Student reactions mixed over major concert survey

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After the Major Events Committee announced Mac Miller as the major concert performer for next semester, some students began to question the clarity of the survey and selection processes for the artists.

The survey, which was released to the student body in November, asked students to list their top five preferences among 23 artists selected by the MEC.  Over half of the student body responded to the survey.

Co-Director of the Major Events Committee Natalie Curtis, ’12, said the committee evaluated the results in three different ways.  They looked at the greatest number of top preference votes, the greatest number of total votes, and used a weighted average system.

Curtis said the weighted average system was based on the preference votes.  A first preference vote received five points, a second preference vote received four points, and so on.

Although Jason Derulo received the greatest number of total votes, Mac Miller received the highest number of first preference votes and weighted average votes by far, said Curtis.

“Mac Miller sweeped the boards,” Curtis said.  “Having those 195 [first preference] votes times five definitely showed us that although he didn’t have the top total votes … it was clear to us that this is really what we needed to go with to best represent what the student body was wanting.”

After Mac Miller was chosen, the MEC sent a bid to Miller for the weekend of Feb. 17 and he was booked.  No requests were sent to any other artists, said Curtis.

Curtis said the committee originally received the names of over 60 artists who were available for the given dates, but that they narrowed it down to 23 to better consolidate student responses.

“If we would’ve spread [the survey] any farther with more and more artists, we probably would’ve had seven ties,” Curtis said. “It didn’t make sense, and so we went through the process of choosing ones we had heard of.”

Curtis said the MEC made a conscious decision not to conduct two separate rounds of voting.  If the selection pool were narrowed down to four or five contestants, some students may not have voted at all if they didn’t like any of the choices, she said.

“Even if we gave [the students] a [separate] survey with just five [artists] and had them pick their top preference, I feel like we would get the same results,” Curtis said.

The MEC did not include any details about the weighted point system on the survey, nor did they explain how the artist would be chosen.   Doug Nestor, ’14, said that he doesn’t believe the MEC made it clear enough on the survey how the votes would be used.

“I don’t think there was a misinformation, but a lack of information,” said Nestor.

He said for the next MEC survey, he would like to see the voting terms laid out more clearly.

“I’d like an abstract at the beginning of the survey saying how the votes are considered and how much weight they’re going to have,” he said.

Craig Hayes, ’14, said the voting procedure and the results of the survey should have been more easily accessible to the student body.

“If it was more transparent from the beginning, I think it would have been a better process,” Hayes said.

Curtis said the MEC will send out another survey for students to voice their feedback on the artist selection process.  In the meantime, the MEC will begin preparation for Miller’s arrival in February.

“When we found out that Mac Miller was the first choice among the student body, I would say maybe two to three of the students on that board were like ‘Ahh, I’m so excited!’” Curtis said. “The rest of us were like ‘I really don’t know who he is.’ But it just goes to show you that those people that are really gung-ho about something will vote, and the people that were really gung-ho about Mac Miller voted.”

Related: view a breakdown of the major concert vote here.

View a compilation of student reactions to the decision here.