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EDITORIAL: SG should not reach into students’ pockets for concerts

Student Government (SG) has the ability to charge students again for on-campus concerts already paid for through the Activity and Service (A&S) fee included in tuition.

In a story published in The Oracle on Oct. 30, Senate President Pro Tempore Abdool Aziz said charging students twice for concerts is not the road SG wants to go down, but a recent survey posted on SG’s social media accounts  suggests senators may be considering charging up to $10 to host student concerts “at a better venue” or to get “higher-profile artists.”

Students should not be asked to pay twice for concerts and events that have long been seen as free, community-building events.
Students are already being forced to pay even more money in student fees beginning next academic year for things such as student-athlete scholarship differentials, a new gym for USF Health and state-mandated salary increases for university employees.

Elected student representatives, who should know first-hand the financial situation of most students, shouldn’t ask for students to reach even deeper into their pockets, especially when there is no real need for it.

According to SG’s 2014-2015 A&S Annual Budget Bill, SG already gives $412,000 to the Homecoming Steering Committee and has put over a million dollars into reserve accounts over the last two years. It is questionable why additional funding, especially just $5 or $10 from students who attend the concert, needs to come directly from students.

The idea that students need to pitch in money to afford “higher-profile artists” is also troubling for a number of reasons.

With big names such as Wiz Khalifa, Pitbull and Ludacris having been contracted by the university to perform free for students, it’s hard to imagine how many “higher-profile” artists there are to get.

All of the artists listed have something else in common: they are all performers from roughly the same genre.

For years, the After Party show, which is supposed to be the headline event for Homecoming week, has given students who don’t like rap or R&B music limited choices, if any. Similarly, Bullstock only consistently brings Panic! At The Disco and All American Rejects-esque alternative bands.

Before SG or the university ask students to foot the bill for an already A&S-funded concert, they should at least make sure they attempt to appeal to as many segments of the student population as possible.

With tuition and fees on the rise and students increasingly finding themselves buried neck deep in student loan debt, SG should look to other sources of funding in their roughly $14 million dollar budget to eke out an extra couple thousand dollars for the artists they want.

Students’ pockets, like the crevices of a living room couch, should be the last resort when looking for extra cash, not the first.