Nick Jonas at Western Michigan

To the dismay of countless students around campus, there will not be a spring concert like there has been in years past. The Campus Activities Board (CAB) has fallen victim to budget cuts and will be unable to accommodate a large spring concert despite the demand.

“CAB’s large spring show budget ended up being smaller than it has been in past years and with the money we had, we knew we would not be able to provide Western students with the best concert experience possible,” CAB President Liz Styblo said. “So the CAB executive board discussed all of our options and put a lot of thought into what we wanted to do. It came down to either having a smaller concert with a lesser known artist this spring or postponing the event to Fall 2019,” she added.

By pushing the concert back to the fall of 2019, the executive board of CAB is confident in their ability to bring a bigger artist to campus and cater to the interests of students.

The student assessment fee, that is paid by every student that registers for classes on the main campus of WMU, is $42.00 per year, and is split between multiple student organizations and agencies around campus in need of a budget, such as CAB.

CAB only receives a small portion of this fee and utilized it to host many smaller events throughout the school year. “We have had great events all year like our Spa Night, Coffee and Canvas, Escape Rooms, and many more,” said Styblo.

Despite the smaller annual budget, CAB does not plan on any money going to waste. “The money that was going to be used for this year’s large spring show is going roll over to next year so even with our smaller budget, we can have enough to bring a big artist to campus,” said Styblo.

Styblo is also confident that CAB will be able to avoid a repeat of the Tyler the Creator/Nick Jonas situation of last year. For those who don’t know, CAB sought to bring a hip-hop artist to campus last spring following the results of a student poll. Big Sean was the winning first choice but was out of the budget, so Tyler the Creator was selected in his place.

However, the office of student affairs cited “content issues” and CAB was advised to go no further in the pursuit of Tyler the Creator. Tyler the Creator has sparked controversy in the past because of some of his lyrics that have been deemed hateful and homophobic. Joseph Sanchez, the acting president of CAB in 2018, held the belief that students should be able to choose whatever artist they want to perform at their school and the decision should never have been overridden by administration.

Many students were left feeling disappointed with the decision. Not only was the students’ first choice artist denied but the foundation of trust and communication between students and the upper administration at WMU seemed tarnished. In the end, Nick Jonas was booked and the concert shifted from hip-hop to the student’s second choice of pop. Jonas was not on the original ballot.

Last year, Dr. Diane Anderson, Vice President of Student Affairs, had to apologize on behalf of the university for the “unnecessary angst” the issue resulted in. She followed the statement by vowing to do everything in her power to make sure it will never happen again.

When asked to comment, Anderson told the Herald that she is focused on moving forward and declined to comment any further on the topic.

Current CAB president Liz Styblo has experience planning unique student experiences including the Wild ‘N Out comedy event this past fall and numerous other events around campus this year. To make up for last year’s debacle, CAB is planning on booking a hip-hop artist in the fall and working more closely with administration beforehand.

 “We understand why lots of students were disappointed last year when they found out that a hip hop artist was not coming to campus... CAB is currently working with administration to bring a hip hop artist to campus for the Fall 2019 concert and we are improving our communication with the administration so we don’t have any disconnects like we did last year,” said Styblo.

“CAB is super excited about the Fall Concert and bringing a hip hop artist to WMU’s campus...we are happy to be bringing a hip hop artist to campus and can’t wait to see who the students want to perform,” said Styblo.

CAB is planning on releasing a student survey this week with a number of hip hop artists included on the ballot. The survey is now available here. The official performer announcement will be made at the start of next semester.

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