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Should We Fund 5C Parties?

March 5, 2010

The Forum
Should We Fund 5C Parties?

This past weekend many CMCers were stuck between a wedding and a hard place.The Wedding Party, ASCMC's "flagship" party of the year, was this past weekend in North Quad from 7:30 PM to 1 AM. It was our most expensive, most elaborate, and riskiest party of the year. ASCMC was trying something that had never before been attempted at CMC in our time here -- a formal dress code at a Saturday night party, professional catering, a wedding band, a balloon guy, and John Faranda all under the same tent roof.* We even had a couple mock weddings. (Meanwhile, the CMS Basketball team was busy shaming Pomona while winning the SCIAC Championship in Ducey Gym.) The same night, the Pitzer Student Senate was throwing their biggest party of the year up on their campus. They brought in a great mash-up group, Super Mash Bros, which cost them $5,000. There were some other expenses and the whole party was probably close to $10,000. I'm sure it was a lot of fun. I wish I could have been there.

A few weeks before the Pitzer party, ASCMC got an e-mail from one of the organizers of the party. In the e-mail, the girl, a Pitzer freshman, asked ASCMC to help fund the party. After a few more e-mails, the same girl came to request money from the ASCMC Senate. The ASCMC Senate wound up giving $200 to the party (the Senate budget is ~$10k for the whole year and receives a few similar requests a week). Andrew Cosentino added another $300 from his SAC fund, bringing the total contributed from ASCMC to Pitzer to $500.

To put this in perspective, $500 is a substantial amount for ASCMC to contribute to Pitzer for a party that relatively few CMCers would actually attend. Pitzer has given ASCMC less than $1,000 this year and we gave them $750-1,000 for Kohoutek alone.The Super Mash Bros contribution of $500 was given based on the premise that CMC students would not be charged or turned away from the event. We didn't anticipate many students going to the Pitzer party over the Wedding Party, but we wanted to make sure students had another option anyway.

The day of the party, some organizers of the party at Pitzer contacted ASCMC again. They wanted more money -- the party had gone over budget and they would be in debt by over $2,000. They asked for another $500 from multiple people within ASCMC.

When they unexpectedly called me, I was changing into my suit before hurrying back to help set up the Wedding Party an hour before the dinner started. I was rushed, stressed, and wearing 48 hours of Las Vegas (what a week). The conversation went something like this:

Pitzer Girl: Hey, this is *****, we need $500 more for the Pitzer party tonight.

Me (confused): Uh, who told you to call me?

Pitzer Girl:Andrew said he couldn't give any more money from his fund so we're calling you for $500 more.

Me: ...but we gave you $500 total. The party is tonight. It's not reasonable for us to make a split judgment for $500 more right now, I'm sorry.

Pitzer Girl: If we don't get $500 more from ASCMC, we won't let CMCers in. Or we'll charge them at the door. Pause.

Me: ...Oh?

Pitzer Girl: Yeah sorry, that's the way it is.

Me: Alright then.

Pitzer Girl: ?

Me: We don't negotiate with terrorists.

Epilogue: We took back the initial $500 commitment and married some people instead. Pitzer charged CMC students $5 each. Few CMCers showed up. Definitely not 100. They would have been better off with our $500 had they cooperated. (And I'm reminded of my Game Theory midterm...)

This account of the story is obviously supposed to make me and ASCMC sound cooler than we really are, but let's ignore that. The real point is, Pitzer really tried to extort ASCMC. Not cool, Pitzer. If we weren't like the America of the Claremont Colleges Consortium (or like Rome when Romans were super chill and running the world) and sly econ wizards (interesting fact: 11/18 of ASCMC's Board are econ majors), we might have just given into Pitzer's demands. But not on our wedding day. Not in America.

*Props to Andrew Cosentino '11 for coming up with the idea for the Wedding Party and executing it beautifully. Also credit to Ben Kraus '11 and the rest of ASCMC for help with planning and execution. I sincerely hope ASCMC's next Board of Directors makes even bigger moves.

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