Letter to the Editor: SEC shouldn’t take all the blame

I write in response to last week’s majority opinion editorial’s “Poor planning causes chaos.” The editorial’s argument is the Student Entertainment Council (SEC) incorrectly estimated the draw comedian Kevin Hart would have. This error contributed to an inadequate “handling” of the crowd and resulted in “a small ruckus.”

As I read the editorial, I was struck by the gauche behavior of the students and not the purported asininity of the SEC. The fact that Rider University students needed “handling” is worrisome. As someone who was there, I don’t know what I’d call the actions of the crowd. Stating that “a riot nearly started” seems hyperbolic, but labeling it a small ruckus trivializes a truly embarrassing moment.

While I agree the SEC could have planned and managed the event better (e.g. distributing tickets, maintaining a queue, picking a larger venue and dispensing personnel to bar certain entrances and exits), a lack of forethought on the SEC’s part did not cause students to become ill-behaved inside and outside the Yvonne Theater. The students brought that type of uncouth behavior with them.

Those students who could not get in to see Kevin Hart’s performance were forced “to find something else to do with their night.” This is unfortunate but cannot justify immaturity. Some students “waiting in line did not move” after being denied admittance, “hoping the decision would be reversed.” Some “began chanting insults,” “a large number enter[ed] through the upstairs theater door;” and “many people jumped the line, turning [it] into a thick crowd.” The shouting, shoving, crowding, line-cutting and general disrespect shown to rules, personnel and decorum displayed by Rider University students is astounding.

Shouldn’t the students of Rider University have the good sense to conduct themselves like adults? I guess not, because many threw what amounts to a temper tantrum. According to Rider University’s Statement of Community Values, our community commits itself to the “integrity of word and deed” as these form “the foundation of all relationships.” On Tuesday, March 30, I saw very little integrity of word and deed.

Perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but I don’t think so. Instead of downplaying the actions of students in comparison to the non-actions of the SEC, instead of looking for a scapegoat, I suggest the student body turn its eager critical eye inward.

– Spencer Hayes

Senior political science major

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