On the night of April 19, many Jewish students will be at home with their families to celebrate the first night of Passover, one of the most important nights of the Jewish year. During this night, Jews face certain restrictions.
They can’t use electronics. They can’t listen to music. And they certainly can’t attend rock concerts.
For this reason, a number of students have complained about the scheduling of the College Union Board’s (CUB) annual Spring concert featuring Third Eye Blind on April 19, the first night of the holiday.
Joel Blenner, sophomore accounting major and treasurer of Hillel/Jewish Student Union (JSU), said the Jewish population on campus is “a significant proportion of the student body to deny access to a concert of this magnitude.”
“This concert is something that the entire (College) community could share, but instead the timing alienates Jewish students,” he said.
CUB responded to student complaints through an e-mail statement.
The organization wrote that April 19 is the only date that matches both the availability of the band and the availability of the Student Recreation Center and apologized that some students will be unable to attend the concert.
“It is unfortunate that throughout the planning process, none of our members, or people involved in the process, recognized the conflict,” CUB said in its statement.
“We feel certain that had we recognized this conflict in due time, we would have worked with the band and the Rec Center staff to find an alternative date.”
The band, which is currently on tour, is scheduled to perform several times in April. According to the band’s Web site, it is traveling to Williams College in Massachusetts the night after performing in the Rec Center.
“We, just as everyone else, are paying tuition that is being used to subsidize Third Eye Blind, but will be unable to attend,” Blenner said, referring to the fact that the concert is being funded through the Student Activities Fund (SAF), which the Student Finance Board (SFB) is charged with allocating.
CUB offered the band $45,000 to play at the College.
Leo Acevedo, SFB executive director, defended CUB’s efforts.
“When it comes down to it, the students want and have come to expect a concert in the spring, and as time goes on, it becomes harder for CUB to request money for a concert because there is limited time for them to actually put the concert together,” he said.
“I have no doubt that if it (was) possible to have the concert on a different day, CUB would have done so,” he said.
Because the concert is SAF-funded, tickets will cost $15, about half of what Third Eye Blind normally charges for its concerts.
At its April 1 and 2 concerts at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, N.J., general admission costs $29.50.
Brian Gross, senior finance major and JSU member, said although Jewish students can see the band elsewhere, tickets are cheaper at the College.
“Tickets are much more expensive in the real world,” he said.
CUB pledged in the future “to be aware of any major conflicts, be they religious observance or other major campus-wide planned event.”
This is little consolation for Jewish students who had hoped to attend this year’s concert, however, since the date has already been set.
“It’s an unfortunate scheduling conflict that Jewish students will have to deal with,” Gross said. “Hopefully CUB has learned to look at important holidays in all religions.”