainment Director Monique Mattes about the negative student response.
When the Voice Party ran last year, it ran on a platform of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of SA. In a statement to The Spectrum last year, VOICE proclaimed that it wanted students to get the most out of their Mandatory Student Activity Fee; but actions speak louder than words.
This year's lineup consists of headliners The Fray, with openers The White Panda and 2AM Club. The annual music concert uses a fair amount of the students' mandatory fees to put on a "free" concert for UB's undergraduate population.
SA has the difficult job of trying to please as many students as possible with the annual concert. With that said, this year's lineup has caused an unprecedented outburst from a typically apathetic campus.
The lack of transparency throughout the decision-making process has alienated a large portion of the student body.
The Voice Party remained mostly silent as response after response piled up on SA's official Facebook page.
Caleb Vaughn, a sophomore electrical engineering major, responded to the negative student reaction on the SA page on Friday. He implored those hurling negative comments to step back and realize that SA is trying to put on a good show for the students.
However, Vaughn has been unimpressed with SA's communication with students.
"At times I feel like…[SA] responds with a political type of answer," Vaughn said. "They say they're the voice of the undergraduate population but they seem to be more distant at times when students are frustrated."
Vaughn noticed on Sunday that SA is only responding to positive comments on its Facebook page and ignoring the negative posts. While it would be unrealistic to respond to every one, Vaughn hopes SA puts together some type of response to what has become a huge student issue.
Other students simply just don't believe that The Fray was a top choice in the survey. What is even more troubling to many students is that SA has yet to release the survey results.
On Sunday afternoon, Mattes explained that she wanted to produce the results of the survey, but she was not in her office where she claimed they were on her computer.
"The SA seems to forget this is [our] concert and [they] make it just their concert," said Joe Carelli, a junior communication major. "State you will never make everyone happy, I understand that, but work with us, don't ignore us."
In years past, Fall Fest would have already taken place. This year it was moved back due to construction at Alumni Arena. This forced SA to delay picking a date, which limited the talent pool.
In addition to SA's poor communication following the announcement, some students have issues with the acts themselves.
"A lot of people's expectations for Fall Fest were way too high. Expecting SA to be able to get a huge national act like Drake or Nicki Minaj is just wishful thinking," said Dan Kozlowski, a computer engineering major. "At the same time, it seems like they really let us down this year. Previous years have had at least four acts for the fests, at least two of which were pretty big names, and the rest up-and-comers. This year they chose one big band and two [bands] that absolutely no one has heard of."
Fall Fest is funded through the fee every student pays when they enroll at UB. But, like last year, Fall Fest falls on a weeknight, which prevents some students from attending. Some students have night class, and are forced to skip the event they helped fund.
"Why should I leave class early on a Thursday to see whatever 2AM club is, a cheap Girl Talk rip-off, and a two-hit wonder from five years ago?" said Christine Fabrizio, a sophomore exercise science major.
Check Wednesday's edition of The Spectrum for more on this developing story.