This past October, ASCMC posted a statement on their website about the cancellation of White Party. In the past, White Party featured up and coming EDM or electronic dance music acts, with PeaceTreaty coming to campus last year and a prior year having Glitch Mob visit and perform at CMC. After current SAC Mark Blumenfeld officially announced to the ASCMC Executive Board that the Chainsmokers will be coming to CMC’s campus on April 5th for a concert, the cancellation of White Party seems a little less stark than it may have been made to seem.
One of the problems that I have with the cancellation of White Party is the form of its replacement. This new event on April 5th will likely take the same form as a White Party, featuring a prominent EDM artist, likely taking place in a tent and presumably involving attendees wearing some off-white color. I joke about the dress code, but when an event so clearly looks and feels to be like another, it’s hard not to call it an Off-White Party.
In its memo, ASCMC established that it was concerned with the growing culture of hard drug use at White Party. The statement alluded to the association between EDM and hard drug use, and that a culture of said drug use was not something they wanted to promote through continuing White Party. I find this entirely admirable, and it shows the board acting proactively to ensure the minimization of hard drug use, something I would agree is an unhealthy trend on campus.
Yet by replacing the event with one that has essentially the exact same features and differing in name only, ASCMC has made a poor decision concerning the safety of the students it represents. The cancellation was an attempt to reduce unhealthy behavior ‘normalized’ by an event. I cannot see how cancelling this event and then creating another nearly identical to it in its stead serve to help counteract any of this. In many ways, it serves to show that the failings of the student body in terms of being able to party and have fun responsibly can simply be hidden by a politicized reworking of a schedule, as opposed to creating real, institutional change to dissuade party goers from not using those kinds of drugs or simply being more accountable.
Part of the decision to cancel White Party also centered around a normalcy of unexpected costs incurred by ASCMC with past White Party events, and the expectation that the event would go over budget. This also seems frustrating, based on a wealth of past events and acts coming to campus to serve as case studies for planning other events. While I understand that the possibility of incurring otherwise unacceptable costs is unattractive to an organization such as ASCMC, the denial of being able to run it with proper regard to a budget seems like a poor case for their administrative and event-planning abilities.
All of this said, I continue to have great respect for the administration and its individual members. I do not want to distract from the valiant goals of Gavin, Maddie or any of the current social chairs. Furthermore, I can only offer praise to the level of dedication it takes to throw the fun and often-successful events that ASCMC puts on. The commitment of our leaders in this way is greatly underappreciated.
Nevertheless, making a decision to cancel the event the way they did disappointed me and showed a lack of foresight or vision. As an outsider, I personally would likely have cancelled White Party for all of the reasons mentioned above. Now, as a soon-to-be class president, I agree very much that White Party represents darker and less desirable elements of our campus culture. I differ from the previous administration, however, in not wanting to circumvent my own goals by simply replacing what I’m trying to get rid of with practically the same thing.