Editorial Board

Two weeks ago, TU hosted Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and special guest Alice Cooper in Chapman Stadium during their pitstop on The World Tour. The five hour concert brought over 20,000 people to campus and concert-goers applauded TU for taking the unique opportunity to bring the rock legends to Tulsa.

This business venture was a massive success for TU. The university profited financially from the concert and it brought TU into the spotlight as a hub for art and entertainment once again. Online reception from concert attendees is overwhelmingly positive which is good business for the university. Bringing the rock bands to the Tulsa community was a smart decision that allows TU to break into the lucrative business of hosting live shows at a scale that TU hasn’t achieved before now. As a private university, TU must continuously find ways to raise funding for academic programs, facilities, etc. In truth, TU needed this win as the past few years have severely tested the university’s ability to survive with the threat of losing accreditation, the struggle through COVID-19 and the backlash of True Commitment. President Brad Carson is making decisions that are putting TU back on top.

However, students on campus had many concerns with the planning surrounding the concert. The event occurred on Wednesday Aug. 16, the day before first-year student move-in. TU required all students and employees to move their vehicles off campus by Wednesday at noon. This alone was problematic for students.

Students that moved in early as well as student staff needed to park their vehicles off campus. TU secured free offsite parking for students and employees in downtown Tulsa and offered shuttles between the parking location and campus from 7 a.m. to midnight on Wednesday, running every 15 minutes. TU required that all vehicles be removed from the offsite parking location by noon on Thursday, once again offering shuttles from 8 a.m. to noon.

Residential Assistants were contractually obligated to be on campus during that time on Thursday, meaning they would not be able to retrieve their vehicles during the specified time. After weeks of notifying superiors of the issue at hand, Resident Assistants secured permission to park in the university-owned lot behind Papa Johns at 11:54 a.m. Wednesday, located right off campus.

To notify students and employees of the parking situation, TU sent email announcements. The first off site parking location TU announced was Civic Center Parkade in an email sent at 4:50 p.m. Aug. 15, the day before the concert. This location was incorrect. In another email sent at 9:41 a.m. the day of the concert, TU announced a location update which sent students and employees to 205 W. Second St. instead. Although both parking sites are located in downtown Tulsa, the change caused confusion. Furthermore, TU first announced the concert date on Dec. 8, 2022, indicating that concert planning had been in the works for several months. Why was the first university-wide email containing a definitive off site parking location for students and employees sent only one day before the concert? TU should have secured off site parking and promptly notified students and employees long before the rock bands were scheduled to perform.

The concert itself caused inconveniences for students aside from the parking ordeal. Sororities conducting bid day on Wednesday were concerned about security for their members with the swath of concert attendees pouring in at the same time their event was scheduled, 5:30 p.m. Sororities requested that campus security provide extra security during their bid ceremony; however, campus security officers were unable to provide the requested support due to increased presence for the concert. Sororities made a last minute decision to start the event earlier than planned.

Students who desired to move in early on Wednesday had a difficult time as E. 8th St. was blocked off the entire day rendering two residential parking lots inaccessible. Additionally, TU offices closed at noon that day meaning students attempting to check in later in the day could not do so following the standard protocol.

The scheduling of the concert and move-in day caused additional stress at an already stressful time, when students and staff alike were preparing to receive hundreds of students in a single day. President Carson addressed student concerns about the concert on Aug. 17 at 8:01 a.m. in an email and on social media.

The Collegian finds that President Carson’s email was dismissive of students’ valid concerns and condescending to the student body. While Carson did acknowledge that the event inconvenienced students, he spent the majority of the email justifying why TU held the concert and proving that it was a good business maneuver. We agree with Carson in this respect. But we as students expect funds raised by TU to be applied to student services and programs that we really need and will benefit from. According to Carson, the funds raised by the concert are being applied to the expansion of our existing Chick-fil-A and the replacement of McFarlin Cafe with Starbucks. We do not consider these projects to be top priority in the list of student services that could have been and are currently being improved upon. The Collegian does not agree that “both projects will greatly improve student life,” considering many students have dietary restrictions that will prevent them from enjoying several of the offerings and many commuter students do not partake in the dining options offered at TU. The end of Carson’s email was essentially a slap in the face to the student body. We hope to see Carson express interest in rectifying student concerns with large-scale events in the future without callously dismissing them.

Post Author: tucollegian