Is Wallypalooza Kosher or Cronyism?
Recently, there has been a lot of controversy and back and forth over Wallypalooza. Most of the complaints have dealt with the lineup, namely the infamous Asher Roth. However, there is another element that has people ticked off, and even asking for UPUA President Gavin Keirans’ resignation.
You see, Keirans is the roommate of the creator of Wallypalooza, the “elite Smeal College of Business” representative Mike Wallace. Wally…Wallace, you get it? Like the smoky back room days of yore, it has been alleged that Keirans gave Wallace an inappropriate amount of support to make his dream of “children singing and dancing in the green, rolling pastures of Pennsylvania State University” a reality.
The whistleblowers say that Keirans and Wallace pushed this music festival through the UPUA Assembly without the appropriate debate and public notice necessary. They are mad that public opinion wasn’t
solicited about the musical acts to perform, and that such an exorbitant amount of student money ($62,000) could be approved without widespread student support, or even awareness.
Honestly, to me, this isn’t a problem with Keirans and Wallace. While I understand the fishyness of the situation, pushing the proposal through the Assembly and lobbying UPAC for more money, all without care for expense, seems to be a little beyond Keirans’ ability. UPUA is not so powerful at this time that the president of said organization holds large amounts of sway over other student groups. Let me remind you of the low turnout in the recent UPUA election, turnout that was praised as “high”.
So, in my mind, the fault for the cost of this event and the poor lineup is not totally with Keirans or Wallace, but with students that were too apathetic to make it to a UPUA meeting to have a hand in the process. UPUA meetings are open to the public. They start at 8 PM, Wednesdays, in 302 HUB. You can go and have a voice in the student government!
Any fault that lies with Keirans and Wallace, with the exception of their suspicious cohabitation, is that they did not publicize Wallypalooza until to got funding. Thus, students did not know what was in the works until they could not do anything about it. This, I suppose, could be construed as a bit unusual. Perhaps, in the future, UPUA could post an agenda for each week’s meeting on its website so students will know if the issues that are being discussed are of interest to them.
Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”. In this case, I believe that to be the truth. If Wallypalooza had been publicized from the moment Wallace dreamed it up on his apparent acid trip of some kind, any opposition to musical acts or budgeting could have been dealt with before everything was finalized. Openness in government of all sizes should be the rule, not the exception. Perhaps UPUA meetings could be webcasted like the Elections Debates were?
The UPUA has a commitment to transparency, which in this instance I believe they failed.